An Active Bystander Approach to Bias, Insensitivity, and Discrimination
In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All [people] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s words remind us not only that we are inextricably linked, but also of our shared responsibility to create Mount Holyoke College’s diverse and dynamic community. Everyone Matters/Everyone Acts calls upon us to affirm our collective commitment to challenge bias, hate, and discrimination in all their forms. It aims to equip the community to actively create an environment where people of all abilities, citizenships, genders, races, religions and belief systems, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds have an equal sense of belonging and full access to College programs, activities, and services.
It is important to remember that the marker of an inclusive community is not the absence of identity-based conflict, privilege, or bias—quite the contrary. Rather, a truly inclusive community is one that possesses both the strength to stand firm against oppression and the willingness to unlearn, undo, and dismantle systems of oppression.
We recognize that it is difficult to know what to say or do when you experience, witness, or unintentionally engage in an act of bias, insensitivity, or discrimination. This page was created as a resource for community members; it outlines strategies to challenge, interrupt, or course-correct discriminatory actions or comments occurring on campus.