Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Click here to be redirected to Deaf Connections YouTube Channel to see the BSL version of this article.

What is Racism
Racism is a belief that due to genetic factors which define different races of humans, some races are superiors to other races of human beings. Racial Discrimination is the effect of this belief and is when a person or group of people are discriminated against on an ethnic, linguistic and or cultural basis. Racism is not acceptable within UK law.  

How Racism can take place
 Racial discrimination can take place in a number of ways, here are some examples: 
  • Teasing somebody for the colour of their skin.
  • Mimicking or mocking somebody's linguistic accent.
  • Excluding someone from a group activity because of their ethnic or cultural difference.
  • Verbally or physically attacking someone because of their ethnic background or nationality.
There are many forms that racial discrimination can take. Therefore it is important to discuss with an experienced caseworker or legal adviser for racial complaints. This can help decide whether an incident is racial discrimination.
The Law and Racism
The Race Relations Act 1976 was the first piece of law dedicated to stopping racial discrimination in the UK. It introduced many important concepts about direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and segregation. These are explained below in detail. However there were some gaps in the law that were later amended  by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Equality Act 2010. However there was a significant incident that took place that helped to determine racial discrimination more widely. This was the legal case regarding the murder of Stephen Lawrence.  

The Case of Stephen Lawrence
The case of the murder of Stephen Lawrence was a landmark case in helping to change attitudes in discrimination work. Here were the main facts from the case: 
Stephen Lawrence, a British black teenager was murdered in 1993.
  • 5 people were arrested for murdering Stephen on racial grounds but they were not convicted. 
  • The police and Crown Prosecution service were accused of not handling the case properly due to racial grounds
  • This led to an inquiry by Lord MacPherson with the result that the police has acted in an Institutional Racist way towards this case
  • This finding had an impact on all public services and how they dealt with ethnic minority people in general as employees and service users.

Institutional Racism
This term was founded by the Lord MacPherson Enuiry in to the Stephen Lawrence case. It is important to understand what this terms means and it affects: "...the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin", which "can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes, and behaviour, which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and racist stereotyping, which disadvantages minority ethnic people". (The Stephen Lawrence Enquiry, 1999) This is discrimination against ethnic minorities that is systematic and embedded in the procedures, routines, and culture of an organization and not simply the product of racist attitudes amongst individual employees and managers. This term has now started to be used for other forms of discrimination and is known as institutional discrimination. 

Equality Act 2010
Race equality in Scotland is governed by the Equality Act 2010.  This act makes it illegal to discriminate against person on the grounds of their skin colour, nationality (including citizenship), race and national or ethnic origin.  This act exists to protect everyone against discrimination and is not just for one group.  The act defines that a person can experience discrimination on racial grounds in the following ways:
Direct Discrimination:  This occurs when you are able to show that you have been treated less favourably on racial grounds (race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins) than others in similar circumstances.
Indirect Discrimination:  This occurs when a rule or condition, for example the dress policy of a workplace, which is applied to everyone but which one racial group may find hard or impossible to comply with or gives rise to unfair treatment of individuals from one racial groups. 
Victimisation:  It occurs if you are treated less favourably than others in the same circumstances because you have complained about racial discrimination, or supported someone else who has.
Segregation:  It is unlawful to separate workers or deliberately place them in particular groups based on their skin colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins. If an individual feels they have been discriminated against on racial grounds they may take a complaint forward. 
Hate Crime and Third Party Reporting
A Hate Crime is when a person commits a crime against another person because the victim is identified with or is perceived to be identified with a particular race, religion or belief, gender identity, Sexual orientation or disability. There a number of laws which protect people who have experienced a hate crime and the people have been prosecuted with fines and jail terms for carrying out acts of hate crime. If you gave experienced a hate crime you should report it to the police either by going to your local police station or phoning the police directly. Sometimes people do not feel comfortable going and reporting incedents themselves amd may ask a friend, family member or trusted individual to help them to report. This is called 3rd Party reporting and allows the police to record and investigate incidents. It is possible to report hate crime online using a form on the Police Scotland website or alternatively someone can fill out a paper form which can also be found on the website and send it to the address given on the form. The form can be filled out anonymously, this means that the police cannot contact you but the crime will be recorded.
It can be very stressful and painful to report a hate crime which has happened to you but you can get support from lots of different organisations and should the crime be brought to court you will be offered help and support when the time comes for you to go and given evidence.
It is very important to report hate crime either directly to the police or by reporting through a 3rd party as this lets the police know how many people are experiencing it and lets them take action to stop it. It also means that the more people who are prosecuted for committing hate crime it will hopefully stop people from doing this in the future.


West of Scotland Regional Equality Council
39 Napiershall Street
G20 6EZ
(Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 5pm; Friday 9.30am-4.30pm)
Tel: 0141 3376626 (Third Party Reporting Centre for racial incidents for Police Scotland)

Ishara Project  
Deaf Connections
100 Norfolk Street  
G5 9EJ  
(Monday to Thursday : 9.30am to 4.30pm)  
Tasnim Sharif : Community Development Worker for Deaf ME Community
Text: 0141 4202171 / SMS: 07749311524
Website : www.deafconnections.co.uk 
(Third Party Reporting Centre for hate crime incidents for Police Scotland)

We would like to thank our partner West of Scotland Regional Equality Council for helping us  develop this resource.


This initiative is supported by:


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