Unfortunately having an encounter with discrimination is a part of our culture. Most are making great strides to eradicating the intolerance toward our differences, but in the meantime it is important to develop skills in dealing with an occurrence. Reading through an earlier editorial from a psychology magazine, I found professionals often come across discrimination while trying to help others. I was taken back by this fact, as I could not believe people seeking aid would have it in them to criticize others. Maintaining a professional demeanor while holding back hostility takes strength and skills. Here are some tips on how to keep your cool while still dealing with the issue:
** Take a moment to analyze your personal views. Recognizing what is happening in your environment can help prepare you for the behavior of others. Current events can fuel the outlook and action taken during an interaction. Another person’s bad day does not have to become yours, but understanding that it is their bad day will help you respond more effectively.
**Alter the conversation to highlight the issue being created. Many times people behave without thought. Bringing the infraction to the person’s attention can be all it takes to make them more aware and to get an apology.
**Be curt without being defensive. Do not worry about defending your differences, instead make sure your feelings are heard loud and clear. The person on the receiving end is less likely to hear you between loud, anger, or accusatory words.
**Do not engage. In some situations, for your safety and that of others, it may be best not to say or do anything at all. Some goals of a malicious act is to evoke a response. Imagine how upset a person would be if you do not show your anger.
**Educate others. Ignorance is taught and nurtured by a lack of information. Share a fact or story that demolishes the stereotype being presented. React in a way that contradicts the incorrect assumption.
Every situation is different, and may require one or more of these approaches, but the important thing is to act in a way that will benefit you, and teach others. A new mindset is hard to change, but it is possible to achieve.
Resolifers, how do you cope with discrimination in the moment?
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