What to do if you are experiencing 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 (when someone treats you unfairly or wrongly simply because of who you are), is against the law under the Equality Act 2010 and is classed as a ‘hate crime’ (a crime motivated by prejudice).
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 experiencing racist bullying behaviour online, remember that you are not alone and that there are people around you who can support you.
Here are some things you can do:
- Tell someone_
As with any type of bullying behaviour, it is important that you don’t suffer in silence and you tell someone about it straight away. It may seem hard do but make sure you tell a trusted adult, such as a parent or teacher, and they will help you 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 someone you trust and 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.
- 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 save the evidence so you can then show it to the relevant people.
- Don’t reply or answer back_
It may be very tempting to reply but it is always best not to retaliate. Sometimes, the other person is looking to get a reaction out of you and answering back can just make it worse.
- Update your Privacy Settings_
These allow you to choose the information you share with people, for example you can set your profile or data to private or only allow certain people to contact you and view particular information.
- If you are ever in immediate danger_
Or if you or your teacher/parent/carer feels that the situation is serious – you should call the police.
- Stay positive_
_Follow the steps above and talk to people inside and outside of school who you trust. These people care for you and will work with you to stop the cyberbullying. Stay positive, you are not alone and things will get better.
If you aren’t able to speak to a trusted adult about what has been happening, there are lots of organisations who can offer support.
You can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 anytime of day or night to speak with someone about how you’re feeling.
You can also contact The Diana Award Crisis Messenger which 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.
Read this BBC Bitesize Article from The Diana Award’s Deputy CEO, Alex Holmes.