Most of us have all encountered some form of discrimination in our life. Whether it be race, gender, size, religion, income, etc., we have all felt belittled or brought down by a factor most of us can't control. However, how we respond to these harmful actions makes all the difference as well. Here are the top six ways to respond to the haters.
1. Keep your cool
The initial insult or threat will always come as shock. If you are willing to try and calm this person down or change their mind, you have to be cool. Otherwise, the adrenaline from the situation will hinder you from thinking clearly, and you will be coming from a place of negativity. And nothing gets done when it's negativity vs negativity.
2. You're not alone!
It is really important to step up to racism and discrimination. It is often a very scary experience, and it is hard for people to stand up for themselves. Helping to be their voice will encourage others to join in and stop the situation. Let the person being attacked know that they aren't alone and help them out. It is also just as important to know when to reach out for help, even if police have to get involved.
3. Stand up for yourself
Note that a good percentage of racism starts with misinformation and stereotypes. The people attacking you aren't that smart, so informing them when they're wrong is key to preventing future altercations. A perfect example is that my local mosque, the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, was attacked by an arsonist. However, his motive was that he thought we "didn't believe Jesus Christ as the savior." However, this wasn't true, and in this case he looked like the biggest idiot in the world.
4. Keep minding your business
When dealing with these kinds of people, it is also important to just keep minding your business. Remember that their opinions don't matter and aren't widely shared. If you respond with nothing, they are going to be the ones looking like idiots for going out of their way to try and hurt or harm you.
5. Keep your emotions in check
As stated earlier, you will have an adrenaline rush because of the insult/threat stated, but keeping your emotions in check is crucial. The person wants you to respond this way, as that's their goal. The last thing you want to do is for you to give them reasons why they should be hating.
6. Be the bigger person
It is hard to forget and forgive someone who has spewed negativity based on something about you. But the only way to move forward sometimes is to forgive. It is the hardest move to make, but it is the bigger move. There is too much positivity in the world for someone so insignificant to ruin your day!
Just know that there are always people looking out for you and that you are never alone in the world.