Facilitate conversation, but don’t dictate. If your colleagues are at an impasse over a touchy issue, ask clarifying questions, paraphrase them respectfully, and ask for help from a third party if necessary. Don’t gang up.While the workshop’s core examples addressed gender and race, attendee Joseph Powers, director of group therapy at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, said bystander mediation skills have much broader applications.“I listen to patients all the time who are concerned about bias and prejudice toward people with psychiatric illnesses,” Powers said. “I wanted to learn some strategies to counter the bystander effect, skills that I could teach them. I think I got some good ideas.” Include someone who is being ignored. Introduce the person by name, and use welcoming body language and conversational segues to bring the person into the dialogue. Like most city dwellers, Robin Parker is used to uncomfortable public moments. “Riding back and forth on the T, I see a lot of things,” she said.But one recent evening, her attention was drawn to a group of teenage boys in prep-school khakis and their loud, crude insults about women and African Americans. Unsure whether to speak up, she finally targeted the most vulnerable-looking boy. “You’re too handsome to be talking like this on the train,” she told him.“They dropped their heads, stopped the conversation, and apologized,” said Parker, manager of Harvard’s Events and Information Center. Before she got off the train, a white man approached and thanked her, a black woman, for saying what he couldn’t.As Parker relayed her story in the Barker Center, a hush fell over the crowd. It was the end of a Dec. 7 workshop on bystander awareness, and many participants had confessed how helpless they often feel in such situations.“It’s about being able to bring the unspoken into a moment comfortably,” Parker said. But not everyone manages to be so gracious — or effective — when countering behaviors or remarks that touch on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality in the workplace. Everyone has a story of, say, a female team member being ignored at a big presentation, a co-worker unknowingly using a racially charged figure of speech, or a minority colleague being mistaken for waitstaff at a networking reception.But in the moment, employees often clam up out of embarrassment, confusion, self-doubt, or other reasons. In the process, they miss opportunities to show solidarity and reinforce diversity as one of Harvard’s key values, said workshop co-leader Maureen Scully, assistant professor of management at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.That hesitancy can be overcome with the proper awareness and practice, said her fellow presenter Stacy Blake-Beard, associate professor of management at Simmons College.“It’s like CPR training,” Blake-Beard said. “By practicing it, it becomes instinct.”The session was part of the Diversity Dialogue series hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Human Resources Diversity Initiative. The workshop drew participants from Schools and departments ranging from the Harvard University Police Department to Hospitality and Dining Services.As small groups acted out bystander responses to various scenarios, Blake-Beard and Scully emphasized how critical bystander support has become in increasingly diverse universities and businesses.“Now more than ever, as we are collaborating and competing with people who are so different from us … we need to know how to leverage differences,” Blake-Beard said.Some simple bystander strategies they suggested include:Reset the situation. Draw attention to a slight or inappropriate remark by using humor, calling for an end to the conversation, or merely saying, “Ouch.”
Glenn Close Star Files View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed from London today. Glenn Close May Return to Sunset BoulevardIt’s as if she never said goodbye! Glenn Close may not just be reprising her Tony-winning role of Norma Desmond on screen, but also on stage in London. The Daily Mail reports that the star could headline Sunset Boulevard for a limited engagement at the English National Opera in spring 2016 or 2017. Featuring a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black, the tuner premiered in the West End in 1993, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Patti LuPone. In a widely publicized upset that resulted in an out-of-court settlement, Close brought the role of Norma to the Great White Way the following year. The production won seven Tonys including Best Musical.Sheridan Smith Confirms Funny GirlLea Michele Sheridan Smith has revealed that she will play Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. The British stage and screen star had been in talks with director Michael Mayer about headlining the classic tuner at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Smith won two Oliviers in consecutive years for Legally Blonde and Flare Path; Mayer won the Tony for Spring Awakening and was nominated for Hedwig, Thoroughly Modern Millie, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and A View From the Bridge. This could end up being a West End—and Broadway—match in heaven…Bertie Carvel Will Headline The Hairy ApeBertie Carvel will lead the cast of Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape. Directed by Richard Jones, the previously reported production will begin previews on October 17 and officially open on October 29 at the Old Vic. Carvel, who received a Tony nod and won an Olivier for Matilda, will play Robert Smith “Yank.” Further casting will be announced later.Kenneth Branagh Taps John Dagleish & Zoë WanamakerKenneth Branagh’s much-buzzed about season at the Garrick Theatre just got even starrier! Branagh has brought in Olivier winner John Dagleish (Sunny Afternoon) and four-time Tony nominee Zoë Wanamaker (Awake and Sing!) to appear in Harlequinade. It will be double duty for both; Dagleish will also star in The Winter’s Tale, while Wanamaker is set to perform Terence Rattigan’s dramatic monologue All On Her Own every evening before Harlequinade. Harlequinade and The Winter’s Tale are scheduled to play in repertory at the West End venue October 17 through January 16, 2016.Watch New Sherlock TrailerIt’s Friday, it’s been a long week and since he’s about to return to the stage in Hamlet, including this sneak peek in today’s roundup is almost absolutely justified. Below is the first trailer for Sherlock’s upcoming Victorian special, starring Olivier winner Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role. You’re welcome.
We should find out today if Colin O’Riordan will be cleared to play for Tipp in the Munster Under 21 Football Final.The JK Brackens clubman will undergo the final part of his concussion assessment today with Dr. John Hynes of South Tipp General Hospital following the injury sustained in the senior League clash against Sligo over a week ago. The team for Thursday night’s final against Cork in Semple Stadium is likely to be named once a decision is made on O’Riordan’s participation.