Responses Allies Can Use to Interrupt Oppressive/Inappropriate Remarks

The holidays provide us the opportunity to spend time with many different people, including some that we have known for a long time.  Sometimes things are said during these interactions that may make us feel uncomfortable at best or, at worst, be hurtful or harmful to ourselves or others. Knowing how to respond to these difficult interactions can help to open a dialogue or diminish some of the negative impact.
The following is a list of short phrases which you can use (whether you call yourself an ally, or not )  to respond to such remarks.
I’m just curious. What makes you say that?

I was so upset by that remark that I shut down and couldn’t hear anything else.

I didn’t think that was funny.  I would like you to stop.

So you don’t see color. Tell me more about your perspective.   Can you elaborate your point ?

From a white woman to someone who is person of color “As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.  Response – So it sounds like you’re equating gender and racial oppression. I wonder what other people think about that.

I’m going to interject here.

Tell me more about that.

So, it sounds like you’re saying. . .

Help me understand what you meant by that.

I was socialized to believe. . .

I overheard your conversation and thought I heard you say. . .

How have you come to think that?

I know you didn’t realize this but when you ________(comment/behavior), it was hurtful/offensive because________

I think that’s a stereotype. I’ve learned that __________

I’m tired of hearing your _________ jokes.

Actually in my experience________

I noticed that you ________  comment/behavior.  I used to do/say that too, but then I learned_________.

Peace, Bill Dusett on behalf of FUUSN’s Racial Justice Ministry