How to stop a hate crime before it starts
Hey, Jordan, once again, I have a podcast for you. Moms in the middle is back for season two just in time for mother's day this season. Melanie, Ivanka talked to experts and authors and athletes and influencers about parenting kids of all ages from babies to teens they cover everything from monitoring your children online, which is terrifying to struggling with infertility, which is tough to over scheduling your kids, which is something every parent. Does you can listen to season two of moms in the middle on apple Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcast or find it at frequency podcast network dot com. There is some troubling news about hate crime in Canada. They are on the rise. The biggest Canada says this all adds up to a five percent increase in hate crimes across Canada up. Nearly forty percent. Look, there's no doubt anymore that open. Displays of racist, sexist or homophobic, hatred are on the rise. We have those numbers, and well, that's one of the ways we measure it. There are other incidents every day that might not be recorded as hate crimes, but represent the same thing. You know, those you can find them in your social media feeds, and you're not gonna have to look very hard. We follow us worry now. Yeah. Blong how we we're from here. But you understand I know who might be right shit blocking five building. Get on my way. Okay. Do you? Do you live here? Why do we feel that we need to be here? Like hanging out. Let's call nine one one to make sure then there's going on here. So sooner or later, something like this is going to happen either to you or in front of you. And if it happens in front of you, what are you going to do? This is a question that we started asking around our offices after a couple of public displays in the neighborhood where we work. We wanted to say that if it was us we'd step in with stop it. We'd help the victims and confront the offender, but how by doing what how do you assess the situation and then act what actually works. We quickly realized that we didn't have those answers. And so because it's what we do on this podcast. We asked someone who does. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Shaquille children is the author of deep. Diversity, overcoming us? Versus them is a co founder of animal leadership, which offers consulting and training around diversity equity and inclusion Matt includes five Stander intervention Shaquille. As someone who does this work. What is the climate out there right now will if you like we're in a highly polarized time period, this has been super exacerbated since Obama's election, and then just went through the roof during the Trump years, and this is all in the context of really escalating anxiety since since the nine eleven attacks. We've been living in this for a couple of decades. But we are definitely at an arc. I would hope is a climax. But I'm not sure whether that's actually the case, it's interesting that you mentioned that you saw this kind of heating up with the election of Barack Obama unpack that a little bit for me. And tell me what you saw starting in two thousand eight. What we saw the rise of the tea party. Right. We saw the rise of people becoming so infuriated that and these were predominantly Republicans or very far right folks that basically were so infuriated with the fact that Obama got elected that quote, unquote, they were gonna take their country back. I mean, the under tones were so racist in this process. And then it just went on from there where there were protests and rallies were all these people predominantly white multiplicity white would show up armed to the gills. Yeah. To a protest folks of color can't do that. You can't show up at a protest armed folks of color are getting shot simply for showing up to a protest and getting arrested for showing up to a protest. Right. So we already started seeing that. And then we started things like the birth certificate. The birther lie that got continued in perpetrated like so we saw this escalation happening, and and then we saw the tea party. He really take over the Republican party. Right. And so it started back then and we were seeing it, and it was heating up and things were happening where we immune for for a while and Canada, and it's here now or has this always been here two. Oh, it's always been here. I just think that it's much more visible. Now, there's much more permission now for to happen. I mean, especially since Trump it is just become full-fledged. This is completely. Okay. Why did they feel so emboldened? Well, here's the thing is that who's in charge who is the leader leaders and with positional power basically act as emotional guides for the group. Okay, is what all the research says if the leader stays calm during crisis. It settles the group if a leader show, some mild, anxiety, it signals the group something still still wrong. We're still got some work to do. Right. If a leader is a totally stressed out constantly or an conscious state of like anger that can damage relationships with. Group members in between group members. So researchers believe that research that leaders aren't are the emotional guide for a group. Well, that's absolutely true. When you hold the highest position a power in the land. And so for example, to contrast to Republican presidents, George W Bush who has no big fan of right that when nine eleven attacks happened, right? There was a spike in hate crimes against Muslims and Arab people. Anyone who looked like them? Right. The following week. George W Bush went into a mosque and said, this Lom is the religion of peace and the hate crime rate went rate back down, right? As opposed to Trump who has only escalated and repeatedly attacked almost every minority group that we could think of and so there is absolutely clear and compelling evidence that links what this particular leader is doing with what is happening. Across the board. And in fact, research and conversations with white nationalist, for example, in Charlotte, and in Charlottesville when that whole thing went sideways, and and especially when the protester was run over in the car. Yeah. By by the white, nationalist, and all that kind of stuff that that happened there. They thought they had lost their thought. Oh, man. We gotta go back into the shadows. Until Trump basically saved it for them. This is from the words of white nationals, former white nationalist themselves. They said he saved it for us. He said, they're good people on both sides, and all of a sudden our stuff became a legitimate super legitimate. So absolutely. This is something that is happening and has happened because we are at a time of dictators. We are time of authoritarians. It's very unfortunate. And it sounds like this is very political because I'm talking about the Republican party. But unless political parties. Actually, look after themselves, and especially those are on the conservative end. If you don't look after yourselves, the far right knows that you are the inroad, you are the way to legitimize far-right beliefs extreme-right beliefs, and we're seeing that and so it's super important that all political parties look out and say, wait a minute. Are we getting extremists not just in beliefs? But in actions that are showing up you're not like we disagree politically here and there, but people who are who are really pushing for that taking it to the street who are taken into the street, and who are encouraging it on the street, and are are super close to what's happening, and they're just wearing a bit of a foil, so conservative parties have to be very much on the lookout for that. Because once that happens as it is happening across the western world. Then we're in a position where democracy itself is under threat. And that is currently this the context that we are in democracy is definitely under threat because things are. Opening that just weren't. Okay. Two decades ago. Right. And they're okay now, how can people like myself or other people who'd like to think that they would intervene when they see something like this happening prepare themselves to actually do it and get over that hump. It's a great question and fundamentally what happens most for people, and what's happened for me as well in my past and still occasionally happens is that people get frozen we're caught off guard. And that fundamentally is is the key thing we got to get over is we just moved into into freeze mode and most people freeze up. Don't know what to say. And then the situation has sort of pass them by this happened to me like on a subway member number of years ago, where someone made some kind of homophobic, comment there's in conversation with each other. And all of a sudden got triggered. And I was like what should I should? I how do I. I was in this kind of state, and then my stop appeared. Right. And I'm like now have to get off. And then I walked home with all this guilt about not knowing how to intervene and not not intervening. And so there's two things that I would start with first of all you've got to pre load the decision in your head. Right. You've just gotta pre load that you're going to do something. And the simplest thing that you you you can do once you preloaded, it is preloaded that you're gonna notice it in some small way. And that simply for me. I'm just like make us sound. Oh, wow. Oh, no way anything like that will bring attention to get your body ready to do something. So so the first thing is just simply make a sound as soon as you make the I sound your body will actually find its way, you will find the words, you will improvise your way. But usually it's the frozen this that that were locked in. So as soon as you make a sound someone else. Will react. The second thing is question. Which is someone says something, and it's it sounds like it could be racist. It sounds like it's stereotyping. It sounds like it could be biased in some way, shape or form. You don't have to fill the space. You can just ask a question. What did you mean by that? Right. Like, that's an intervention. What did you mean by that get them to explain usually people are making some kind of generalization about a group? They're making generalization about a person, and they're linking it to a cultural group or a religion or identity. So it's just like what did you mean by that? And then let silence do the heavy work. Let them explain. Right. And usually that in itself catches people because they have to now start doing something. Right. And the third step of that is often sometimes people will follow up with some kind of incredibly large generalization about a group of people. Yeah. And so so then the next up of that is reflected back to them, which is. So are you suggesting that all Muslims are that all gay people? Are that all Jewish people are so those are the those it'd be like three simple steps, right? Is simply notice it make a sound to question it, and then three uncovered a little bit reflect the generalization back to them. I feel like some of us at least might be able to find the courage to challenge that in an open conversation with coworkers or just, you know, acquaintances or whatever at a party, there's another type of incident that I want to talk about because it's something that that. I think a lot of us have seen is when you're removed from it almost like the situation you described on the subway, but you see somebody not violent but verbally abusive to someone based on the color of their skin or or their orientation or how they're presenting. And that's where I really struggle because I walked through downtown Toronto all the time. And and I I see situations like that sometimes, you know, they might be half a block away. Don't go over there. And find out what's going on. What am I going to do if I get there this person could turn violent, you know, we've all read stories about about how these things escalate, and I think? That's something that can freeze a lot of people. Sure. So again preloaded the decision, right? And you'll also do an assessment while you're there. Right. So for example, again because I also ride public transit. I was in a subway car was you know, in the evening. There was a young mixed race couple white woman, a young man of color, and they've just kind of sitting there doing their own thing. And this guy another man of college kind of came and started harassing them. But being super aggressive to the young black male. And I was just in the subway, and it was the streetcar. And so that my first step was I just moved closer. I just moved closer to the situation and made eye contact. No, this this guy's made our contact with who made eye contact with whoever could I could make contact with letting them know that I was there right in the space, and then just kind of like noticed it because they couldn't hear what was initially saying. But I felt something was off. And then I heard sort of aggressive. Not just impolite. But like racist language are gonna come out. And I just made it sound like, no, no. And so just letting them know that I was in. I was in a picture of this. I'm I'm here. Right. And so, you know, I'm now closer, and then at a certain point the guy started just kind of getting really aggressive, and I and I stepped just in the middle of it. And I was just like dude, you can't do this. Right. It was just simply like you can't do this. Right. And once the guy kind of realized that I was I was there because he hadn't he wasn't paying attention to me at first he then moved off got off at the next next subway, and it just turned to the I'm so sorry, you guys. Okay. I can't tell you that you should always step in. But you can stand you can make yourself visible. Your visibility makes a difference even standing by or near the person that you feel like is getting the aggression. Right. That's that's something. You can do you can just be there. And all of a sudden now it's like it's not one on one or two on one. It's like, you know, you're there with them. They're not alone. Oh, now, if you're like, sometimes you feel yourself that you have to get in there and play the hero as opposed to just saying something and being there. You don't have to play the hero. I think that's that's the freeze up mode that somehow there's a right way of doing it. We have no idea what the right way is sometimes just walking into this into the screen itself into the into the visual will be enough to disrupt it, sometimes it's actually having to say something. And sometimes like I did in that moment. I actually had to step in between and that was enough to dissipate it, right? And I didn't know what I was going to do the guy could've taken swing. He didn't right now. That's the other part. I wanna put to is that everyone has a different risk tolerance some people. Like, there's no chance I can get hit that's going to like trigger me and traumatize me and other people like I can take a hit. And I'm like, I'm not that person. But everyone has a different risk tolerance. As to what they're going to step into what they're going to step, and what their style is. And so a lot of this has also self-awareness work, which is like, what's your style? Some people can just be really good at being in your in somebody's face. Really standing like my partner on a he'd who. Also does work. She's really good at just like stepping into someone's face. I'm like, I can't really do that. And I can't really get aggressive with people. That's not my style is not my temperament, but she can she can get really assertive and it can work for her. And so part of his also a little bit knowing your style. Now, the other part is this is practice. It's all something we've been taught and like anything the first few times we're doing whether we're learning to throw a baseball. Whether we're learning to you know, shoot a basket, whether we're learning to read or write everything is awkward and overwhelming. So one of the things I suggest to people is like just commit through the awkward stage meeting that it's gonna feel uncomfortable. You're going to say the wrong thing sometimes it might not work. But the more you do it and the more you do it in in any in small contexts take those baby steps, which is like say it in the context of your friends Satan in the context of of your workplace, then in a public context, which is a little higher stakes is more uncertain. Certainty. You may be more able to do that. So I just want to say that there's a big difference between what's happening our personal lives. What's happening our professional lives, and what's happening in our public community lies where there are no relationships that are certain and each of those requires a different a different kind of intervention. Have you seen the approach, and I mentioned it because I've seen it on the internet several times the recommends that you completely ignore the aggressor, and you go and just talk to the person who's being targeted and pretend that person's not screaming abuse at them or anything and just say, you know, hey, how are you? Have you seen the new avengers movie and talk to them like you're an old friend and try to defuse it that way? Sure, you could that's a great strategy any intervention work. And I love that. I'm going to add that to my list, which is just simply go talk to the person. Go pull them out of the situation. Right. Whether you know them or not and just like walk them out. You can do that. Right. That that's that's an intervention to great intervention. And then sometimes you can also the situation. Happened. It's happened quickly. And maybe it was too quick for you to be able to intervene, but go in and check in on them. That's that's support him. So sorry, if you need me to do anything. I can I saw it. You know, I have a description or whatever it is. If you feel like you need that. I'm totally here for you. Here's my information or whatever like there's ways that you can support. And sometimes it's not even have to give them all the details. I'm just going to giving space for someone to breathe news often enough, right? And going are you'll right like that can help what kinds of stuff doesn't work matching aggression with aggression, sometimes doesn't work. So you showed me the the video beforehand of the street preacher on in the middle of the gay village. In in the street. Preacher was like basically telling people identify as LGBTQ to us that you know, they're doing it wrong. You know, it's an abomination all this kind of stuff. And then it got really aggressive members of the community got there, and it just it kind of spilled out. They were defending their turf weren't they holy defending their their turf. And rightfully so. Yeah, let's just be really clear in that kind of situation. It's also an assessment like what's actually happening. Like, we have to realize that that's not an incidental, homophobic comment. That's not just some random consciously, run constantly, homophobic person. This is actually a very different kind of person. This is somebody who has a belief and they're there to proselytize. They're they're on a missionary purpose. So in that kind of context the intervention of meeting fire with fire. It didn't work in that context and often doesn't so to me. I don't know exactly how to work with that. But I've seen a couple of things that that are really powerful one. Is that requires a team approach, really one person can't intervene? They're one person to go and support someone who's feeling hurt by it potentially. As that's if you're in the situation, that's something you could do go and support. The other thing is that have was. It was a beautiful intervention that I saw where I think there was a a group of people that just started singing around the person who was like doing that kind of really gross, homophobic, kind of thing that the that kind of protests. There's just really like they're on a mission. Right. And they started singing a song from rent, right? And and it was beautiful. And and so in essence, why that kind of thing is helpful to is song and music and that kind of collective interventions. Also another way for the community that might be hurt and their allies also have a vent for their emotions. Right because this is just an emotionally heated situation. So when you go fire fire in that kind of situation, you're kind of playing into the zealots agenda so on some level. The best thing would be take nor them, but it's hard when someone is parked in the middle of your community and spewing hateful stuff, and so on some level that almost needs a community intervention. I mean, I also want to be really clear, I'm not advocate. Getting that everyone from marginalized community context has to now also do all this additional work. I'm just saying that don't hug your hater. Yeah. Unless you can. Yeah. Unless you have the capacity to and that's not an intervention in the moment, that's a relational thing. And some people have that capacity. And I'm like thank God, you're out there. It's not me. But thank you for doing. Because that's also part of the work. Some people are helping shift the most entrenched and most wounded people, I'm like, thank you for doing that. That's an intervention. I can't do it. So my thing is always find your rule find what you can do. Now, the other part about it is that we will still end up letting it go sometimes we're too slow. Sometimes we'll still frees up the other part about this is you gotta show with compassion for yourself. And I mean that because this is a long term game. If we want to develop these habits, we're going to be imperfect. We're gonna make mistakes, and if we don't show it with self compassion like. Blewett bat parts. Okay. I blew it is a good thing. But if we just beat ourselves up like, oh, I should have. That's not going to help us next time as like, oh, I should have do that once in like what could I do differently next time make a plan preloaded? But if you just kinda sit there, wallowing in your mistake, you are less likely to do it. Next time. I want to say the self compassionate part of this work because otherwise you're going to do it once or twice on stop. Because it's going to be too scary. As opposed to what did I learn what to learn about mean that situation. What do I learn about people in that situation? How many navigate differently because there's no right answer. There are many answers. So the so the thing is show with ones that you might be able to deliver. Thanks for the Shaquille. You're welcome. Shaquille children, author of deep diversity and co-founder of animal leadership. If you want to know more, you can find them at animal leadership dot com. That's a n I m a leadership. And that was the big story you want more from us at over to the big story, podcast dot CA. That's T H E B. I'm just kidding. You can also find us on Twitter at the big story F PIN and at frequency pods on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram if you like the show we want to hear a different kind of show. We've us a rating leave us a review on apple Google, Stitcher. Spotify your favorite podcast platform. We are there. I'm jordan. He throwing thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.