Is This What To Do If You See A Hate Crime?

What do you do if you witness a hate crime?   Does it matter what kind of hate crime it Is?  Who it is against?  Is the response different?  Below has shared a way to combat a hate crime, more specifically hate speech.  As you follow along, ask yourself, would this work for all verbal / non-physical hate crimes?


A brilliant guide showing bystanders what to do when seeing Islamophobia in public is spreading on social media.

The guide instructs friendly bystanders to do four things in succession: Converse with the victim while ignoring the attacker, focus on a random subject of conversation that doesn’t involve anything the attacker is talking about, maintain eye contact with the victim while refusing to engage with the attacker, and continue friendly conversation until the attacker leaves, while offering to escort the victim to a safe space.

The illustrated guide (see below), made by artist Maeril, is a 4-step guide that simultaneously shows how a bystander can make an Islamophobic attacker irrelevant while at the same time providing the victim with a safe space. Maeril, who lives in France, originally designed it for bystanders wanting to make Muslim citizens feel welcome after the terror attacks in Paris and Nice, said on her Tumblr that the guide can actually be used to help those being targeted by various forms of hatred and racism. Maeril asked those planning on following the guide to make sure to do two things:

1) Do not, in any way, interact with the attacker. You must absolutely ignore them and focus entirely on the person being attacked!

2) Please make sure to always respect the wishes of the person you’re helping: whether they want you to leave quickly afterwards, or not! If you’re in a hurry escort them to a place where someone else can take over — call one of their friends, or one of yours, of if they want to, the police. It all depends on how they feel!

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Maeril said the guide is based on a psychological technique called “Non-complementary behavior,” in which a person adopts the polar opposite behavior of someone else. In this instance, non-complementary behavior means acting in a warm and friendly way toward someone who is experiencing hostile behavior from someone else.

This guide will likely become essential over the next four years as hate crimes are already being reported across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. Follow Maeril on Tumblr here. –

In this day and age, I think we all want to fight back.  Many of us see ourselves as the one being attacked and we want to yell louder, bigger, and better against hate.

So what do you think, Instincters?

Do you think this would work against all forms of hate speech attacks?

Would we remember to use this when we found ourselves in such a pickle?

Or are we more apt to desire to have a better and louder argument against the attacker?

And this doesn't answer the question as to how do we combat verbal attacks against ourselves.

Do we hope someone will step in?  

Do we look for assistance from someone else?


Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at, or friend him on Facebook

1 thought on “Is This What To Do If You See A Hate Crime?”

  1. Excellent advice.  We should

    Excellent advice.  We should all think ahead to what if situations and be prepared.  Matching force with force is not always the best option.


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