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 is racism?

Racism is when someone's treated differently or unfairly just because of their race or culture. People can also experience prejudice, when a decision is made or opinion formed without knowledge, thought or reason, because of their religion or nationality.

Racism takes many different forms. These can include:

  • written or verbal threats or insults
  • damage to property, including graffiti
  • personal attacks of any kind, including violence
  • being treated differently or being excluded because of your race or culture
  • having people make assumptions about you because of your race or culture
  • people making racist jokes.

It's a sad fact that racism can affect anyone. It exists in all races and cultures. If someone is abused or treated unfairly just because of their race, background or culture, this is racism - no matter where they're from. 

You can also be affected even if it isn't directed at you. For example, if you hear someone discriminating against someone else's culture. Even though you're not from that culture, you might still find hearing it offensive. 

It's illegal to treat people differently or unfairly because of their race. Nobody has the right to make you feel bad or abuse you. If you're experiencing racial bullying, Childline can help.

4 ways to deal with racist bullying:

  1. accept that it's not your fault – you’re not the one who caused the problem
  2. tell someone what's happening to you
  3. keep some evidence of what's happening, such as a diary of events
  4. try to keep yourself safe – walk home with someone you know rather than on your own.

Why are some people racist?

Someone who’s racist can feel threatened by anyone who is from a different race or culture.

Our views and beliefs develop as we grow up. If you grow up within a family where some members are racist, or have friends who are racist, you may believe that racism is normal and acceptable.

But prejudice of any kind is often based on ignorance and fear of things that are different. Don't fear or dislike what you don't know or understand. Find out more by reading, learning about things online, talking to people and getting lots of different views before you make up your mind. 

Imagine being someone else and what this would be like. Think about how you would like to be treated.

Types of racism