How to be an Upstander against racist cyberbullying behaviour
Racist bullying behaviour is when someone verbally, physically or indirectly targets another person based on the colour of their skin, their culture, ethnicity, nationally or race.
Experiencing racist bullying behaviour can be extremely distressing and it can have a hugely negative impact. It is also discrimination, is against the law under the Equality Act 2010 and is classed as a ‘hate crime’.
Discrimination - when someone treats you unfairly or wrongly simply because of who you are.
‘Hate crime’ - a crime motivated by prejudice.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
These are called ‘protected characteristics’.
Racist bullying behaviour can often be exhibited covertly through microaggressions.
Microaggressions - brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural or environmental slights or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostility or negativity towards marginalised groups.
It is important to remember that the feelings of the person who experiences racist bullying behaviour are valid and that it can be particularly difficult for them to talk about their experiences of microaggressions.
Some examples of racist bullying behaviour are:
Violence towards someone because of their race, such as hitting, kicking or pushing.
Online derogatory memes/images which target a marginalised group based on their race.
Excluding someone or starting a rumour which targets someone based on their race.
It’s important to remember that bullying behaviour is never the fault of the person experiencing it and they should never have to change or hide things about themselves.
If you are see racist bullying behaviour online, here are some things you can do:
- Check in_
Message the person who is experiencing the bullying behaviour and ask them if they are ok. It’s a simple question but it shows that you care and are there to listen to how they are feeling.
- Encourage the person to tell someone_
As with any type of bullying behaviour, it is important that they don’t suffer in silence and that they tell someone about it straight away. It may seem hard to do but make sure they tell a trusted adult, such as a parent or teacher, and they will help them to decide what to do.
- Report the user/post_
Cyberbullying behaviour is never acceptable and you should report the content (pictures, text, group etc.) to the social media site. All social apps/platforms have report abuse buttons. Reporting is usually anonymous so the person will not know that you have reported the user/post.
- Encourage the person to block the user_
Most social media sites will give you the option to block and report the user who is exhibiting bullying behaviour. When you block someone, they will no longer be able to contact you or see any of your content.
- Save the evidence_
It is important that you and the person experiencing bullying behaviour save the evidence so you can then show it to the relevant people. They can screenshot the messages or posts before blocking the user.
Read this BBC Bitesize Article from The Diana Award’s Deputy CEO, Alex Holmes.
The Diana Award Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are a young person in crisis, you can text DA to 85258. Trained volunteers will listen to how you're feeling and help you think the next step towards feeling better.