The RCA is committed to ensuring that no one is discriminated against or harassed on the basis of their race, colour, and nationality, ethnic or national origins as defined in the Equality Act 2010.
The Equality Act defines that race can mean your colour, or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality. For example, you may have Chinese national origins and be living in Britain with a British passport.
Race also covers ethnic and racial groups. This means a group of people who all share the same protected characteristic of ethnicity or race.
A racial group can be made up of two or more distinct racial groups, for example, black Britons, British Asians, British Sikhs, British Jews, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers.
However, it is important to recognise the difference between xenophobia and harassment. Xenophobia is “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is culturally different or ‘foreign’.” Racism has a slightly broader range of meanings, including “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race,” and “a political or social system founded on racism.”
It is possible for a person's behaviour to be both racist and xenophobic. If you experience behaviour that you consider racist or xenophobic, please use Report + Support to report it.
Racism can be overt – using words and actions that are explicitly unacceptable; membership of racist groups, being specifically targeted because of the colour of skin (i.e. being spat at and called names), racist graffiti etc., however, most racism is covert - subtle and less obvious. Microaggression is an example of this (see the section below). Covert racism also includes unconscious bias, gaslighting, stereotyping, racial profiling of applicants, being ignored.
Racism is illegal in ALL its forms.
Systemic and institutional racism functions through institutional structures and social systems. Structural racism is legitimated by historical contexts such as slavery and colonisation. Educational institutions and systems of education (including higher education institutions) are a product of systemic racism. Racism manifests itself in every part of our society. Racism influences who holds the majority of the wealth, who is employed in certain jobs, who succeeds at all levels of education (including at the Royal College of Art), what our criminal justice system looks like, who is in overcrowded housing, who gets pulled over by the police and security guards, and who suffers from health inequalities.
Racism intersects with other forms of social inequality (such as oppression due to gender, class, caste, faith, sexuality, disability, age). Racism never functions independently of other factors of oppression.
Because we are all born and socialised in a racist world, we all need to examine how we may have internalised racist thinking and actions. This takes sustained effort, the constructive challenge of ourselves and each other, taking responsibility on an individual, collective and institutional level to increase awareness of how racism works and how to become anti-racist.
Specialist external support services are available if you have or you witness someone, having suffered harassment in any form:
Citizens Advice provides some information on bullying and harassment.
All racism is unacceptable, and all racism needs to be reported using Report & Support, so, action can be taken and we can build a safe and pleasurable creative environment for all, free from discrimination based on someone’s race.