Intercultural Speakers Bureau:
Calls to Action for Individuals to Counter Bigotry

Strategies & Tools for Countering Bigotry

  • Address your own biases
    • Recognize that every human being has biases towards others.
    • Challenge your instinctive thoughts and assumptions.
    • Take initiative to overcome your biases, including those you may not know that you have.
    • Repeat these steps to make them habitual.
    • Be open to critical feedback:
      • Listen sincerely, apologize, avoid excuses, hold yourself accountable to a higher standard.
    • Strive for continuous learning and growth.
    • Continuously reflect on your own privilege and power.
  • Be an Upstander (not a bystander):
    • Call out racism for what it is regardless of the intent.
    • Speak up when you hear or witness bigotry.
      • Don’t allow the critique that you are being overly sensitive prevent stop you.
      • Practice tailoring feedback, keeping in mind different backgrounds
      • Allow people time to process what you’ve shared.
  • Check in with colleagues who are experiencing bullying/bigotry, whether directly or indirectly (if members of their community are experiencing bigotry or violence, this is also traumatic to them).
    • Ask if they need support and in what form, but be careful not to make assumptions
  • Intentionally engage with people who are different from yourself.
    • Check cultural calendars of different ethnic and religious groups for their holidays or observances; look for public events and attend as many as you can.
    • Initiate contact if you don’t already have friends from different groups and work to build community among people across differences.
  • Join community spaces to heal from the impact of bigotry if needed.
  • Volunteer for community organizations that counter bigotry and join others in working to dismantle systems of oppression in your local area.
  • Continue educating yourself about these topics (see below for readings and resources).

Readings and Resources (Developing List)




  • Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Penguin, 2010)
  • Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility (Beacon, 2018)
  • Isabel Wilkerson, Caste, The Origin of Our Discontents (Random House, 2020)
  • Beverly Daniel Tatum, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other
  • Conversations About Race (Basic Books, 2017)
  • Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Ballantine, 1965)
  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, (Dial Press, 1963)
  • Edward Said, Orientalism (Vintage, 1979)
  • Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Vintage, 2006)
  • Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (Harper, 2015; original publication 1980)
  • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous People’s History of the United States (Beacon, 2015)


  • “Who, Me? Biased?” video series, New York Times, 2016:
  • The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, PBS, 2013
  • Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation, PBS, 2013
  • Exterminate All the Brutes (Raoul Peck), HBO, 2021
  • I Am Not Your Negro, (Raoul Peck), 2016
  • Selma, (Ava DuVernay), 2014
  • 13th (Ava DuVernay), Netflix, 2016
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton), 2019


Community Organizations