Racism is treating someone unfairly simply because they belong to a different race or culture. It is illegal to treat people differently because of their race and no one has the right to make you feel bad or abuse you.
What is racism?
Racism is when someone is treated differently or unfairly just because of their race or culture.
People can also experience prejudice because of their religion or nationality.
It is illegal to treat people differently or unfairly because of their race and nobody has the right to make you feel bad or abuse you.
Racism takes many different forms which can include:
- written or verbal threats or insults
- damage to property, including graffiti
- personal attacks of any kind, including violence
Why some people are racist
Someone who is a racist can feel threatened by anyone who is from a different race or culture.
Our views and beliefs develop as we grow up. If a child or young person grows up within a racist family, or has friends who are racist, they may believe that racism is normal and acceptable.
Prejudice of any kind is often based on ignorance and fear of things that are different.
Being bullied because of your race
If you experience racism of any kind it can make you feel lonely and sad. It might seem easier to avoid situations where the racist abuse might happen, like not going to school, or staying at home all the time. This won’t help it go away – and it can even make you feel worse.
Some things that you can do to help stop the racist bullying are:
- Accept that it’s not your fault –you may feel less confident if you’re having a hard time, but the thing you have to remember is that you are not the one to have caused the problem.
- Tell someone what’s happening to you – maybe a friend or someone at school like a teacher. Alternatively you can always call us to talk about what’s happening.
- Keep some evidence of what’s happening – like a diary of events, for example. This might be useful to show others that you need help.
- Try and keep yourself safe – For example you could walk home with someone you know rather than on your own.
- Never give up! You might not be able to tackle racism by yourself. Seek out support and accept help where you can.
If you are worried about racism or are being bullied because of your race, you can talk to us about the problem at any time. You can also call us if one of your friends is suffering from racial abuse.
Who can be affected by racism?
Unfortunately, racism can exist in all races and cultures. If someone is abused or treated unfairly just because of their race, background or culture, this is racism – no matter where they are from.
You can also be affected by racism which isn’t directed at you. For example, if you hear someone discriminating against someone else’s culture, you might still find it offensive even if you’re not from that culture.
What is racial discrimination?
Racial discrimination means someone has been treated unfairly because of their race. It can mean not having the same opportunities, respect or support as other people because of your ethnicity. It can also mean people from certain ethnic backgrounds are blocked from achieving their goals in life. Discrimination is illegal.
Sometimes racial discrimination can happen if there are rules that only affect one racial or religious group. For example, if Jewish boys are not allowed to wear a yarmulke or if a Sikh person is not allowed to wear a turban, this is racial discrimination. However, teachers may ask someone not to wear religious clothing if it is a reasonable request – for example, if the clothes could be dangerous to wear during PE.
Sometimes people discriminate against other people without meaning to – this is still wrong.
Stereotypes are used to describe the behaviour of a certain group of people – like people from the same race, religion or type of job. Stereotypes are often wrong because they assume that everyone from a certain group acts in the same way.
Racial stereotypes often bring out racist attitudes. Even if it wasn’t your intention to be racist, using racial stereotypes can subtly change the way you behave with someone from a different race.
What if it’s a joke?
Even if it’s not meant to be offensive, a racist joke can be hurtful to someone and their culture. It could also be offensive to people they know and care about. A racist joke is still racist and going along with it gives people the impression that racism is okay.
Sometimes people make impressions of people from other cultures or tell jokes about different races. If people around you are doing this, it’s important to think about whether you want to be a part of it. If someone doesn’t show that they are upset at the time, making racist jokes towards them could still have a negative impact. Imagine if you heard jokes about your race, culture or background all the time. Making racist jokes is a form of abuse and eventually it will have an impact on how people feel about themselves and their culture.