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4 Dimensions of Racism

Racial discrimination has and is still an on-going issue within the UK. The suggestion of racism occurring makes a lot of white people uncomfortable as there is an ingrained, institutional and insidious system where violence takes a back seat to covert, subtle discriminatory actions in the form racism.

In the UK racism from British police brutality is not a hot a topic like that of America which comes up time and time again due to the devasting brutal effects it leaves on the black american society. But black people in the UK are still fighting a slient racial fight.

The recent Euro cup final with England vs Italy brought to light the current state of racism that still resides in the UK and below we thought we would make you aware of how to spot racism within its 4 dimensions.

Institutional and Structural Racism

Both these terms were defined initially by political activists Stokely Carmichael and Charles Vernon Hamilton in 1967, the concept of institutional racism came into the public sphere in 1999 through the Macpherson Inquiry into the racist murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence.Institutional and structural racism work hand in glove.


Institutional racism is defined as: “processes, attitudes and behaviour(s) which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people”. Policies and practices tare set that reinforce racist standards within a workspace or organisation, also in institutions of education, criminal justice and health.

Examples of institutional racism can include: actions (or inaction) within organisations such as the Home Office and the Windrush Scandal; a school’s hair policy; institutional processes such as stop and search, which discriminate against certain groups.


Structural racism is racial bias among institutions and across society. This involves the cumulative and compounding effects of an array of societal factors, including the history, culture, ideology and interactions of institutions and policies that systematically privilege white people and disadvantage people of color.

Structural racism refers to the wider political and social disadvantages within society, such as higher rates of poverty for Black and Pakistani groups or high rates of death from health related issues such as COVID-19.

Structural racism shapes and affects the lives, wellbeing and life chances of black people. It normalises historical, cultural and institutional practices that benefit white people and disadvantage black people.


Internalised racism is a direct result of a racial classification system, which is a form of internalised oppression, defined by sociologist Karen D. Pyke as the "internalisation of racial oppression by the racially subordinated."

Internalised racism involves both "conscious and unconscious acceptance of a racial hierarchy in which whites people are consistently ranked above black people. These definitions encompass a wide range of instances, including, but not limited to, belief in negative racial stereotypes, adaptations to white cultural standards, and thinking that supports the status quo (i.e. denying that racism exists)

Forms of Internalised Racism

  • Internalised inferiority

  • Feelings of shame and embarrassment

  • Physical characteristics, within-group discrimination,

  • Minimisation or acceptance of oppression

Effects of internalised racism

  • Self-image/beauty standards – This come from the notion that lighter skin is associated with desirable characteristics, darker skinned people purchase such products in order to become lighter skinned.

  • Stereotype threat– A group of stigmatised minorities conforming to negative stereotypes through internalisation of their validity

  • Intra/Interracial discrimination- Distancing oneself from members within one's own race that have a closer proximity to negative stereotypes. Defensive othering includes the use of the derogatory term "FOB" (short for "Fresh Off the Boat)

  • In education- Racial disparities projected onto minority students can lead to a decline in their academic performance that can in turn affect students throughout their education.


Interpersonal racism (personally mediated) occurs between individuals. This is the bias that occurs when individuals interact with others and their personal racial beliefs affect their public interactions.

In the UK we are still fighting a fundamental system of racism, but this is not to say every white person is racist. The recent events from the racial abuse that England penalty takers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received showed an evident support from white fans, newspapers and celebrities all coming together to uphold these young kings, which to us means change is coming! Lets stay strong and optimistic it will be better for black people one day.

If you or someone you know has experienced racial discrimination or abuse and would like to talk to someone, please contact us at and a member of our team will be happy to speak with you or point you in the right direction to speak with a professional.

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