How to Challenge Your Friends’ Prejudiced Opinions

Fumble’s here with some top tips on how to question your friends’ prejudiced beliefs

Sometimes our friends say or do things we disagree with. They may make sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist or other discriminatory comments.

Because we value our friends, and their opinions of us, it can be really hard to challenge them when they say things that are wrong. Lots of us have experienced this at one time or another.

Perhaps a friend made a sexist remark about a woman’s boobs or bum, which made you feel uncomfortable. You feel uneasy, because you know it’s wrong. You feel like you should challenge them but all these obstacles get in the way.

😕 Maybe they didn’t mean it.

😕 Maybe you misunderstood them.

😕 Maybe you don’t know how to challenge them.

😕 Maybe you don’t want to get in an argument.

😕 Maybe you’re scared you may lose them as a friend if you question them.

These are all very real and common barriers that prevent us from speaking up. So, don’t be critical of yourself if you have left a comment unquestioned. We’ve all been there.

BUT.

If you feel comfortable, it’s important to challenge your friends who expressed prejudiced views. They’re way more likely to listen to you then a random person who questions their beliefs – and you could be the difference in changing their minds for the better.

So, what are some of the ways to call someone out?

Here’s some phrases you could say to your friends:

  1. NO!

Just say no. This lets everyone know that you don’t agree with their opinion. This is a great quick fix if you don’t feel comfortable explaining yourself, or you don’t know what to say, but want to challenge them.

  1. Can you explain that belief some more?

Try and understand why your friend holds a particular belief. If you can try and understand their reasons for believing something, it puts you in an excellent position to challenge their belief. AND it makes them more likely to listen to you, as you’ve listened to their opinion.

  1. How do you think that makes someone feel?

This strategy tries to make your friend feel empathy for the person or group they are being offensive towards. If you can get your friend to step outside of their shoes and understand how their comment makes someone feel, this is a huge step to changing someone’s beliefs.

  1. Have you thought about…?

Sometimes your friend may not have thought about a different perspective. Introduce them to a new idea, and help them understand that they can develop new ideas. Maybe they believe something because the have been handed that attitude from their parents, but they may be open to new ideas too!

These strategies are just a few ideas – there are a bunch of different ways to question your friends’ prejudiced beliefs.

You may use a mixture of them in different circumstances, or stick with the same one. They may also not work for you, so be sure to do what works best for you and your friend.

Former NFL player, Wade Davis is an expert in challenging other men’s sexist views. So check him out for more helpful tips.

Most of all, don’t be scared to speak up if you hear something you don’t agree with. Your friends will probably respect you for challenging them and making them think through their ideas. And if they refuse to budge from views that are harmful to others, perhaps they aren’t the sort of people you want as a friend in the first place.

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