How to respond to biased and offensive speech

Some useful information for students, and everyone, in the NYT here:

Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech

… A body of psychological research shows that even mild pushback against offensive remarks can have an instant effect — as difficult as that can be, especially with a boss, a friend or a celebrity.

It is research worth considering in a political season when ethnic, racist and sexual slurs, not to mention general insults, seem to have become part of everyday chatter. Polls show that people are increasingly unhappy with the tenor of the national debate but unsure what to do about the decline in civility.

Researchers have detailed the difficulty of confronting prejudice, but they have also found that even the politest of objections — or subtle corrections to loaded words — can almost instantly curb a speaker’s behavior. With a clearer understanding of the dynamics of such confrontation, psychologists say, people can develop tactics that can shut down the unsavory talk without ruining relationships, even when the offender has more status or power: a fraternity president, say, or a team captain or employer.

The alternative is passive complicity, psychologists say. “When we hear this egregious, uncomfortable talk and we don’t speak up, what’s actually happening is that the person speaking is getting a green light,” said Sharyn J. Potter, co-director of the Prevention Innovations Research Center, at the University of New Hampshire. “It encourages them.” …

And don’t forget that voting can also be an effective response for dealing with some particularly egregious perpetrators.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to respond to biased and offensive speech

  1. Anonymous says:

    “when ethnic, racist and sexual slurs, not to mention general insults, seem to have become part of everyday chatter.”

    Seem to have become? How about always were?

    Don’t forget folks, “biased” and “offensive” speech is free speech. You don’t have to agree with it, but don’t shut down someone down because you are offended by what they are saying.

    Case it point, I’m going to be very sad the day I see such blatant censorship from a fellow duck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFcn775CqAg

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  2. Marmot says:

    “Don’t forget folks, ‘biased’ and ‘offensive’ speech is free speech. You don’t have to agree with it, but don’t shut down someone down because you are offended by what they are saying.”

    You know what else is free speech? Confronting somebody who has said something offensive. Which is what the linked NYT article is about. Odd that you equate that with a violation of free speech.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.