Mo: Hello, hello, hello and welcome to this week ‘s everyday inclusion and belonging where we talk about everything inclusion, equity, diversity, and belonging under the sun.
Today I’m going to have a really timely conversation with Jorge Arteaga on how to be a good bystander, and Jorge, you pivoted so fast to join me on this with everything that’s been happening in the world with the events in Atlanta. You know, we’re seeing a spike in and you and I talked about this but introduce yourself and Hollaback and the work that you all are up to because it’s amazing and we could all learn from you and I’m excited to have this conversation.
Jorge: Thank you so much for having us we’re grateful. Well, you know I’m Jorge, I’m the deputy director at Hollaback and Hollaback is a people powered global movement and harassment in all of its forms and we’re doing that in a few ways these days.
Some of them is like our trainings that we’re currently offering, we’ve actually had over 30,000 people registered to our bystander intervention to support the API community training. The fact that happened over 4 days, that was just like phenomenal the amount of support that we’re receiving.
But we do bystander intervention and a number of other topics and we also talk about how these simple tactics could also be used in the workplace. And then we do some conflict de-escalation work and resilience building and also some tools to mitigate some implicit bias folks might be showing up with right.
And then overall right, we have our global site leader program where we’ve trained local youth in other cities around the globe to bring the movements and harassment to their communities. We have heart mob, which is our online harassment platform tool so if you know as our lives have drastically gone virtual and we spend even more time online, I didn’t think it was possible before you know the pandemic that I would spend even more time online.
But if you’re experiencing online harassment, even if you want to be an ally because you could also still use the 5 D’s even in a virtual setting we have resources around that as well, where you could figure out if you wanted to report something or how you might go forward about protecting yourself in digital spaces.
And then I think the most important as a historian is storytelling. We’ve collected over 15,000 stories of harassment in an effort to raise awareness. So yes, it is a lot you are correct.
Mo: Well, it’s so fantastic. So, thank you all for the work that you’re doing, it’s amazing and it’s why I wanted to so quickly get you on the series so that we could talk about this.
How does our personal experience impact how we show up as a bystander?
Jorge: Well, ultimately right we’re not singular human beings. We have multiple identities, we wear multiple hats you know, pedestrian or citizen is one of them, workplace employees another one.
Mom, dad for me, you know, Afro-Latino, gay. You name him right, like we have multiple identities and hats that we wear so that affects ultimately our experiences, not only how we experience public spaces, workspaces right, but also how we’re perceived how situations might appear to us and yeah, our experiences play a huge role even in our ability to be a bystander.
Because there’s definitely you know, when folks think of, well, jumping in to be a bystander right like aren’t there some risk’s involved? Absolutely there will be. There are some risks that might be involved, but that is why there’s multiple tools right. And what we really want to help people do, is start to think and create this framework right and first think about your own identity, your personal identity right, who are you as a human.
How does that affect your experience right and then also, how might that affect your ability to be a bystander, an active bystander, and do something whenever you see some form of disrespectful behavior or harassment.
Mo: I know it seems obvious to you Jorge, but I had never thought about how intersectionality and who I am impacts how I show up as a bystander. So that like was you know in our pre-conversation is such a light bulb moment for me like well, of course it does.
So, I know that you talk about the spectrum of harm. Can you talk about that? And I love this idea that we don’t have to be a superhero that you shared with me.
Jorge: Yeah, we talk about it’s a spectrum of disrespect right and automatically when they think of oh, bystander intervention methodology, they think of being a superhero right of like you have to do this huge gesture and put yourself in harm’s way and actually, you don’t right.
Acts Of Harassment Are Everywhere
There are multiple ways that you can show up to support someone in different settings right, in public spaces as well as in the workplace. So, when we look at the spectrum think of it as these sorts of disrespectful micro aggressive behaviors that aren’t overtly racist or sexist or any of the atrocious acts that we see in the media right.
But they’re more kind of everyday jokes that may be made or just comments like where are you really from? Or oh no, what country do you come from you’re not really from here right you know, assuming that folks of a certain identity come from certain areas, or certain countries right.
We look at the behavior there and what we’re saying is you can intervene in those situations right, when it’s the stakes are much lower because what we hope is that over time or what we’ve seen not even hope, what we’ve seen is that overtime when you start to get in early you start to show people that that behavior is not OK right.
It’s not accepted. We don’t tolerate that here, right? We respect each other’s identities the intersections you know of which we lie on, we respect all of it. And then you stop it before it ever becomes these much worse you know scenarios of situations that you deal with like racism and sexism and xenophobia and hate.
So yeah, you know, ultimately when you’re looking at conflict you know, I mean in instances where it’s extremely violent or you know you, you fear for your safety we actually are asking you as a bystander please preserve your own safety first, right. Especially in public spaces, think about yourself, put yourself first and because then you want to be able to show up in the best way for the person who needs your support because ultimately our methodology the 5 D’s focuses on the person who’s experiencing the harm in the moment.
Mo: So, I want to unpack this idea about like those getting in on those microaggressions. The we don’t do that here, that’s not funny, that’s not OK right those can be really simple and fast.
How do I make sure that I’m not trying to play savior?
Right like Jorge do you really need my help? Right, what’s that balance you know, is it saying something like, I’ve got your back, let me know if you want me to step in or like I see that or what? Give me the best practice there because we don’t need a whole bunch of people, particularly white people, thinking they need to be white saviors.
You Don’t Have To Be A Savior
Jorge: Agreed, agreed, agreed, and that’s actually something that comes up in our trainings and what we talk about is that ultimately in this methodology, we’re really focusing ourselves on the person and their experience. So, if you don’t want to play savior, one is don’t focus on what you’re feeling in terms of how you want to help this person right like, this is so bad I need to say something about it right.
Because then you really focusing on what you’re feeling about it right, you’re not really focusing on the affects, the impact that it’s having on the person who’s on the receiving end of that harm.
So yeah, something like you know, I saw what happened, let me know if you need me to say anything or if you would like me to support what you said. We talk about document as one of the 5 DS like just a quick message right like a little note of like hey, I saw what happened on email to the person who experienced the harm. And then let them choose like hey, just wanted you to know I saw this, if you choose to do anything with it, I can support you.
Now of course, when we’re talking about workplace settings there’s a whole bunch of implications around folks who mandatory have to report when they see, so managers above if you see it, even if you think it’s a joke, you still have to report harassment if you witnessed it.
But yeah, not being the savior right in public spaces, not being the savior, I mean I would say even in the workplace looks like, you know, definitely the intention in that moment and we know intentions aren’t magic right and bystander intervention of course, happens in the drop of a hat right like we’re asking you to do something sometimes in the span of like 30 seconds or a minute.
So, the intention should always be, I need to support this person and show up for them in this moment and help them in the way that is best for them.
And I think if you hold that with you like this is not about the person causing the harm that might be a conversation later and not even that you have with them or if you choose to be a direct intervenor, you might say something directly, but then ultimately focus yourself on the person who’s experiencing it and showing solidarity with them.
Bystander Intervention Approaches
You definitely want to keep in mind that your actions may have an impact that you may not even be aware of because we talk about bystander and the identities that we hold and therefore based on those identities and experiences we hold we might have certain biases or privileges we’re not even aware of that might be informing what we’re seeing and how we’re choosing to intervene or interact with it.
Mo: I’m mean I’m just thinking about like, could there be a quick you know, I see this, let me know what you need. I’m thinking in particular in the workplace, right.
I’m curious to Jorge about so many people after the fact think, oh I wish I would have said, or I wish I would have done. What’s your feeling about and again, this isn’t the situation that’s escalated, we’re still at the micro aggression. Is that I go back to the person, center it back and say, I saw that, I heard that, next time what would you like me to do, or would you like me to do anything? Or is it, what do you need?
Jorge: So, one of our forms of intervention delay, so delay is you know, checking in with the person after the situation has passed right. You may not always feel comfortable in that moment speaking up for whatever the reason is we’re not telling you to set those aside and do something right now. Own honor and hold true, whatever it is that you’re feeling.
Whatever is bringing you trepidation around intervening so that then you can choose what’s the best way of action and what’s the best way forward for you in that moment. So, delay is the option of maybe I did see something I didn’t feel comfortable and you know, intervening and you can still do something so yes. Afterward, checking in with that person and saying, hey I did see what happened it’s not OK, you know what can I do to support you, how can I show up?
Mo: OK, and then they may say hey, I need you to go talk to that person and they may say I got it. Or next time you know, knowing that you’ve got my back, whatever it might be OK.
So, you’ve alluded to the 5 D’s, but what are they?
Bystander Intervention: The 5 D’s
Jorge: So, the 5 D’s, I’ll give them to you quickly I don’t want to give away too much but folks encouraging you to come out and take our trainings. We have distract, distract is creating a distraction to deescalate the situation. And you might do that in a few ways.
You know, in a public setting drop something maybe walk up to the person and ask them for directions or can I help you with something or act like you know them. In a workplace setting distraction might mean you know in some work meetings folks are like OK well, let’s go ahead and take a pause and give everyone 2 minutes to share right because then you’re kind of breaking the situation, acknowledging that everyone hasn’t held space in the room and then giving everyone that equal attention.
You have delegate, which is finding someone else to help you. And you know, most settings even I’d say in the workplace and I would say you know something like hey, did you see what happened?
Do you feel comfortable saying something right or can you step in I don’t necessarily feel comfortable saying something? We’ve had some folks be creative and they said I delegated with a distraction. So, I told that person hey, can you go and call so and so to my office after this meeting, I need to talk to them about something, but it was really to kind of break up the situation that they were in. it.
Mo: I like that, I like that sort of doubling up on that, too like hey, hey, hey, can you take some notes on the whiteboard?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, whatever it might be OK.
Jorge: Yeah, exactly, exactly and then in public spaces you know the by stander next to you who necessarily may not know that the 5 DS exist. Get their help if you’re you know in a certain setting you might want to go to a person who is in a position of authority in that setting so a bartender, you know if you’re on the airplane maybe it’s the flight attendant and asking them for help in doing something.
And then you know, also people always ask well what about the police? Well, I say use your discretion if it’s an extreme violent situation you don’t feel safe and you fear for the safety of the other person, you see that they are in clear visible danger. Because again, some of these watch outs of the bystander you might be interpreting something that’s not actually happening there. You know, then you can call, but if you can check in with the person who’s experiencing the harm, check in with them if you can and say, hey, do you need me to call 911, right?
Mo: Can I stop you on delegate for a second, it’s always the first person right, it’s like the first one to step forward is the hardest and it seems like it would be much easier than to get somebody else involved.
If I’ve distracted and then I can get somebody else involved because I’ve already taken that first step, I’ve set wheels in motion and there are probably other people that are seeing and experiencing don’t know the 5 DS or are afraid or you know any number of things.
So, I think that the delegation seems like an easy way you start that ball rolling.
Jorge: Yeah, to push people into action.
Mo: OK, so distract, delegate now number three.
Jorge: Yeah, document, so creating documentation of the situation and this one is a bit tricky. But if you’re in public spaces, in most spaces you want to check your local laws for consenting, you know party laws around filming things in public, but I’m pretty sure in most places in New York City, for example, we have just one party needs to consent to the video.
So that will most likely be whoever is filming it. You can film the situation and then once you’re done filming it, give it to the person who experienced the harm and let them handle the situation or decide how they want to report that.
Like we don’t want to further traumatize that person, we want to restore as much of their choice and agency back by allowing them to choose how they want to use that footage.
Mo: I love that versus again, it would be easy to be like look what I documented.
Jorge: Exactly, like center, it back on the person, and then you know, in a workplace setting is different, right? There are some cases as I mentioned before, but you have to report so the documentation has to be created.
But you know in cases where you don’t like I said, uh, maybe a quick email, a little note of what happened, maybe noting the time, you know, time of day. Maybe after what meeting was it, what was the context and then just giving it to that person right as a form of having documentation and supporting them?
Mo: One of the things that we talked about sort of in that workplace around the documentation and this is again I’m taking it back to micro aggression before it gets to the really egregious stuff is, we suggest having a team check in around how things are going.
And if I’m in my meeting notes right, I can go back or I’ve seen some things and I can say you know here are some things that I saw this last month. Generically right, I saw us interrupting each other, or I saw comments about hair and appearance or whatever it might be. How can we do better right so it’s everybody, saying if we’re going to do those check-ins around how are we doing around inclusion and belonging right an and holding space for one another.
Maybe it doesn’t escalate to the HR level, but it’s keeping notes and also like on the flip side, catching people doing things right like here are some things that we did really right this month or this week.
Jorge: Yeah, so I think on documenting, you know, because again bystander intervention is very in that moment. But a lot of what you named is using that then to going through the work to figure out why we have these behaviors happen and these disrespectful behaviors happening in the workplace.
And in that moment though, you’re certainly right I mean, unless you feel like you have to. But if you can keep the conversation with you and a colleague and it comes from a place of like hey, you know you did this thing to me and it made me feel this way and I would like for you to whatever it is you know, whatever it is that feels right for you.
We talk about some of that, especially in our bystander intervention in the workplace because there is some of that.
I like to think of the folks that you’re working with. You spend in some cases more time with them than you do with your own family, right?
If you can keep the conversation here and you feel that it will lead to something, you also really should do that.
I think the flip side of that coin though, is then also setting people up to be able to receive that feedback. So, we have that conversation as well, right? Recognizing that, like surprise, we all have implicit bias, and it takes work to undo, it’s not the scarlet letter that you’ve been branded with, right?
That there’s just some work that you’re going to have to do to undo that whether it’s teaching or actively acknowledging certain behaviors you have, and taking steps to really try to, you know I won’t say correct them but grow.
Mo: OK, so we have, I’m not taking notes, distract, delegate, document.
Focus On The Person
Jorge: And then we have delay. So, delay is what we talked about earlier which is waiting until after the situation has passed, right. Delaying and then you know, checking in with the person and that one is for a number of reasons, right? As a bystander, you also want to think of where I might be most helpful to this person.
Maybe you’re like Emily, my colleague and our Co-founder executive director. She’s like delays, for the folks who are like good best friends, the people like to listen. She’s like for folks like me who I’ve, you know, been doing this work for such a long time have shared, you know, space and stories with folks and feel that I might be in more service to them.
You know, after and checking in on them and saying, how are you? What can we do to support you?
I know this hurts right, acknowledging that what they went through was not OK and that you know it hurts and then offering your support and you can offer your support you know, hey do you want me to sit with you?
Can I call someone? Do you need to take a walk? And our work looks similar. At work it’s maybe knocking on the door after that tough meeting and saying hey I saw what happened in there you know, I’m totally sorry that was your experience. Do you need me to cover a meeting for you so you can take some time to regroup? Do you want to go and take a walk or grab some coffee? You know, finding ways to be there showing up for the person in the moment.
Mo: And then are you also asking about OK, if this happens next time, how do you want me to show up for you?
Jorge: I think in that moment, like in that moment yeah, not yet right. Like we want to again center yourself on that person and their immediate needs. Like what do you know that person’s is probably maybe reeling or experiencing some sort of shock or some sort of trauma from the experience they’ve had.
So, you want to be supportive to them in that moment, and what can I do for you now that will be in in support of you and then you know later on if you wanted to offer that additional support than you know, that always helps. It’s always good to offer more help.
Mo: Alright, last D.
Jorge: Alright, direct. And direct, you know I love all of the 5D’s but naturally I’m a direct intervenor. I hold it near and dear to my heart not because it’s you know my goal tool my superpower but because I feel like there is a real generative way to do direct. You know folks immediately think oh I need to confront this person and tell them everything that they did wrong and bring them down and all of that and it’s not about any of that, right?
It’s about in that moment saying hey, what you did was inappropriate, made that person feel uncomfortable. That joke seemed racist, sexist, whatever it was, you offended that person and you need to give them some space.
You should apologize you know, we should have a discussion about why those things are not OK in our environment.
Maybe you should read our policy book, whatever that conversation looks like, but then stopping it right. Like you don’t want to go any further than state what you saw and why it was wrong or the harm they could have been causing. Give them an action like you should apologize, you should not say that, and give them some space and then turn yourself and center yourself on the person experiencing the harm right to helping them in that moment.
It’s really easy, I think to get away with yourself, escalate the situation and you know, we don’t want that ultimately because we want the other person, the person experiencing harm, to feel safe, right?
Mo: I love that back to centering.
How do I do that in a way that doesn’t escalate? Right that doesn’t push somebody into either fight or flight. Or is that for later Jorge, like I’m just right now, just shutting this down right here and then we can have the conversation later. We talk about psychological safety and how to get people to grow through things.
I think I’m hearing this right, is that’s not right, then that’s let’s be direct, let’s stop it, let’s turn back and then we can go have that deeper conversation down the road.
Jorge: Yeah, that’s correct but also what I’d like to say is that in being direct right, you may not feel comfortable being, so you know, bold. Or like just saying, you know, like blatantly calling someone racist right in the middle of a work meeting, that probably wouldn’t go over well.
So, you know there is a way though for you to say hey, you know so and so what did you mean by this comment that you made?
Or what did you mean when you said, and then restate what they said. What you do is give that person a moment to like to hear back what they just said in front of everyone. And if they’re going to walk it back, give them a chance, right.
So, walk it back, or explain themselves or maybe that is what they meant, right. But there’s ways to still be direct an I won’t say call out but name the behavior and not feel like you’re being as confrontational.
Mo: Can you give me five phrases I mean, is that like what did you mean by that or can you explain that or that’s not funny.
Jorge: Yeah, or I’m like yeah, I’m trying to understand how this comment was funny or could you explain to me and you want to make sure that the questions aren’t loaded with your assumptions already in them?
Like oh, could you explain to me how that was not a sexist and a literal joke?
Because then you’re imposing how you feel about the situation in it and what you really want to do is give that person a moment to step into what they said. Are you going to own this thing that you said and if you are, then we need to be clear about exactly what is it that you said because then I think that sparks some conversation, right?
The conversation is either, you know, actually, that’s not values align or maybe that’s a learning moment for that person, right?
Like hey, you may have meant this, but what you said, this is the part where we say, you know, you honor the intent, but you have to own the impact right where you might have said something and just put your foot in your mouth even if you didn’t mean too. But now you have to own that impact and step into it and be willing to make the real amends.
Mo: Oh my gosh, this is been so phenomenal. So, I don’t have to be a superhero right.
Think about the spectrum of harm right and get in there on the early things, understand how my identity impacts. This is how I learn Jorge so I’m going back with the 5 D’s!
Jorge: No, that’s fine, that’s fine.
Mo: Distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct.
And always, always, always go back to centering on the person that’s experiencing the harm and what they need.
Mo: Oh my gosh, so good, OK tell and I’m going to put this in the comments as well, how can people sign up for your trainings? Where can they find out more about the amazing work that you all are doing and again, thank you for the amazing work.
How can we all become better bystanders out in the world and in the workplace?
Jorge: Yes, coming get trained and once you get trained go and tell 10 more people that you got trained and get them to come to the trainings and you can register to our trainings at Ihollaback.org/get trained. Or you could just go to ihollaback.org and if you scroll a little bit down one of the first things, you’ll see is get trained because we want to make sure folks are coming to our trainings.
We do have a bunch of dates that we added and expanded our capacity to meet the moment, an offer to folks. But we do know there are some workplaces that or some universities or organizations that might want to bring this into their organization and we can do that as well. I will say we are a bit, you know, everyone’s knocking, and we are a mighty, mighty team, but you know, capacity is a thing, right?
We want to take care of our folks who are on the front lines of this work and organization so reach out to us you can email us at Holla@Ihollaback.org or you can contact us through our get trained pages. There’s a contact form there and give us some time, we will get back to you with some dates. We have been scheduling dates furiously and diligently and making sure that we are able to bring this out to whoever you know, wants it, needs it, is craving it.
Mo: Well, an I’ll say as a mighty team ourselves, like we understand like you want to meet the moment and y’all this isn’t going away.
So, you know, maybe you know this might be training for this summer this fall whenever, just don’t give up on it.
And what I love about organizations bringing this in Jorge, is this idea of a common language and common tools.
When you have a common language and common tools, everybody is like oh, I understand. I understand all these things, we all have the way of going about this so that it becomes like breathing in the organization.
Oh my gosh, thank you so much, I learned so much. I will be signing up for training I’m telling everybody about it and the world needs what you’re doing and thank you, thank you so much.
Jorge: We appreciate you, thank you for having us.
Mo: Give me one last truth bomb.
Jorge: Truth bomb about myself or the organization?
Mo: About being a good bystander.
Jorge: Oh, being a good bystander, uh, a good one, a good one. You don’t have to do all 5D’s right. We’re not asking you to do everything, but you need to do at least one thing. Just one thing, right. If we all were able to step in and do at least that one thing when we saw someone experiencing that harm.
We are making a change together, we’re changing the world and the way we interact with folks.
Mo: I like felt that in my whole body, Jorge so thank you, thank you. Thank you everybody, get out there and get trained. Give Hollaback some love for all the work that they’re doing and get out there and do the next right thing. Cheers.
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