Stop Bigotry is an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the impact of everyday bigotry, particularly bias and discrimination against people of color. This campaign seeks to address bias and discrimination through education, advocacy and organizing. It calls on all Americans to join together in a common commitment to fight prejudice and bigotry in our daily lives, our communities and our country.
Bias and bigotry are part of life, but too often they go unchallenged. They are not just insidious, they can be destructive to one’s physical health and mental well-being. People on the receiving end of day-to-day discrimination report feeling a constant sense of hypervigilance that can lead to chronic stress. Many also feel that their own values, beliefs and perceived strengths are under attack.
Often, bias is most blatant in groups like churches, schools, neighborhoods, work and sports teams. In those settings, people may be less likely to challenge one another’s assumptions because of feelings of familiarity or fear of losing respect for friends and colleagues. This can result in a vicious circle where people keep quiet about hurtful remarks and behavior.
Other times, bigotry is more subtle. For example, a female manager is frequently referred to as the “office mom,” while male managers are not. This form of sexism reinforces stereotypes about women as homemakers and caretakers. Native Americans report being accused of being too “ethnic,” and gay students have reported being called “too feminine” or “too gay.”
Rather than ignore these microaggressions, individuals should take action to prevent them from happening in the first place. People can educate themselves about how to respond to bigotry, and they should encourage their friends to do the same. They can make it clear that their workplaces, clubs, sports leagues and other groups will not tolerate bigotry. They can also encourage the use of alternate humor, and they can provide examples of the negative impacts of bias on a person’s self-esteem and self-worth.
If they encounter an incident of bigotry, people should consider two things: who has power over the offender and what policies might support a complaint. If a person has leverage, they should speak up, starting with the offender and moving up the chain of command.
People should not be afraid to hold politicians, corporations and hate groups accountable for fanning flames of bias and bigotry. They should demand that their elected representatives take a stand against racist and anti-Muslim comments. They should lobby to ensure that government agencies have enough resources and training to combat bigotry, and they should call on their local community leaders to do the same. They should also speak out against the growing number of bigoted attacks against immigrants and refugees. They should insist that their families, neighbors and co-workers become involved in educating their communities about the negative effects of bigotry and racism. They should help to organize events where people can discuss their experiences and come together as a community to fight prejudice and bigotry.