Ask Mandy: How to handle racist comments

Have a problem? Mandy is here to offer some solid advice…Today’s dilemma: racists remarks. Should something be said to the commenter, or is it best to let it go?

 Dear Mandy,    

I don’t know how to handle this problem and so I’m coming to you. I really hope you can give me some advice on how to handle this situation that has happened to me multiple times. So I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I constantly hear race name-calling. Whether it is, “Hey look, It’s the white kid again,” or “Oh, you mean the beaner?” . Sometimes it’s more than name-calling, sometimes they’re hateful racist comments that go off limits. I was wondering what I can do in those situations. I usually overhear comments like this and they’re not directed at me, but I feel like something should be said. Do I stand up and defend that person? Do I stay quiet and mind my own business? Do I secretly tell an adult that a student is getting insulted about their race? What can I do during these types of situations?  


Worried Panther


Dear Worried Panther:

I assure you that you are not the only one who has gone through this dilemma. During these type of situations, there is never just one way to go, there  are multiple choices you can make on what to do. But one thing is for sure: You need to speak up.

Something to keep in mind is that when you speak up, you don’t necessarily have to get on the same level as the insulting person and use disrespectful language. There are  many ways to speak up in a very calm way. If the person saying  rude racist comments is your friend, definitely say something. You can always tell your friend to lay off because others have feelings too. Most likely, your friend will get a dose of reality because you didn’t jump in on the joke or start laughing too.  If your friend starts laughing or starts saying rude comments to you, then he/she isn’t really your friend and is just a jerk. If the person making the comments is not someone you talk to, you can kindly and with all respect, let them know that they shouldn’t be saying anything about other races. Once you have done this, you should be good to go.

Sometimes it can be hard to call someone on their actions. If that’s the case, you can also defend the person being made fun of. Point out that the person being made fun of has a heart and feelings and they do not deserve to be treated that way. Of course, you might be dealing with an ignorant person that in reality doesn’t care about hurting someone’s feelings.. Feel free to let everything out when dealing with a person like that. (Some disclaimers, though: DO NOT use physical violence and try not to use inappropriate language so you can sound more mature.)

The bottom line is that racism is absolutely not okay and we all need to look out for each other. So go ahead, get mad over people’s stupid comments, don’t fear, be dear, and call them out.