Home White Nonsense First Responders How Not to Be an Asshole in 4 Easy Steps

At base, a socially just world is one in which no one is an asshole to anyone else.

Not being an asshole is also the basis for creating safe space and is the foundation of all activism, social justice, and advocacy work.  It’s also the foundation of being a decent human being.

Still, the fundamental tenets of not-being-an-asshole are unclear to many people. Here they are:

1. Don’t be an asshole.

2. Being an asshole means:

  1. Treating any individual’s physical and emotional wellbeing as less important than your own.
  2. Saying or doing things that disrespect that person by demeaning or insulting them.
  3. Not apologizing when you are called out for demeaning or insulting behavior.
  4. Not changing your problematic behavior when you are made aware of it.

3. Not being an asshole means:

  1. Treating every individual’s physical and emotional wellbeing with the same care as you would your own.
  2. Saying and doing things that affirm their value and show them you care about them.
  3. Apologizing when you are called out for not acting in a caring and kind way.
  4. Changing your behavior so you are kind and caring to all people.

4. This includes not being an asshole to people…

  1. Of other races and ethnicities;
  2. Of other nationalities or immigration statuses;
  3. Of other genders (including cis, trans, bigender, agender…);
  4. Who love differently than you (including queer, gay, lesbian, have lots of sex, are asexual…);
  5. Who have a different religion than you;
  6. Who are poorer than you;
  7. Who has less or different education from you;
  8. Who have a less prestigious or different job than you;
  9. Who are younger or older than you (no ageism…);
  10. Whose bodies are different from yours (no ableism, fat-shaming, transphobia…);
  11. Whose brains work differently than yours (no mental illness shaming, accommodate intellectual disabilities and neurodiversity);
  12. Any other kind of person. Seriously. It’s not that hard.

Thanks for your time and attention!

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1 reply to this post
  1. Point 4.6: “Who are poorer than you” – Why not also “Who are richer than you”?

    Wouldn’t it be better to say: “Who are poorer or richer than you” or “Who have a different income or property level than you”?

    We should remember that nobody should mock anybody in any direction. Not the “strong” against the “weak”, but not either the “weak” against the “strong”!

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