What is Hate Crime?

Hate crime is a criminal offence. It is an act of hatred or aggression directed at a specific person, group or their property. It is motivated by hostility or prejudice against:

  • A personal characteristic
  • Gender identity
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Faith

This may involve bullying, physical assault, verbal abuse and/or insults, damage to property, threatening behaviour, robbery, harassment, offensive letters (hate mail) or graffiti and inciting others to commit hate crimes. The legal consequences for perpetrators can be serious and range from a fine to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Why Report Hate Crime?

Reporting hate crime is important because it provides a platform from which action can be taken against perpetrators and for the abuse to stop. It can often lead to vital support for the victim and it can also benefit wider society by creating safer public areas.

Hate crime can go unreported for many reasons including:

  • Many people do not know that they can report this kind of abuse
  • People do not know how to report it
  • Some people have reservations or fears around approaching the police or authority figures

An increase in reporting will:

  • Provide more accurate statistics which leads to better services within the justice system and improves how hate crimes are responded to
  • Challenge attitudes and behaviours that endorse hatred towards anyone perceived as ‘different’
  • Encourage early intervention to prevent situations escalating
  • Increase confidence for victims in coming forward to seek support and justice
  • Ensure that the right support is available for those that need it
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How to report Hate Crime

In an emergency, ALWAYS dial 999 or 112 – All calls are free and will be answered by trained operators. If you are in immediate danger, or to report a crime in progress, dial 999 or 112 as above.

Other ways to contact the police:

  • Dial 101 to report non-urgent crimes or to make an enquiry
  • Call in at a police station. You can search by postcode via: http://www.police.uk
  • In incidents where the victim of a hate crime does not wish to approach the police directly there may be a police liaison officer for their region, or a Community Safety Partnership Department. Call 101 for further advice on this.
  • Reporting hate crime online: http://report-it.org.uk/your_police_force
  • Understandably it can sometimes be very difficult to report an incident alone. If you do not have a friend or family member to accompany you, help with reporting via voluntary and other agencies can be found here: http://www.report-it.org.uk/organisations_that_can_help
  • You can also report hate crime anonymously via Crimestoppers here: 0800 555 111 / https://crimestoppers-uk.org

Always tell someone if you have been the victim of a hate crime. You can speak to a digital mentor at Ditch the Label who can help you in dealing with this. Join the community today.

We want to believe that we live in a society where the colour of someone’s skin does not mean they are treated differently. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and within our Annual Bullying Survey 2019 we learnt that one in ten people believed that they were bullied because of attitudes towards their race. 

We know that people of colour are disproportionately disadvantaged in society with oppression in the workplace and institutions such as schools and with authorities. This may be out of our hands, but what we can control is the language that we use and create a more inclusive space around us for everyone. 

Obviously, some racism is intentional and in your face. But there is another thing that people of colour are just plain fed up with: microaggressions. Microaggressions are subtle, regular, subconscious discriminations made towards marginalised groups that may not seem like a big deal on their own but together they are a recipe for causing offence. They can be pretty rubbish to hear all the time because it basically means that, despite it being 2019, a lot of stereotypes are still alive and kicking. 

Here are some of the top culprits for microaggressions you may not even realise you are saying:

1) “Your hair is so cool, can I touch it?”

Just because someone’s hair is different from your own, you should never pet them. Appreciate from afar like a work of art. 

2) “So when did you move here?”

Assuming someone wasn’t born in the country just because of the colour of their skin is not a good look. In the UK we are a cultural melting pot and you can still be British and be lots of different races.


3) “Where are you actually from?”

Same as above duh!?

4) “Wow! Your English is just so good”

This person could be a native speaker, they could speak 4 languages, you never know. 


5) “It’s weird, I’ve never really seen you as black.”

THIS. Is something a lot of black people are fed up of hearing. There is no right or wrong way to be black and you saying that you don’t see someone’s race makes them feel erased. 

6) “What kind of food do your people eat?”

…..We all love pizza bro.


7) “Hey, can you tell us what the Indian perspective is on this issue?”

It is not the responsibility of people of colour to speak for their entire race and educate you. We are all separate people with unique thoughts and feelings. 

8) “Wow, you really sound…different….than on the phone”

What were you expecting? The common rhetoric that people of colour all sound a certain way or use ebonics is so reductive. The way you talk is usually influenced by your family or your social group/ where you grew up.

9) “So is your Dad black and your Mum white?” 

So many people jump to thinking that mixed-race people all follow this formula in their genetic make-up. There are so many different variations of mixed race out there and assuming there is only one makes us all feel a bit crappy.

10) “That’s a weird name, its hard to pronounce is it okay if I call you Jim?”

A name is only weird to you because it’s not what you are used to. Learn someones name, learn how to say it, it will mean a lot to them and never just rename them to something you can pronounce! 


And finally…

11) Any variation of “Damn girl you are so sassy/fierce/strong/ *finger snap* you tell em sista!”

No…just no. 


Recognise any of these? 

Don’t worry if you were guilty of making one of these mistakes. A lot of us are. Remember lots of different micro-aggressions built up over time can become mega-aggressions. So have a look at our tips to help de-programme your unconscious bias and try to communicate with empathy. Finally just remember the number 1 rule – don’t be a dick! 

Not sure if you have unconscious bias, take our quiz to find out! 

Have you been affected by bullying? You can speak to one of pour trained Digital Mentors here for one-to-one support and advice.

what to do if you're experiencing racism

Our research found that 34% of young people reported being bullied for prejudice based reasons.

Racism is a hate-crime; it is illegal to treat someone differently because of attitudes towards their race, religion, nationality or culture. Unfortunately we can’t identify the exact reason why somebody decides to act in a racist manner – racism, like a lot of other prejudice-based hate, is a learnt behaviour.

No-one is born with the ability to read or sing a song, nor are we born with the ability to discriminate against someone because of where they were born or the colour of their skin.

People who are racist, normally feel threatened or intimidated by a culture or race that is not well-known to them or that they have limited understanding of. Unfortunately, instead of taking the time to understand or embrace that difference, they act negatively towards the unknown.

Is it Racism?

People experience racism in many forms; including physical attacks, verbal abuse, damage to your property, racist jokes, threats and cyber-bullying (this could be via email or social media). If someone is making you feel uncomfortable – It is your right to report it.

Some people find it hard to determine whether or not they are experiencing racism, as everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying; to help clarify – the police define hate crime as:

‘Any incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.’

If you are experiencing racism, it can be incredibly difficult to know what steps to take next, so DTL compiled 6 tips to help guide you through the process. If you are experiencing racism and need any help or advice, or just someone to talk to – do not hesitate to reach out to Ditch the Label – join the community today.

1. Don’t see yourself as the problem

Know that what you are experiencing is in no way your fault – never blame yourself for what is happening to you. Always remember the person bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. You are not being targeted because of your race, it is because of the attitude towards this factor. The only thing that needs changing is their attitude – you are perfect as you are ❤️. 

2. Speak to them

If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, try talking to the person who is being racist. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – instead of accusing the person of being a racist, explain that their behaviour or words are racist and have caused you distress – explain that it’s not ok to say those things.

It might be appropriate to request that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between you and the person who is being racist. A mediation can be scary but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between you and the person bullying you in a controlled, equal environment.

If this is something you are considering, read this first.

what to do if you're experiencing racism, girl, in seat, black and white image

3. Report it

If you are experiencing racism from somebody you go to school or college with, report it to a teacher immediately. If somebody is threatening you, giving out your personal information or making you fear for your safety, contact the police or an adult immediately. It is important that you tell someone that this is going on.

4. Walk away

Whether you experience a micro-aggression or a more blatant form of racial hostility, make sure you are first and foremost, aware of your safety; you are under no obligation to have to respond to this kind of behaviour and can choose to walk away at any time. However, if you feel it is appropriate to speak with them or call out their behaviour, see point 2.

5. Get support

It is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining and taxing to endure racism. This stress can have impact on all areas of your life, including your mental wellbeing, ability to communicate with others, performance in school and self-esteem.

It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust about what you are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label.

We also have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and hopefully help you on your journey forward.

6. Look after yourself 

It is important during this time, that you take good care of your mental wellbeing. As well as finding a support system, you need to make sure you are looking out for yourself too.

Little things like eating a balanced diet, working out, getting a good night’s sleep, relaxing and having quality time with friends and family can really improve your physical and mental health, which will in turn, reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity of vision, allowing you to clearly analyse difficult situations, which will make them much easier to deal with.

If you feel you need further support, it is important that you seek emotional and mental support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor.

Join the Ditch the Label community to see what others have to say about their experiences and have your say in a safe and equal environment – we want to hear from you! 😍

About Lois:

Lois is currently a PhD research student at the Institute of Education, University College London. Their research is aimed at exploring the awareness of the existence of a gender identity and gender stereotypes in autistic adolescents. They have experience as an Educational Psychologist, a Special Education Needs Teacher and Special Education Needs and Disabilities Coordinator.

Top tips from expert Lois Mosquera

In various settings, particularly at school and home, children are often put under pressure to think and behave in certain ways that define them as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. This can lead to bullying in that people with strict ways of thinking and behaving may not have the tolerance and acceptance to welcome people who do not behave in ‘typical’ ways.

Top tips to help combat bullying due to stereotypes:

Ask why someone who is bullying holds stereotypes

Every moment is an educational opportunity. By encouraging open, non-judgemental conversations about this issue, you can have a massive positive impact and help to eradicate this issue.

Be a role model and educator

By modelling behaviours and ways of thinking that are accepting of all regardless of stereotypes, you are contributing towards eradicating bullying because of it. This is especially important to teachers and parents as they are often the most influential people in the lives of children and adolescents.

If a free gender-role is modelled by teachers and parents, then students will view gender as not being something that influences decisions, views, roles, and expectations.

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Talk regularly and specifically with people about issues with stereotypes.

This is especially important for teachers and parents. Let them know that they can come to you for an open conversation about this issue and that they will not be judged if they do hold stereotypical views.

Don’t underreact to bullying just because it is due to stereotypes.

As gender stereotypes are so common, comments like ‘You throw like a girl’, ‘Crying is for girls’ and ‘Why are you acting gay?’ are often just brushed under the carpet and dismissed as being playful. It is important to never underestimate the adverse impacts that such comments can have on an individual’s social, emotional, and academic welfare.

All bullying is serious no matter how playful insults may be perceived to be. This is especially important if people are bullying you based on stereotypes. Even if the stereotypes are not offensive to yourself, and you do not class them as bullying, it is still important to react appropriately and challenge such views.

If you need support on any bullying issues, join our community here.

Read about gender stereotypes here.

Read about the long-term effects of bullying here.

What is Racism?

Racism can be defined as prejudice, discrimination or hostility. In other words, having a great hate or dislike directed towards a person, or group of people because of race, ethnicity or religion. This is based on the belief that the perpetrator’s race/ beliefs are more superior that the race/beliefs of the recipient.

Is stereotyping a form of racism?

Stereotyping is often based on assumptions. Making “stab in the dark” guesses about what an individual may be like has very little evidence or proof about a certain group that an individual may belong to. In today’s society it can be difficult not to stereotype. The brain works in a way where we are automatically ‘trained’ to associate an idea of someone with a perception we have stored in our mind from the past, or from images that we are exposed to in the media.
In most cases, racist comments stem from negative stereotypes.

Example:

A bearded guy is wearing a black trench jacket, huckleberry hat and skinny jeans. Some people may automatically assume he is Jewish; however, he could just as easily be a Christian who grew a beard because his partner found it attractive and he’s following the latest style trends from Men’s GQ.

Why are people racist?

We can’t define the exact reason why somebody decides to act in a racist manner. Racism like a lot of other prejudice-based hate is normally a learnt behaviour. None of us are born with the ability to read an email or sing a song, nor are we born with the ability to discriminate against someone because of where they were born or the colour of their skin. No one is inherently racist.

Racist people normally feel threatened or intimidated by a culture or race that is not familiar to them or they have limited understanding of. Unfortunately in society today, people tend to act negatively towards the unknown rather than taking the time to understand or embrace that difference.

What is racial discrimination?

Racial discrimination can be defined as two different categories: Direct and Indirect.

Indirect racial discrimination takes place when a person or organisation introduces a rule that discriminates against people from a certain racial minority. Normally the factors of this idea/rule are unclear and not justifiable.

Example:

A Hair Salon states in a job ad that they’re unable to employ people who wear religious head attire because they want their customers to be able to see their stylist’s hair. This is in-direct discrimination; this rule has no bearing on the capability of the candidate’s ability to style hair properly.

Direct racial discrimination takes place when a person purposely goes out of their way to exclude someone specifically because of their race. These actions are normally very direct, thoughtless and are intended to get an instant reaction.

Example:

An Afro-Caribbean Society restricts admission based purely on applicants’ skin colour. This is a form of direct discrimination. They haven’t taken into consideration the amount of people who may indeed be from BME that are also of Caucasian descent.

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What can you do to overcome racism?

  • Embrace and accept who you are. It may be unfortunate that some small-minded people may try to judge and discriminate against you because of your ethnic origins. Always feel comfortable and confident with who you are.
  • Do not let racist attitudes exclude you from society: Racists want people to be segregated so by you withdrawing yourself from that situation you are letting them win.
  • Racism is a learned behaviour. If you are being subjected to racism in school, college in the workplace or online, report it. People, such as teachers can speak to perpetrators to help change their behaviour and attitudes. If you feel the appropriate action is still not being taken, report it to the police.
  • By reporting racism you are not only helping yourself – but you are also helping someone else from experiencing this prejudice.
  • Be open to accepting people of all races; encourage your friends and family to do the same.

6 Things you didn’t know about racism:

  • People of the same ethnicity can practice racism. For example, if a white female made a negative comment to another white female because of the fact she was raised in a Romany Gypsy community, this is racism.
  • Saying “racism is better now than it was 30 years ago” is the equivalent of saying “cancer is better now than it was 30 years ago”. Yes, we’re better at understanding and tackling it, but cancer is still cancer.
  • A racist incident can be defined as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”
  • If you witness a racist incident that causes you offence, you have the legal right to report that incident to the police, even if you don’t know the victim or the perpetrator.
  • A racially or religiously aggravated offence can carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in the UK Criminal Justice System.
  • Skin colour really is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin colour have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or intelligence. Knowing someone’s skin colour doesn’t necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.

If you are being discriminated against or bullied because of your race, speak up! You are not alone, and together we can beat racism. Get help from Ditch the Label and start a conversation in community.