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Racism is defined by the Racism. It Stops With Me campaign in the following way:-

Racism can take many forms, such as jokes or comments that cause offence or hurt, sometimes unintentionally; name-calling or verbal abuse; harassment or intimidation, or commentary in the media or online that inflames hostility towards certain groups.

At its most serious, racism can result in acts of physical abuse and violence.

Racism can directly or indirectly exclude people from accessing services or participating in employment, education, sport and social activities (the STAR Project adds health care to this).1

It can also occur at a systemic or institutional level through policies, conditions or practices that disadvantage certain groups.

The following way of thinking about racism is useful to those who are trying to ‘get their head’ around racism in health care. It comes from Paradies, Harris and Anderson, p. 6).

Racism can occur at three conceptual levels that are interrelated and frequently overlap in practice (Berman & Paradies, under review).

  • Internalised racism: Acceptance of attitudes, beliefs or ideologies by members of stigmatised ethnic/ racial groups about the inferiority of one’s own ethnic/racial group (e.g. an Indigenous person believing that Indigenous people are naturally less intelligent than non-Indigenous people).
  • Interpersonal racism: Interactions between people that maintain and reproduce avoidable and unfair inequalities across ethnic/racial groups (e.g. experiencing racial abuse).
  • Systemic racism: Requirements, conditions, practices, policies or processes that maintain and reproduce avoidable and unfair inequalities across ethnic/racial groups (e.g. Indigenous people experiencing inequitable outcomes in the criminal justice system). This type of racism is also referred to as institutional racism.