Community Activism · Ethics · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare

Read There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love

Read There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell.

 

TINGCFT might seem like a not-quite-on-topic choice for a political blog, but bear with us. It’s a great textbook on how to have awkward conversations, how to listen, and how not to be a jerk–skills that are ever more precious and valuable in the time of Trump.

 

McDowell is the genius behind a series of greeting cards that you’d actually want to send to someone who’s going through hell but still has a sense of humor. Crowe holds a doctorate in social welfare, and founded Help Each Other Out, which teaches people how to avoid being the person who ghosts or says and does unhelpful things when bad stuff happens to friends and family.

 

The whole book is a gem, but in particular, it goes over how to help people in the grip of illness, fertility issues, divorce, unemployment, and grief.

 

Some general takeaways:

 

It’s better to do something than nothing. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is doing something.

Remember it’s about them, not you. Don’t make their problem about you.

Listen.

Your kindness is your credential.

The person who needs help may not respond to your overture the way you’d expect. Don’t hold that against them, and don’t let their response deter you from helping others.

 

 

Buy There Is No Good Card for This at great independent book stores such as The Strand or Powell’s:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com/book/there-is-no-good-card-for-this-9780062469991/1-5

 

 

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Embrace the Awkward: Learn to Handle All Sorts of Unreasonable People

Want to get better at handling uncomfortable conversations with racists, sexists, bigots, and people who don’t share your beliefs and won’t let it go? Read these Captain Awkward blog posts.

 

If you haven’t heard of this blog, you have a treat ahead of you. Plan on losing an afternoon, because you will be diving deep in the rabbit hole.

 

Captain Awkward might be–no, is–the best personal advice column out there. Better than Miss Manners. Better than Dear Abby. Better than Dear Prudence. And yes, better than Carolyn Hax (sorry, Hax).

 

Blog author Jennifer P. has written several entries and presented guest posts on how to handle encounters with sexists, racists, xenophobes, homophobic and transphobic folks, as well as people who make it their mission to stomp on your boundaries.

 

Here are some good ones to start with:

 

#1083 and #1084: Nazis Are Beyond Awkward, Do Not Engage (a woman dating a man who got a Neo-Nazi tattoo way back when and hasn’t yet had it removed; a woman’s older brother is a jerk who says pro-Nazi things and her family is being dense about it):

#1083 and #1084: Nazis Are Beyond Awkward, Do Not Engage.

 

 

#915: ‘All in the Family Politics’ (She is pro-choice and works for an abortion provider; her future mother-in-law is anti-choice):

#915: All In The Family Politics

 

 

#871: ‘Love and Friendship in the Time of Xenophobia’:

#871: Love & Friendship in the Time of Xenophobia

 

 

#819: ‘Ware the ‘Frozen Chosen’ (dealing with less-than-Christian-acting congregants):

#819: ‘Ware The “Frozen Chosen”

 

 

#710: ‘I Love My Volunteers (But Not the Racist Ones)’:

#710: I love my volunteers (but not the racist ones).

 

 

…and read these guest posts:

 

‘A Post-election Guide to Changing Hearts and Minds’:

Guest Post: A post-election guide to changing hearts and minds

 

‘If I Come Out to My Family, Will They Stop Making Offensive Jokes Already?’:

Guest Post! “If I come out to my family, will they stop making offensive jokes already?”

 

Also, on November 16, the Captain Awkward blog posted a link to a great Southern Poverty Law Center guide on responding to everyday bigotry:

https://www.splcenter.org/20150126/speak-responding-everyday-bigotry

 

 

Visit the Captain Awkward site:

https://captainawkward.com

 

Follow Captain Awkward on Twitter:

@CAwkward

 

Donate to Captain Awkward:

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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:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hollaback-bystander-intervention-digital-training-tickets-33624094572

 

 

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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8L8vf0joWhQZE9WZHNtSnMxWk0/view

 

 

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:

http://www.collectiveactiondc.org/our-work/trainings-workshops/

 

 

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

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/05/max_heros_last_words_tell_ever.html

 

 

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

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/06/02/after_portland_bystander_intervention_training_is_more_important_than_ever.html