Home > Questionnaires > Questionnaire: Can You Recognise Racism?

Questionnaire: Can You Recognise Racism?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
Racism Race Ethnicity Ethnic Background

Racism, or the belief that one race is inherently better or more worthwhile than others, still exists though often not in obvious forms. In fact, some forms of racism can be so subtle that they leave witnesses wondering if what they saw was truly racism at all. But just because racism can be subtle doesn't mean it's excusable.

Racism is illegal under the Race Relations Act of 1976 and, while recognising racism can be difficult in some situations, when it is observed it can be challenged and eradicated.

To help you determine if you can identify racist incidents we have put together the questionnaire below. Simply answer "yes" or "no" to each question and then total your answers to determine if you can recognise racism.


1. Making fun of someone's cultural background or physical appearance can be a form of racism.
2. Insisting that people of certain ethnic backgrounds "come from" or should "go back to" another country can be a form of racism.
3. Pushing someone out of group or work activities due to their race or ethnicity can be a form of racism.
4. Using derogatory terms for people of a certain race or ethnic background can be a form of racism.
5. Perpetuating stereotypes that individuals of a certain race "should" be smarter than, or less smart than, others can be a form of racism.
6. Not hiring, or not promoting, someone of a certain race or ethnic background can be a form of racism.
7. Giving a warning to, or dismissing someone for, not speaking English can be a form of racism.
8. Making someone redundant or dismissing them because of his or her race or ethnic background can be a form of racism.
9. Imitating someone's accent or teasing someone about his or her name can be a form of racism.
10. Punishing people differently for breaking rules based on their race or ethnicity can be a form of racism.
11. Expecting someone to do more work or less work based on his or her race or ethnicity can be a form of racism.
12. Making someone the butt of jokes or teasing because of his or her race or ethnicity can be a form of racism.

Can You Recognise Racism?

If you answered "no" to any of the questions above then you can not recognise racism in all of its forms. Each of the examples used above showcases a type of racism that can be insidious and flourish when it is not challenged. Some of the examples are more personal, such as would occur between individuals, while others highlight institutional racism or racism that is systematic within an organisation.

The first step to challenging racism is to recognise it when it does occur. If it is safe, challenge the individual on his or her behaviour. If you feel it is not safe to address the situation directly then make notes of what occurred, who was involved and who witnessed it, and bring it to the attention of a supervisor or union representative. If these events become a pattern and/or occur repeatedly then make sure the supervisor or union representative knows this. Citizens Advice and/or the Equality and Human Rights Commission can also offer further information and advice.

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