The #StopAsianHate movement is all about bringing an end to the rise of racist attacks and hate crimes against Asian people since the start of the pandemic. You can find out more about it from our quick guide to the movement here.

It’s hard to know how to be the best ally to any movement of a minority that you are not a part of. This is because we often feel like we have no place joining in a discussion that is not about us. But allyship to any movement is so important, and is the only way that real change is possible. So, here is our guide to being an ally to the #StopAsianHate movement. 

Listen 

The first and most important step to being a great ally to any marginalized group is to listen to them. Listen to their experiences, be empathetic and feel what it might be like to put yourself in their shoes. We understand that this isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if you have never experienced anything like what they have gone through or have to deal with everyday, but you cannot be a supportive influence if you refuse to really listen to and understand the problems they are dealing with.

Believe them 

Just like listening to someone about their experience is important, the next most important thing is to really and honestly believe them about what they have lived with. When we question people’s experiences, whether they are about race, misogyny, mental health or homophobia, we really take away their voice and their ability to seek support. As soon as we start questioning the reality of lived experiences of minorities, it’s more likely that they will not be believed by the other people around us, and we instantly put them on the back foot. 

Be compassionate

Compassion is also key to being a good ally, and goes hand in hand with listening and believing people about their experiences. If someone tells you that they were a victim of racist verbal abuse, laughing at it will never be the answer. It belittles their experiences and reduces them to a joke, which is something that they would have had to deal with their whole lives. Instead, listen, comprehend and offer support where it’s needed. Let them take the lead on what support they feel they need, whether it’s physical support like a friend to walk them home, or emotional and mental support like a friend to cry to. All support and compassion you can give will be welcome. 

Educate yourself 

If you hear a story about racial discrimination from a friend or online that upsets you, take the opportunity to educate yourself further in what the movement is about to stop this kind of thing is about. Look at resources and accounts of racist abuse (if you feel like you can as this can be very triggering) as well as reading about what you can do to make a difference.

You can find out all about the #StopAsianHate movement on our dedicated hub here.

Use your privilege in a positive way 

The final step of being a great ally to the movement is to use your position of privilege in a positive way. Being an ally is not about talking over someone’s experiences, but using your voice to elevate theirs to a place where more people in your circle can have the opportunity to become an ally as well. It might be sharing a story on your Instagram, attending protests and marches or raising money for the cause.


Want to learn more?

This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.

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Are you looking for ways to support friends, family or the community of East or South East Asian (ESEA) people? Here are 10 ways to safely call out any racist comments or hate crimes.

1. Recognising ESEA hate

How we are treated as we move in different environments such as school or among friends and family is affected by who we are. Even if you don’t identify as ESEA, recognise that many ESEA people are likely to feel scared or anxious right now. Look up recent news articles and read about the ESEA experience to help you recognise what ESEA hate might look like. 

2. Trust your Instincts

Some cases of anti-ESEA hate might look obvious, for example, you might hear a racial slur or see someone pulling back their eyes to mock ESEA people. Other times you might see a newspaper article or TV show portraying ESEA people in a negative or stereotypical light. No matter how subtle or lighthearted the racism seems, remember that the impact on ESEA communities is huge, so remember to go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.

3. Do you have the energy?

Think about your mental health and if you have the energy to call out anti-ESEA hate. Although you are doing something positive to fight racism, it can potentially be an exhausting process. Take a moment to think about whether you have the capacity to deal with the negative response you might get from calling out racism. There are other ways to respond or help if you don’t feel like reacting immediately, such as talking about it with friends, writing an article or raising money for a cause.

4. Do you feel safe?

There might be times where you will personally see racism happening, for example in the street or in a group of friends. Confronting these situations might be met with a negative reaction, so make sure you are with people you trust and the situation doesn’t feel too dangerous. If the situation grows tense, see if you can encourage people close by like security guards or shopkeepers to diffuse the situation instead. If there is an ESEA person at the centre of the harassment going on, try to see if you move them away from the situation to a place of safety.

5. Record and document

Do you have a phone or computer? Record, write down and screenshot anywhere you see anti-ESEA racism because it will help you remember clearly what went on if you ever want to talk about what happened afterwards. It will be really useful for complaint forms or even reporting to the police. However, if you don’t manage to because there wasn’t an opportunity, don’t worry and don’t let anybody try to convince you it was all in your head if you ever try to talk about it. If you’ve recorded someone else suffering racist abuse, make sure to let them know, offer to share it with them and get permission from them on if and how they want it shared.

6. The news can be biased

A big part of why so many ESEA people are suffering racism now is because of how they are portrayed in newspapers or on TV. Sometimes politicians and even celebrities have said things that have made ESEA people look bad. This article shows some examples of how ESEA people can be portrayed in a bad light.

Be curious and question what you’re watching if it shows an ESEA character or is talking about the ESEA community. Writing a complaint to the broadcaster, magazine or newspaper will help them to realise that what they have done is really harmful. The more people write and complain, the more likely we will see change.

7. Calling in vs calling out

Try to practise calling in, especially if you are among friends or family. This means understanding that the racist things they are saying or doing is mostly due to ignorance. Try to gently help them understand why something they are doing or saying is harmful to ESEA people. Everyone is human and it’s easy to say something racist without realising what the impact can be. People can get a new perspective if we take the time to talk it through with them.

8. Take the time to talk

If it’s someone you know or a stranger who has suffered harassment, make sure they are safe, reassure them and guide them to resources that can help them process what went on.

Here is a list of resources that can help. Sharing your experiences, thoughts and feelings with people you trust such as friends, family or a teacher will help you process your experiences with racism, whether you have called it out or have been harassed yourself. Being heard and having your feelings recognised goes a long way to helping you to move on from the experience and be ready if it ever happens again.

9. Practise self-care

What do you do to chill out and relax? Perhaps it’s listening to music, going for a walk, playing games or just reading. Make sure to look after yourself and re-energise after you have been exposed to racism. It can bring out a lot of upsetting thoughts and feelings that can feel exhausting, so make sure you are able to get a sense of calm or peace again before taking next steps, whether that be reporting it, talking about it or getting on with your day. 

10. Stay hopeful

It can feel overwhelming knowing that there is racism in the world when all we want is for everyone to be treated fairly. Remember that by learning and doing what we can to call it out, we are able to make a difference.

There are lots of great things about ESEA culture too. Look for books by ESEA authors such as Maisie Chan or Natasha Ngan. Our food is another place to celebrate ESEA culture! Restaurants and takeaways run by ESEA people have been affected really badly during the pandemic. Try making the local Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese takeout the choice for Friday night!

There are also online communities like besea.n (IG: @besea.n) who are there to support, uplift and spotlight inspirational people in the ESEA community, with lots of resources to learn about ESEA culture.


Amy Phung is a London-based graphic designer, illustrator and animator and the co-founder of besea.n. besea.n is a non-profit, grassroots organisation founded by six East and South East Asian (ESEA) women, whose mission is to tackle negative stereotypes and to promote positive media representation of ESEA people in the UK.

Their work includes anti-racism campaigning, providing resources, holding organisations accountable, working with other social justice groups, spotlighting prominent ESEA voices and establishing a supportive community to validate experiences. Learn more on their website: https://www.besean.co.uk/


Want to learn more?

This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.

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When you witness racism in the street, your workplace, or at school, it can be hard to know what to do and who to talk to about it. Calling out racist behaviour is important, as is helping someone in need, but so is making sure you remain safe in a situation. This super quick list will help you know who to go to when you see it, and how to support someone who is experiencing it. 

Quick Steps to Intervening in Racism or Hate Crime

  1. Assess the situation for safety for you and the person being harassed
  2. If the perpetrator is being violent, you should put your safety first. If you think you or the person being harassed could be in physical danger, immediately call the police
  3. If you feel it is safe to intervene, go to the person being harassed and try to remove them
  4. Ensure that they are OK, and try to get them to safer space away from the harassment
  5. Don’t get aggressive towards the perpetrator as this could make the situation worse
  6. Report what you saw to the police if it was in a public space
  7. If it was work, go to a manager or if that’s not possible, go to HR
  8. If it was at school, report it to a teacher that you trust
  9. If the person being harassed doesn’t want to take it further after you have reported it and they have been spoken to, then you shouldn’t push them to
  10. Take care of yourself after the incident, and seek additional emotional support if you feel you need it. 

You can find out everything you need to know about the #StopAsianHate movement on our hub by clicking below. 

Contacts and Further Support

End the Virus of Racism

An organisation set up in the wake of the rising tide of hate crimes and racist abuse towards ESEA during the Coronavirus pandemic 

Ditch the Label 

If you see racist abuse online, specifically within social media spaces, you can report it to us, and we will get it removed. 

Stop-Hate UK

They gather reports online and you can report any hate crime or racist incident to them.

CST 

This is where you can report specific instance of anti-semitism, and is an organisation designed to protect Jewish communities. 

Tell MAMA 

With MAMA, you can report hate crime and racism that is specifically anti-muslim.

You can also report incidents via the True Vision website here report-it.org.uk

To report an incident to the police by phone, call 101.

Relay UK – if you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 101

You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.

If it’s an emergency, where you feel you or someone else is in immediate danger from harm,  you should always call 999.


Want to learn more?

This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.

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In the article, we explore what unconscious bias is, how it’s formed and the role it plays in forming racist hate, with a lens to explore specifically Asian hate. There are 10 ways you can train your brain to unlearn some of the negative stereotypes you’ve learnt from the world around you.

These tools will help you evaluate the messaging around you and hopefully empower you to make more informed decisions.

If you haven’t already read our introduction to racist unconscious bias, we definitely recommend checking it out as your starting point.

1. Be informed
Just knowing about unconscious bias and the brain science that underpins it is incredibly useful in building a critical understanding of how some of your opinions and stereotypes are constructed. 

2. Think about where you get your information from
Sit down and start to think about the media you consume and your sources of information. Think about the messaging you receive and the degree of influence each outlet has on you. Commit to scanning the future content you consume for potential bias-forming language. For example, in the context of Asian hate, here are some genuine news headlines that clearly build a negative stereotype and perception of Asian communities:

A COVID article on the city of Blackburn featuring an image of two ESEA women. Only 0.48% of Blackburn’s population is Chinese.

3. Balance out your thoughts
See your judgements of others like a see-saw: one side is a negative thought and the other side is a positive thought. Whenever you catch yourself making a negative judgement of another person, or group of people, counteract it with a positive one. Do this and you will gradually find that your empathy grows as your negative biases are challenged.

4. Call it out
If you witness racism and don’t call it out, you are complicit. We all have a responsibility to call out any forms of hate whenever we witness it, provided that it is safe to do so. If an older family member says something racist, for example, you are completely within your rights to call them out on it. Challenge their way of thinking and don’t be afraid to point out that it is harmful. If you see harmful content on social media, remember that you can report it directly to Ditch the Label for it to be removed. If you see harmful news stories or media that plant negative stereotypes, you can report it to OFCOM. We all have a role to play when it comes to tackling the issue of racism and Asian hate.

5. Educate others
It’s a fact that the more you talk about a particular issue, the more likely it is to be stored in your long-term memory and the more habit-forming it will be. Start talking about unconscious bias with the people around you; not just to reinforce what you’ve learnt, but to encourage others to learn and challenge their own biases too.

6. Surround yourself with people who are different
This is vitally important and a great way to actively unlearn negative stereotypes. Our own lived experiences rank as more influential than media headlines, which is why it is valuable and important to have a rich diversity of people around you. You will find that your mind will open up and your life will be so much more enriched as your social circle grows.

7. Seek out role models
If you have recognised that you have a dislike towards a group of people, know that this acknowledgement is an incredibly brave and difficult one. To counteract this bias, it is important to seek out role models who are part of that community and to learn about them, their stories and their experiences. Learn as much as you can about them and their culture and be prepared to go in with an open mind and a desire to unlearn harmful beliefs.

8. Don’t forget your empathy and privilege
Take the time out to build empathy towards a person, or group, who are subjected to harmful stereotypes. How would you feel in their position? What must it feel like to walk a day in their shoes? Do you think the world feels scary to them at the moment? What can you do, as a bystander or perpetrator to make their experience a little easier?

9. Reframe difference
Imagine a world where we all look, act, talk and move in the exact same way. We all like the same thing, we all want the same career pathway, literally everybody is the exact same. Could you imagine how boring that would be? Difference is often talked about as being a negative thing, but it really is the glue that makes this planet we call home so rich and interesting. Instead of seeing difference as a negative, it should be celebrated.

10. Finally, don’t stop learning
Working on your own unconscious bias is never-ending because it is constantly forming and evolving. See this as the beginning of your journey to becoming way more informed and critical of the world around you. If you’re interested in learning more, there are tons of great videos on YouTube and a whole world of amazing books, inspirational people and amazing stories.

Visit our #StopAsianHate hub to learn more:

Want to learn more?

This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.

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Talking about race is hard. Talking about it with a family member is harder. Talking about it with a family member who has a history of perpetuating negative racial stereotypes is harder still.

When we love someone who has a tendency to throw out racist jokes like it’s normal, starting a conversation with them about why this is not OK can feel like an impossible task. But calling people out on their everyday racism is the only way anything is going to change, which is why we have put together this guide. 

Don’t write it off 

It can be tempting to just write-off the racism that our family members perpetuate as impossible to change. When it’s someone who is elderly, or an authoritative family member, we can often think there is not point in trying to change their behaviour as they are too set in their ways. But it’s important to try. Even the oldest leopards really can change their spots when they take the time to listen and learn, and if you think they are capable of just doing that, it’s worth starting the conversation. 

Explain why it makes you feel uncomfortable 

When it’s someone you care about that is making you feel awkward or uncomfortable, they will want to know they are doing it, and why it makes you feel that way. Be calm and collected and choose a time and place that works the best for both of you.

Ask them why they feel like making jokes or comments like that 

Sometimes, it might be because no one has ever said they don’t like it before. Or it could be because they were raised in a house that normalized racism. Whatever the reason why they do it, try to hear them out. So much of the microaggressions that we hear from those we love are down to one of these two reasons, and so now is your chance to explain why they are not excuses for this kind of behaviour. 

Don’t be hostile or aggressive

Talking about race is a tough conversation, and feelings can often run high. But being hostile or aggressive is only going to make matters worse, and will likely result in damaging your relationship with that person, instead of changing their behaviour in any way. If you feel like you are struggling to hold your emotions back, ask to take a break from the conversation but let them know you will revisit it at a later date. The most important thing though, is to try to leave your emotions behind when you do draw it to a close. 

Give them the opportunity to express their feelings about it 

It can be tempting to only feel like you have the right to express your feelings in conversations like this one, because you feel like you are 100% in the right. But it’s important the conversation flows both ways, and you give them the chance to express how they feel about this. Let them have the space to say why they do it, and what they feel about needing to change. 

Have some resources or stories ready that might educate them 

Even though it should be, just saying how you feel about this situation might not be enough to influence any changes in behaviour. So make sure you do your research beforehand, have some resources, links and stories that could help you. You can find lots more on the #StopAsianHate movement on our hub here.


Want to learn more?

This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.

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We know we should never have to write about this kind of thing. Instead of teaching people ‘how to deal with it’ we should be teaching people ‘how not to be racist’. Telling someone how to deal with racism, implies that the problem lies with the person on the receiving end, not the perpetrator.

Unfortunately we live in a world where racism does exist and we do need to talk about it.

Dealing with racist parents is really difficult. Very few people actually acknowledge their own racism and families are challenging and complicated things. Talking about race is hard, and talking about it with a family member who has a history of negative racial stereotypes is harder still.

So, let’s start with the fundamentals:

What is racism?

Well, according to our trusted friend Google, the definition of racism is ‘Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior’.

Prejudice – if you break it down, is a ‘pre-judgement’ of a person or group of people. It refers to the act of assuming something about someone based on their appearance or demeanour before actually finding out anything about them as a person.

For example, assuming that an Asian person is good at maths would be a prejudiced assumption. Actively hating an Asian person because they are Asian, is racism.

Most of the time, racism comes from ignorance. Feeling threatened or being unfamiliar with a particular race or culture can lead to racist behaviours. Racist behaviours include physical attacks, verbal abuse, damage to property, racist jokes, unwanted comments towards someone’s race, culture or religion, threats and online abuse.

Racism is a learnt behaviour, no one is born racist.

It is important to know that a public display of racism is an illegal hate crime.

So, your parents are racist?

Racism seems to be more common among older generations. This by no means, excuses racist behaviour. Often with older people, it can be as simple as unintentionally using an outdated term to refer to a person’s race or group of people – with no real offence intended.

Sometimes, however, it can be much more than this. Whether it is a nasty comment, assumption or outright abuse, if a parent or adult in your life is being racist, here are a few things you can try to tackle it.

They are the problem.

First up, remember that it is their problem, not the person or people who are at the receiving end. Secondly, always remember that you are not your parents. Use your critical thinking and remember that your opinions do not have to match those of your parents.

If it feels safe to do so, challenge them.

This is difficult especially if you are young and trying to speak to an older person about their racist behaviour. Try explaining that when they use racist language, it offends you. Even if you are not the subject of the comment, explain that you find this language offensive and so do other people. Try to explain why. Don’t be too quick to label them as a racist; instead use this as an opportunity to educate them.

It’s likely that they’ll get defensive.

People don’t like being told that they are wrong. In fact, people don’t like to hear that they are being offensive. The vast majority of the time, people won’t even think that they are being racist. Start by suggesting that they use the correct terms.

Walk away.

We’ve all been there. The heated discussion at the dinner table which turns into a full-blown row. We’re powerless over other people’s behaviour but we can educate them by leading by example. Just to reiterate, only ever challenge them if it feels safe to do so. If you don’t succeed, walk away and try a different approach some other time, once the dust settles.

Stay aware.

Get educated and make sure you’ll be able to spot it when it does happen. Instead of randomly bringing it up with them out of the blue, wait until they say something and if appropriate, give them an example as to why it is offensive. Most importantly, be an ally.

If you need more advice, join the community to talk it out with other members of the Ditch forum or get advice from a Ditch the Label digital mentor.

Want to learn more?

This article is part of our #StopAsianHate series in partnership with ASOS. Visit our hub for more info, tools, tips and ways to take a stand against Asian hate.

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