©2019 The Anti-Racist Educator.

Racist

“Racist” tends to be used to describe someone with bad intentions who commits an overt act of racial prejudice (such as a racial slur or an act of violence). Such a definition is limiting, as it places too much emphasis on intentions and undermines the impact. Racism can occur unintentionally and it is not confined to an individual’s actions.

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Regardless of intentions, a person, an institution, a law, a society and a system can be racist when their actions, procedures or existence contributes to the disadvantage of a group of people, and the privilege of another group, based on race. The notion of a "collective failure" rather than an intentional act is emphasised in the definition of institutional racism provided by the Macpherson report following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry in Britain.