Racism and racial bullying

It's illegal to treat people differently because of their race or culture. If it happens to you, remember - no one has the right to make you feel bad or abuse you for who you are.

what are racism and racial bullying?

Racism is where someone thinks you’re inferior because of your colour, ethnicity, nationality or race. This can result in them treating you differently or unfairly, this is called racial discrimination

Racial bullying is a type of racism where someone’s bullying focuses on your race, ethnicity or culture. Racism and racial bullying are wrong and you can get help to make it stop.

Racism and racist bullying can include:

  • being called racist names or being sent insulting messages or threats
  • having your belongings damaged or having to see racist graffiti
  • personal attacks, including violence or assault
  • being left out, treated differently or excluded
  • people making assumptions about you because of your colour, race or culture
  • being made to feel like you have to change how you look
  • racist jokes, including jokes about your colour, nationality race or culture.

Racism can affect anyone. It can make you feel like you’re not important or don’t fit in. You might feel upset, depressed or angry. You can be affected by it even when it’s not aimed at you, like if you hear someone discriminating against someone’s culture.

No matter how racism makes you feel, we’re here to support you.

4 things to remember

  1. It's illegal to treat someone differently or unfairly because of their race.
  2. Racism and racial bullying is wrong, even if the person doesn't realise they're doing it.
  3. If someone commits a crime against you because of your race, religion or culture that is a hate crime.
  4. You're not alone, and there are ways to get support.

What you can do

If someone is calling you names, making you feel scared or treating you unfairly, you can get help to make this stop.

  • Walk away. If someone is being racist towards you right now, walk away to keep safe and don't retaliate or respond.
  • Tell someone what's happening. This could be your teacher, sports coach or your manager at work. Remember you can always ask to speak to someone's manager about racism, wherever you are.
  • Keep safe. Walk home from school or college with someone you know and keep your phone charged. Calling emergency services on 999 or Childline on 0800 1111 are both free calls.
  • Stay safe online. Change your privacy settings, report abuse on the site or app and block users who bully you or make discriminatory comments or threats.
  • Keep a record. Messages, videos or a diary of what's been happening can help when telling an adult or be used as evidence.
  • Keep telling. You may have to speak out more than once about racism or racial bullying. It's okay to tell someone else if you don't feel it's being taken seriously.
  • Find someone who will help. It can take time for bullying to stop. If you feel like a teacher doesn't want to help, you can speak to the head teacher. Each school should have an anti-bullying policy which is there to protect you. If your school doesn't help, you can tell the police.
  • Tell the police. If you feel threatened or a crime has been committed, you can report to the police on 999 in an emergency or 101 at other times.


How to help other people

If you see or hear racism, racial bullying or discrimination there are ways that you can help.

  • Support the person it's happening to and tell them it's wrong
  • Report what you see and hear if you feel safe to, or call 999 in an emergency
  • Speak out if it's safe to. Stay calm and be assertive. You could say that you don't agree with racist comments or jokes

Why are some people racist?

Our views and beliefs develop as we grow up and are influenced by friends and family, neighbourhoods, school and what we see and read in the media.

People who grow up in a family where racist views are expressed, or have friends who make racist jokes, might learn to believe that racism is normal and acceptable. Especially if they haven’t had the chance to interact with people from other cultures or backgrounds.

Racism can sometimes begin as a reaction to world events or news stories. At other times, someone who has had a painful personal experience with someone from a particular racial group might blame everyone of that race.

Everyone makes assumptions. This can happen when they don’t have the opportunity to learn about alternative views.

It’s never okay to discriminate someone based on their race. If you’re worried about how your views might affect other people, it can help to imagine being someone else to try and see their points of view.

Speaking out about racism

There are things that you can do to speak out about racism and racial bullying.

Watch: Racial stereotypes

Watch: Am I racist?

Watch: Celebrating culture and difference