It seems hard to believe that these days there is still racism. Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that there are still a small group of people that are prejudiced. They judge people on the colour of their skin, rather than what sort of person they are.
Although most people think of racism as being about colour other people such as Romanian asylum seekers, Irish travellers, East Europeans or Travelling families can experience serious discrimination and racial abuse too.
Sticks and stones
People who say stuff that’s racist may not consider themselves as being prejudiced, but may take the mick out of someone’s accent or birthplace. Although it is easy to go along with a joke at someone else’s expense, it makes people feel down, depressed, worthless and isolated. It’s bang out of order and don’t become part of it. While physical things hurt people, so do the things that other people say. Don’t add to someone feeling shit. It’s also worth remembering that under the Public Order Act 1986, it’s a criminal offence to use threatening, abusive or insulting language or behaviour in order to stir up racial hatred.
When it gets physical
Sometimes people don’t just joke. Racist attacks and violence are serious criminal offences. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created new ‘racially aggravated offences’ such as harassment, assault, GBH and criminal damages, which carry significantly higher penalties. If you experience any kind of racial abuse, you can tell the police. But if you’re not sure how to go about it, are to frightened or don’t think you’ll be taken seriously, still try and talk about it. Perhaps call CALM. The advisors can listen and give you advice on how to deal with it. The calls are in confidence and are anonymous. They can also put you in touch with others who can help you take action. Don’t put up with racism.