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This is one of a series
of brief articles on how to respond effectively
to annoying social behaviors. An effective
occurs when you get your
well enough, and both people feel
This article offers useful responses to
someone you experience as significantly bigoted
It assumes you're familiar with...
How would you define "a bigot" to an average
teen? Here, it means someone who rigidly
declares that some person or group is inferior,
superior, and/or dangerous to other "normal"
people or groups - for example, men are "better"
than women (or vice versa), white people are
better than colored, one nationality or religion is superior to another,
unbelievers are inferior to believers, and
"traditional" biofamilies are superior to divorcing
families and stepfamilies. Do you know anyone like
People who disagree with prejudicial attitudes and
statements can feel uncomfortable, scornful, hurt,
angry, pity, "outrage," "righteous," critical, and
perhaps prejudicial ("All bigots are egotistical
morons.") Can you recall what you felt the
last time you encountered a bigot? How did you respond?
tune out /
walk away /
Responses like these are lose-lose. They risk (a)
(b) implying disrespect
and disapproval, (c) inviting a dispute, and (d)
damaging your relationship. Do you agree?
This brief YouTube clip provides perspective on
Remind yourself of
these general guidelines
until they become a habit.
any responses like those above.
Assess your attitude
about your (bigoted) partner.
If you don't feel genuine
and compassion, suspect that a
controls you. Make
your true Self a high priority
If it's not two-person, suspect a false-self
Check your partner's
If it's "above the ears," use respectful
(do a "hearing check") to see
if it will come down so s/he can hear you.
you want to respond - do you need to vent, to
inform, or to cause action?
If you can,
whether the person is controlled by a false self
now. If so, decide whether to delay responding
until their true Self guides them.
If appropriate, ask
if the person is open to some constructive
feedback. If "yes," go ahead. If s/he says "no,"
or "why," suspect a protective false self.
If you need to vent
or give feedback, compose and calmly deliver a
respectful ''I''-message (assertion) with
steady eye contact. That might sound like this:
when you say or imply that
____________ is/are inferior, I feel
You can stop there,
or add a request or demand:
need you to (take some specific action)."
If you have said
this before and s/he ignored your request, then
calmly add an enforceable consequence:
choose not to respect my need, I'm going to
(take a specific action)."
If appropriate, ask
the person to summarize what s/he just heard (do
a "hearing check"). /
to your assertion - i.e. denial, arguing, explaining,
blaming, whining, etc., and reply calmly with
emp0athic listening and good eye contact. e.g. -
feel I'm being harsh, judgmental, and
When s/he's done
"resisting" and affirms your hearing check,
repeat your assertion calmly, with steady eye
Repeat these steps until you feel a resolution.
thank the other person for her/his attention and
consideration, and/or discuss other issues that
may come from your exchange
Notice how you feel,
and whether you got your need/s met well enough.
If so, affirm yourself for responding
effectively! If not, review and learn from the
you feel about these response options. Do
they seem practical and do-able? Can you describe
how they differ from your normal responses to a
prejudiced person? Are you willing to experiment
with these communication options?
This is one of a series of brief articles
suggesting effective ways to respond to common
irritating social behaviors.
article offers ways to respond effectively to a
bigoted (prejudiced) person. The ways are
your true Self
clarity on your
as a worthy person,
clarity on what you
feel and need, and...
fluency in the
relationship skills of awareness, assertion,
and empathic listening.
more perspective, read these response-options to
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this
article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your
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