Almost all of us have been on the receiving end of prejudice, whether for our age, race, skin color, religion, weight or some other superficial reason. Being subtly ignored, disrespected or treated as a stereotype is hurtful and sometimes shocking, particularly when it comes from someone at work. In their book Overcome Prejudice at Work, Drs. Ranna Parekh and Carl C. Bell, explain how to cope with these insults and respond constructively. The book includes 15 useful tips, including:

Be strategic. Thinking through a response rather than reacting in anger will benefit you more in the long run. Get some perspective on your experience. A friend or mentor can help you sort out what’s worth fighting against and what you’re better off ignoring. Use your anger constructively. Instead of lashing out, turn that energy into something positive, like helping others cope with or push back against prejudice. Adopt a beginner’s mind in a new situation. Just because your ideas were ignored at your last job, don’t start your new one assuming the same thing will happen. Being defensive will create new problems and won’t solve the old one. Change what you can. Not everyone or every situation can be changed. Think strategically about what you can change; if it’s not enough, consider moving on.


Dr. Ranna Parekh practices at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, and is an instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She also directs the Center for Diversity in the department of psychiatry at MGH.

Dr. Carl C. Bell is a professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and president and CEO of Community Mental Health Council & Foundation, Inc., a Chicago-based, comprehensive community mental health clinic. During a 40-year career, Dr. Bell has gained a national and international reputation for his work on racism, stress, and resiliency.

Karen Weintraub is a science journalist who has written for The Boston Globe USA Today and the BBC, among others. She also helped write “The Autism Revolution,” and “Fast Minds: How to Thrive if You Have ADHD (Or Think You Might),” also by Harvard Health Publications.

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ISBN: 9780795332630
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