Becoming an active bystander takes courage and is important if we are to make hate socially unacceptable. Although it may be difficult in social situations with friends, relatives and colleagues, action can often be taken in the moment, without confrontation.

There is widespread agreement that just standing by only fuels hate and creates an accepting environment for those who perpetrate hate. Doing and saying nothing has proven to make things worse over time, so we have provided a few helpful guidelines:

  • Respect all human beings. Seeing the target of racism as belonging to a different group that you are not responsible for deepens the divide between people.
  • Do not put yourself in harms way. Fear of violence or vilification, being targeted by perpetrator is often real. Sometimes it may be best to allow some time and space before responding if you sense a threat.
  • Action or a simple NAH. Explaining that you Never Accept shows that hate is unacceptable to you and adds to the overall social unacceptability of hateful speech or actions.
  • Do not respond with anger. Be direct. You are trying to reset the conversation not attack the speaker. Lowering the hate volume raises the level of a safer environment for everyone.
  • Be firm in your values and value them beyond the superficiality of “not rocking the boat”. It’s natural to want a positive feeling in all conversations but speaking up and saying you Never Accept Hate says positive things about you.
  • What if someone plays the free speech card? Free speech does not condone hate.

DON’T do nothing. Silence is dangerous—it communicates approval and leaves the victim high and dry. If you find yourself too nervous or afraid to speak out, move closer to the person being harassed to communicate your support with your body.

Be part of the NAH Community Initiative and make hate unacceptable.

It’s time to raise the bar on our social norms and make this a better and safer place for all.