Don’t walk on by: How to confront bias and bigotry aimed at others
When Sunita Nandihalli was a psychology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, they and an undergraduate intern found themselves in an lift with a man who seemed fascinated with the intern. She was multiracial, and he repeatedly quizzed her about her hair.
Nandihalli, a queer person of colour, had experienced similar obnoxious comments and stepped between the two of them, asking the stranger about his day and where he was going. “I had to take the intern’s safety into account,” they recall. Nandihalli knew what to do because of ADVANCEGeo, a project that trains researchers in how to intervene when they see bias and harassment in the geosciences. Nandihalli had lent their expertise to the project to adapt ‘bystander-intervention training’ programmes designed for office workplaces and make them relevant to research and academic settings.