University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Responses to Negative Discrimination

If someone makes a statement against an individual because of their group membership or generalizes about members of groups, we suggest that you do the following.

(NOTE: These ideas are from Unity in diversity: A curriculum resource guide for ethno-cultural equity and anti-racist education, Ontario Ministry of Education, 1991).


  • Deal with the situation immediately.
  • State that such abuse is harmful and will not be tolerated.
  • Value the feelings of others by listening with sensitivity.
  • Support the victim.
  • Take aside those involved to discuss the incident.
  • Apply appropriate consequences to the offender.
  • Examine the context for subtle support of such offenses.


  • Ignore it, let it pass unchallenged, or let intangible fear block your ability to act.
  • Overreact with a put-down of the offender.
  • Impose consequences until you know what happened from everyone involved.
  • Focus entirely on the offender; remember the victim.
  • Embarrass either party publicly.
  • Assume the incident is isolated from the context in which it occurred.