Bystander Intervention

#DGB #TBT Fighting Racism with Bystander Training


Your DGB for this Throwback Thursday is to brush up on your bystander training.

Recent videos keep surfacing of racists being racist, so we need to make sure we know what to do if and when a situation like that arises. offers bystander resources and focuses on the the five Ds: Direct, Distract, Delegate, Delay, and Document. You can also sign the pledge, support Hollaback, and become a HeartMobber, which is an online bystander interventionist.

See our first Grab on this subject here:

It’s not enough to just not be racist; we must actively fight racism in everyday situations by being active bystanders.


White Privilege and Standing Up


Your DGB for today is to familiarize yourself with strategies to de-escalate racist harassment and assault, especially if you have white privilege and can use it to help Black and brown folk.

Last week two Black men were arrested for hanging out at Starbucks. And a Black teenager was shot at for ringing a white person’s doorbell to ask for directions. As if we need more reminders, it is clearly not safe to be Black in this society. And PoC need more than non-racist allies, they need ANTI-racist allies willing to use their white privilege to help on the front lines. In the video taken of the Starbucks incident, you can see white people attempting to intervene with the police on behalf of the two Black men. This is a great use of their white privilege. It didn’t have the desired result in this case, but maybe if they’d had a little more information and training, it would have. Maybe someone could have convinced the Starbucks employee not to engage in racial profiling and call the cops in the first place. So check out the resources to which we’ve linked, and learn how to stand up to racism, rather than just being a bystander.

And one more thing: given the way that Black people’s lives are put at risk in encounters with the police, please think twice before calling the cops on a Black person.


Support Portland Heroes

Your DGB for today is to donate to the funds set up by the Muslim community for the heroes in Portland who jumped in between a violent racist and two Muslim teens last week and/or one set up to help the two girls who were targeted.

On May 26th, two Muslim women on the train in Portland, OR, were verbally assaulted by a white supremacist spewing hate speech. In the process of trying to protect the women and diffuse the situation, three good samaritans were stabbed by the supremacist. Two of the men, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, made the ultimate sacrifice and the third, Micah Fletcher, sustained serious injuries. The funds raised for them will go first to short-term needs of the families such as medical bills and funeral expenses; and then to longer term needs. Funds raised for the two girls will go towards basic expenses as well as transportation (as you can imagine, they are not too keen on public transport these days) and mental health services.

Hate crimes - particularly against Muslims - seem to be flourishing in the Trump era, but ordinary Americans are stepping up and speaking out in record numbers. If you can spare even as little as a couple dollars for these brave folks and their families, please give. 

We also urge you to brush up on your training for safe and effective bystander intervention. Stay safe out there, Grabbers!



Bystander Intervention

Your DGB for today is to learn the four Ds of Bystander Intervention.

The only thing worse than being harassed because of your race, religion, sex, gender, orientation, or anything else, is being surrounded by strangers who choose to stand passively by. The four Ds are different methods you can use, individually or together, to support people who are being harassed while modeling intervention behavior for your community.

DGB has paraphrased the advice of Hollaback, a great resource for advice and action on all types of harassment, including local Bystander Training classes. 


If you and the victim are both physically safe, and you are willing to assume the risk of the harasser redirecting their abuse toward you, choose a direct response. Tell the person doing the harassment to stop. Advise them to leave, if the situation allows. Take out your phone and start recording the incident if you can. Use our advice from this past Grab while recording.



De-escalate the situation by interrupting it. Ask the victim for directions or the time, placing yourself between the harasser and the victim while speaking. You can also cause a commotion by making a mess, such as spilling a drink.



Seek or enlist the help of a third party. Instruct another bystander to call the police or distract the harasser while you help the victim. Approach the bus driver or store manager and ask them to intervene.



If you are unable to intervene during the altercation, you can still help by checking in with the victim once the incident has ended. Ask them what they need. Can you accompany them somewhere? Call someone for them? Help them make a report?

Remember, your intervention doesn’t have to be perfect. Any form of speaking up is better than nothing, and responding as a bystander also inspires others to courageously speak up in similar situations.