This article is based on a report commissioned by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation. The first author is supported by an Australian Research Council scholarship. The third author is supported by a University of Melbourne McKenzie Fellowship.
Bystander Anti-Racism: A Review of the Literature
Article first published online: 7 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 263–284, December 2011
How to Cite
Nelson, J. K., Dunn, K. M. and Paradies, Y. (2011), Bystander Anti-Racism: A Review of the Literature. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 11: 263–284. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01274.x
- Issue published online: 15 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 7 NOV 2011
This review of literature on anti-racist prosocial action points to the strong and largely untapped policy potential of bystander anti-racism. Bystander anti-racism is conceptualized as action taken by “ordinary” people in response to incidents of interpersonal or systemic racism. The utility of bystander anti-racism is also demonstrated, with evidence suggesting productive effects for targets and bystanders, as well as perpetrators. The relative merits of confrontational or diplomatic action are reviewed, as is the delicate balance between communicating disapproval and maintaining interpersonal relations. The potential of bystander anti-racism will be enhanced where there are social norms that are intolerant of racism. The literature has paid little attention to the influence of context or to affective drivers of bystander anti-racism. We recommend changes to Ashburn-Nardo's five-stage Confronting Prejudice Model, to better facilitate anti-racism policy and practice. The additions adapt the model to organizational settings, and more strongly acknowledge the importance of social norms and contexts, as well as the specific functions of racism. Through these changes, there is a scope to increase the prominence of bystander anti-racism as a vital element of anti-racism policy.