47. We've Been a Bystander for Way too Long. Time to Become an Upstander.

“The lessons of history can help educators and students stand up to bigotry and hate,” says Brian Fong, Program Director for the California Facing History and Ourselves chapter. Through this organization, Brian works to help others engage in complex topics, such as race and sexuality. Ultimately, Brian aims to nurture an empathetically challenging environment to facilitate positive change.


During his first year of teaching, Brian faced his blind spots through his diverse body of students. Realizing that he needed to become an upstander in society, a person who defends those different from them, Brian began his journey promoting inclusion. He encourages the listeners to have brave conversations that can foster change.


Tune into this week’s episode of The Language Alchemy Podcast for a straightforward conversation on disrupting the bystander effect. Learn more how you can respond as an upstander when you hear someone making an intolerant comment.




• “The lessons of history can help educators and students stand up to bigotry and hate.” (3:40 - 3:45 | Brian)

• “We can talk to one another to prolong a dialogue rather than shut down a conversation.” (14:49 - 14:56 | Brian)

• "Being an upstander is tiring, and it's challenging. The more we can have allies and the more people are willing to embrace an upstander mindset, the less burdensome it becomes.” (28:05 - 28:18 | Brian)

• “Let's find ways that we can be upstanders together because that will make it easier for this to be the norm, rather than by bystanding." (28:20 - 28:28 | Brian)

• “The less we have opportunities to sit in each other's company to share our stories, the less we learn, and the more that we allow other stories and other narratives to be told about us rather than by us for one another.” (31:43 - 31:56 | Brian)



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Podcast Music composed by Gary Lapow:



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