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Understanding racism
Tuesday 30 June 2020

Understanding racism

Race, identity and privilege are very complex and personal issues. Understanding why some people feel something different to you can be challenging. Our team has shared their insights to help young people understand more about racism.  


It’s a big deal 

Race, identity and privilege affect everything. For example they impact the way somebody is treated, the friends they have, the place they live, what they wear and how they feel. Everyone will have a different experience and it’s important to acknowledge that race, identity and privilege can have an impact on someone else’s life, that may be different to yours.  


Some people have misconceptions 

Some people have negative opinions based on someone’s skin colour. These opinions can be hurtful, they can impact someone’s self-esteem, limit opportunities available and effect how they are treated in society. This is racism. It has very real financial and social consequences. Some people base their views on people they have seen in films or read about in books. As a result, they might stereotype or judge a group of people because of their skin colour, name or where they are from. You can ask someone why they have these views and tell them how it makes you feel.   


Talk about how you feel 

Discussing race, identity and privilege helps people to understand differences and value diversity. By learning about different experiences, you can understand people more and maybe find something in common that you can share. But not everyone feels comfortable sharing these personal experiences, it can make some people angry and upset, so have these conversation’s in a safe space with people you know well. 


Understand offensive behaviour  

Understanding why someone might be hurt by something you say can be difficult. Something might not be offensive to you but is to somebody else. However, if somebody is upset, hurt or offended it is very important to learn why. Listen to them and try not to hurt other people with your words or actions. Everyone has the right for their feelings and experience to be taken seriously. 


Racism should always be taken seriously 

Everyone will have a different opinion on what their race and identity mean to them. All of these views and experiences are important. It is important you recognise how someone’s experiences have affected their life. Do not disagree with them or say things like “stop being so sensitive” or “just don’t think about it”. Try not to dismiss someone’s experience or understanding of their own race and identity. 


There are lots of places to find support 

There is lots of information you can find online to learn more about racism and being anti-racist. It is also important to know there are channels of support if you have been affected by racism.  


Our signposting resource has more information about understanding race and racism for everyone in the family