Bystander Intervention is one of the most popular skillsets taught by violence prevention educators, especially on campuses. The appeals are multiple: it’s non-threatening, it engages the audience as potential allies rather than perpetrators or victims, and it relies on the idea that violence is happening out in public and that the solutions can be immediate and within the scope of one individual’s actions. However, along with the great news that many students are taking bystander intervention sessions, we must acknowledge the reality that when it is not taught carefully, bystander intervention tactics can ignore or even further entrench harmful and racist norms.
When we ask people to “do something” if they “see something”, we must unpack who and what looks dangerous, and to whom. We also must consider how the race and other attributes of the offender, victim, and bystander might influence not only whether to intervene, but what the safest and most realistic forms of intervention might be. Too often the lesson of “help someone who is in trouble” fails to acknowledge the reality that many white people cannot or do not accurately assess the needs of people of color who are being targeted with violence. This session is for anyone who is teaching – or has taken – any form of bystander intervention education, to help you make the material more anti-racist and inclusive.
As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:
- Recognize bias in bystander intervention instruction/curricula.
- Evaluate strategies to modify existing approaches to make them more inclusive.
- Recognize personal bias when teaching about or making real life decisions to intervene (or not).
- Identify the harm of one-size-fits all or “colorblind” approaches to bystander intervention.
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