Nobody should have to live with the fear and anxiety that racism can cause. 

Racism is a term used to describe prejudice, discrimination and/or harassment directed at a person or people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are on the basis of their colour, nationality, race or ethnicity. It can be an incident against a person or against property and includes materials posted online. 

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for individuals from discrimination and makes it unlawful to harass or discriminate against someone on the grounds of their race. Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour related to a relevant protected characteristic such as race and that this behaviour has the purpose or effect of violating the other person's dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.  

The law recognises many groups such as Romany Gypsies, Irish Travellers, Jewish people, and Sikhs as racial groups (Equality Act 2010). 

As with other types of discrimination, racism can also occur due to a perceived trait. If someone assumes you are of a particular ethnicity and treats you less favourably because of it, it is still racist even if you do not hold that ethnicity. For more information on support available if you have experienced any form of discrimination, see our support page

Historical events such as the slave trade, the holocaust, and other more recent genocides and global political events have made certain ethnicities more exposed to racism than others. 

Racist behaviours may include:
  • Derogatory name-calling 
  • Verbal threats, insults and racist “jokes” 
  • Display of racially offensive material 
  • Exclusion from normal workplace conversation or activities 
  • Physical attack 
  • Racist microaggressions* 
  • Encouraging others to commit any such acts 
 * Microaggressions are commonplace behaviours that signal (intentionally or unintentionally) to someone from an underrepresented group and/or a group perceived to have less power, that they do not belong, or they're not welcome. 
Race and religious hate crime 

Racist and religious crime is particularly hurtful to victims as they are being targeted solely because of their personal identity: their actual or perceived racial or ethnic origin, belief or faith. These crimes can happen randomly or be part of a campaign of continued harassment and victimisation.  

For more information on support available if you have experienced race or religious hate crime, see our support page
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