Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Support the Work of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Support the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that is tracking right-wing and white supremacist hate groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood, and other worthy causes received a lot of attention in the months following Trump’s election. While the SPLC hasn’t exactly been neglected, it should receive more attention.

The SPLC, headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, has been fighting hate and bigotry since 1971. Its most famous successes might be a series of lawsuits that effectively bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan. It tracks hate groups of all sorts, and its Hatewatch pays particular attention to far-right groups and white supremacists.

Its #ReportHate website function lets you tell them about hateful incidents you have witnessed. Its HateMap lets you see where hateful groups might be operating near you. It creates documentaries, lesson plans, and related materials that teach how to fight bigotry. It runs the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery.


Visit the SPLC website:


Read its excellent guide, Responding to Everyday Bigotry:


See its Hatewatch page:


Like it on Facebook:


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Donate to the SPLC:



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Learn from How Italians Ultimately Defeated Silvio Berlusconi

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2017.


Trump has been likened to Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th-century autocrats, but his closest analog is Silvio Berlusconi, the blustering, womanizing media mogul who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2001.


In this November 2016 New York Times op-ed, Luigi Zingales shows us how to avoid the mistakes of Berlusconi opponents, which had the effect of prolonging his grip on power.

The key point to remember:


Attack what Trump does, not who he is. Yes, he’s morally bankrupt. Yes, he’s an awful human being. Yes, he’s unbelievably ignorant. Yes, his view of women is horrific. Yes, his twitter-squawkings are insane. Yes, he looks goddamn ridiculous.


If you need to complain about things like that, vent in a private Facebook group, or some other protected space. Empty it from your mind, then go out and shine a light on what he is doing, and explain why what he’s doing is bad.


You need to do it in a way that spotlights the consequences of his actions as president, and not on why Trump, the man, is repugnant. The instant you start attacking his character, you make him sympathetic. It’s not fair, but it’s what it is. The anti-Berlusconi crowd made that mistake and got seven years of his rule. Do you want eight years of Trump? Then lay off.


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Learn How to Intervene as a Bystander to Hateful Speech and Acts

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

Learn or refresh yourself on strategies for how to diffuse hateful situations as a bystander.


The racist terrorist attack on public transit in Portland, Oregon in May that left two men dead and a third wounded raised awareness about bystander training. The passengers who became victims confronted the ranting man directly when he accosted two young women who appeared to be Muslim, and continued to do so after he made death threats against those who tried to de-escalate the situation.


Those who offer bystander training have said that the Portland men didn’t do anything wrong. It would be a shame if the incident scared people off from confronting people who spew hate in public spaces.


Here are a bundle of resources that will help you learn how to intervene when you witness hateful situations.



Start with Maeril’s now-classic cartoon on what to do if you witness Islamophobic harassment.



Hollaback, a movement devoted to stopping street harassment, offers digital bystander intervention training for a modest fee:



Read the text of a speech on Bystander Intervention Training given by folks at the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition of Maryland:



Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!



See if Collective Action for Safe Spaces is doing a bystander intervention workshop near you, or request one:



For background, read a local news account of the Portland attack:



And read a Slate article about bystander training in the wake of the attack:


First Amendment, Defending a Free Press · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read George Lakoff’s “A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth” and Act On It

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2018.

Read George Lakoff’s piece, A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth, and act on it on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, and any other time Trump attacks good journalism.

Lakoff is Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society at UC Berkeley and is the author of Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, which you should read if you haven’t already.

He is convinced that Trump will attack the free press again on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. He doesn’t say why he believes Trump will lash out on that specific date, but the prediction seems to be a safe bet given how often Trump has attacked the free press to date.

Lakoff’s January 13, 2018 Medium piece equips you with tools to fight Trump and defend good journalism–the bedrock of a healthy democracy.

The link to Lakoff’s piece is below, but here are the key passages:

“Yet there’s a way to beat the troll strategy: ‘the key is to direct a ‘stream’ of pro-active, accurate messaging at the targeted audience.’

In other words, reframe to undermine the opposition’s frame, and repeat. #ProtectTheTruth

So when the president attacks the press on Wednesday, don’t take the bait. Instead, focus on truth and its moral context. Truth is under attack. Let’s protect it, and express our appreciation for those brave journalists whose job is to spotlight it.

Some ground rules:

  • Don’t use any of his terms, images, or hashtags.
  • Ignore his antics — if you retweet it you can’t defeat it, and when you embed it you spread it. Deny him the virality he craves. Ignore his antics.
  • Shift the frame to focus on powerful, truthful reporting.”


Read A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth.


See George Lakoff’s website:


Purchase Lakoff’s books:



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Listen to Stay Tuned With Preet Bharara

This OTYCD entry originally posted in October 2017.

Download and listen to Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara, a podcast by the former New York federal prosecutor. 

When he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bharara got a reputation as a crusader. He pursued corruption cases against Democrats and Republicans. He also brought more than 100 Wall Streeters to court over assorted financial shenanigans. He sued banks and Russian money launderers. He went after several people involved in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

In March 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Bharara and the 45 other U.S. Attorneys appointed under President Obama to resign–this despite the fact that he had met Donald Trump in New York in November 2016, and he assured him he could stay on. Bharara refused to resign, so he was fired.

As of September 2017, Bharara is dishing about fairness and justice through his podcast, Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara. The debut episode is devoted to his firing.

It should be worth a listen. Check it out.


Download Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara from iTunes:


Read more about Bharara and the launch of the podcast, plus some stories that mention that CNN has hired him:


Here also is a May 2016 profile of Bharara from the New Yorker:


Also, follow him on Twitter:


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Read How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Read this January 2017 Scientific American column by Michael Shermer on how to convince someone when facts fail.

Once upon a time, everyone agreed that you can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts. Sadly, companies such as Fox News learned to make mad profits off of selling people a set of facts that just plain feels better to them than the reality that the rest of the news media reflects.

Twenty-one years later, we’re in an ugly situation where Fox News finds itself beset by upstarts that pander even more blatantly to what a subset of people want to believe, regardless of whether it’s accurate or true.

Talking to true believers is tough, and maddening. Getting through to them is even harder. Shermer, a professional skeptic and publisher of Skeptic magazine, discusses the phenomenon and has good advice on how best to handle it.

Read his column on how to convince someone when facts fail:

*Full disclosure: One of us at OTYCD was active in the skeptic movement in the 1990s and met and worked with Shermer on several occasions.

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Save This Tool for Keeping Tabs on Bills That Concern You: GovTrack

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Bookmark, a nifty tool for learning about and tracking bills that concern you.


Govtrack debuted in 2004 as a hobby project and blossomed into what you see today. It helps you find federal legislation on issues that you care about, and lets you track them as they work their way through Congress.


It can also show you the bills most tracked by the site’s users, trending bills, and other useful information, such as the total amount of legislation passed by Congress in the current session. And it offers good longer reads in the form of GovTrackInsider, which offers detailed examinations of hot bills and contested issues.



Start using GovTrack:



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