Class Outline 1

Standing Up Against Bias Speech 

  1. Bold and reserved – what is your style for conflict resolution?

Strengths of bold people:

  • Willing to step up
  • Not easily intimidated
  • Often come up with something to say
  • Recover quickly from insults


  • May underestimate the intensity of the situation. More inclined to put themselves in danger.
  • May jump in too soon and make things worse.
  • More inclined to argue.
  • More inclined to talk over another person.

Strengths of reserved people:

  • Tend to plan social interaction and not speak spontaneously.
  • Act deliberately around people, think before they act around people.
  • Many have cultivated a “social voice” that carries authority (a “parent” or “teacher” or “boss” voice.)
  • They have authority when they speak because their speech is more organized.


  • They are less likely ask a stranger to help.
  • They avoid confrontation and conflict.
  • They may hesitate and miss a chance to help.

Anyone can do these things in a tense situation: Talk too much, be unable to talk, freeze, lose your temper.

What are the goals of aggressors? Power to exclude. Withdrawal of social status. Economic isolation/physical deprivation.

  1. Levels of Aggression

Bullying: Bummer/microaggression, Aggression, Bullying — Aggression is a single act. Bullying involves repeated attacks on a particular person. Violence/abuse/extreme bullying – Involves ongoing physical threat, or use of weapons, or enough intensity to trigger the target to consider suicide or violence towards others to make it stop.

Anti-racism: Microaggression, Racist bullying creates an environment of hate that puts a racial group or ethnicity at a disadvantage.

  • Microaggression
  • Forced invisibility
  • Symbols and threats of violence
  • Violence involving any member of either group

Responding to Conflict, level 1

Part 1 involves people you know. They may be people in your workplace, your neighborhood, your family, or your friends.

Goal: Your goal is not to change someone else’s mind. Your goal is to stand in your own truth. The more of us that do that, the more the society will move in the direction of those truths. Everyone within hearing can be changed by your statements.

Remember to use your authority voice. 


Social fear alone –without physical threat – is powerful.

  1. Grounding exercise.
  2. ID places where personal tension shows in the body.
  1. Verbal:
  2. I messages. “It bothers me when you call other women by that term” “I don’t like when you use that term.” “That term hurts ”
  3. Name the behavior, out loud. “You are yelling.” “You are hurting my arm.” “You are touching me.”
  4. Make a request: Practice authority voice. “Please don’t use that term in front of me.”
  5. Deflecting insult aimed at you. “That might be so…AND…”
  6. Phrases to be agreeable while not agreeing. Structure: repeat the offensive comment in a neutral way, then state your objection succinctly and neutrally. “Yes, restate a summary of the other person’s belief, but state something true about your beliefs, when necessary or possible.
  7. Change the subject. “We are not going to agree on this, can we change the subject.” “You and I work together, so can we agree to disagree about this?”
  8. Words and phrases that don’t work: Fact, studies show, the Constitution says, any educated person knows, your statistics are wrong, you don’t get the big picture.

Truth Sandwich

  • The goal: Truth. Contradict false statement. Truth.
  • Don’t repeat the lie. Repetition makes it stronger.
  • Say the truth without room for argument or debate.
  • Repeat the truth twice to any reference to what the lie was about.

What not to do:

  • Don’t repeat the lie. That just advertises the falsehood.
  • Restate why it is wrong. Don’t try to refute it — fact for fact. This doesn’t work.
  • Human brains question facts that don’t match our worldviews. When you try this, it often comes off as defensive.
  • Don’t take the high road and ignore it. Then the lie goes unchallenged. Your silence can be read as agreement.
  • If you are writing for publication, use a truth sandwich whenever you are writing about false stories.


newton slides PDF Verbal Self Defense.Newton2020