Quick history lesson: In both World Wars, Switzerland maintained a stance of neutrality for reasons that kept the entire global community stable, which is where the saying “I’m Switzerland” in times of debates comes from (even Bella Swan said it in Eclipse!). If you look at it quickly, being neutral because you don’t want to get involved seems to be the optimal answer. No one wants to insert themselves into a conflict, right? It’s the perfect solution for awkward situations: you might agree with one side or the other, but you know it’ll get messy if you take sides. Being Switzerland is safe.
Being Switzerland in a non-world war instance nowadays, however, is cowardice. Now, before I go in to detail, let me say that there are exceptions to that statement: if your parents are fighting, stay out of it. Actually, run in the other direction and don’t look back. If your best friends are fighting, stay out of it. Activate your invisibility powers or ask Harry Potter for his cloak.
When someone’s being a bigot and spewing bigorty towards another person, though, step in. Strap on your adult boots and say something. Don’t keep quiet. Don’t be that person.
If you are witnessing something unfair or some type of bullying, and you refuse to do anything because you don’t want to get involved, you’re a coward. This isn’t me being mean; this is me calling it how I see it. It’s the bystander effect at its worst. I seriously dislike when we, as a society, recognize that bigotry and hatred is flowing through our country and around the world, yet we do nothing as a people. If someone was kicking a baby in a street and shouting curses at it, what would you do: would you keep walking because you don’t want the negative attention turned on you or would you step in because you realize that this situation is wrong and you won’t stand for it?
For example, if you are a straight person who is witnessing hatred and bigotry towards someone within the gay community (or the entire community as a whole), and you disagree with this bigotry and think it is wrong, speak on it. This goes for if you are a white person and you witness racism being dealt towards people of color, and you don’t agree with it. If you are an able-bodied person, do the same for people who are differently abled. If you are a man, do the same for women. This goes for everything where you are a person who holds a certain level of privilege in this area. Sitting there quietly and pretending it doesn’t bother you becuase it is easier that way and does not directly affect your daily life doesn’t make you neutral: it makes you a passive participant of the other (offensive) side. By not standing up against bigotry, you are passively perpetuating it. To put it frank: if you are not with me actively and loudly and honestly, then you are against me, and you are not an ally.
And, no, I’m not trying to perpetuate the savior complex. You should not be intervening in cases of bullying because you think it’ll get you some sort of street cred or people will think you’re a better person for it. You should intervene in these situations because you don’t stand for bigotry, hatred, and bullying. You are not brave for not tolerating bigotry; you are just a decent human being.
So, please, if you see something you don’t morally agree with, don’t be Switzerland. You’re just going to help perpetuate the system of oppression.