Equality and diversity
How to be an anti-racist
Working towards our goal of becoming an anti-racist university
At York St John there is no place for racism. We are working to raise the importance and profile of race equality and to tackle racial inequalities.
To actively challenge racism and prejudice, we want to be anti-racist in our approach.
This page is for anyone to read, and for white people to learn. We encourage you to use your privilege and platform to stand up for change and to support Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues, students and friends.
The resources on this page are to inform, help and advocate anti-racism actions.
What York St John University is doing to eradicate racism
We joined the Race Equality Charter (REC) in August 2020. This Charter gives universities a framework to remove institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.
We've also started an important movement towards achieving equality by submitting for a Race Equality Charter bronze award. This work is not about achieving the Charter in a tick box way - it is about us working together as a university community and taking active steps to make real change.
In preparation for the Race Equality Charter award submission, we established a self-assessment team (SAT) which includes both students and staff who are actively examining data and evidence about our diversity, the degree awards and graduate outcomes of students and the progression and retention of staff.
You can read more on our Towards Race Equality page.
Route to report racism
We take incidences of racism extremely seriously. All staff, students and visitors can report an incident through our All About Respect portal. This can be done anonymously, or with contact details.
We want our students to be supported throughout their university journey. Monetary awards and a package of support is available for students who identify as being in the BAME population. Find out more on the Funding opportunities page.
Dedicated support for BAME students
Our BAME students are represented and can talk to a dedicated BAME contact. Working with our Students' Union, it is important we make sure the voices of the students are heard. See our Supporting our diverse community page.
Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter Movement was set up in July 2016 following the racist police killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in the US.
The killing of George Floyd in the USA triggered global outrage about police bruality and racism. Read our initial statement in response to this and our statement remembering the anniversary of his death.
On the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, the York St John community is invited to reflect on how the death of George Floyd affected them by posting anonymous reflections on our Padlet board.
Staff and students BAME network
The anti-racist and decolonial group is a space for staff and students to engage in discussion and share resources.
What you can do
One of the main ways to start anti-racism actions is to educate yourself.
Understand important terms
Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME): Where possible the phrase BAME should never replace the immense diversity and distinct ethnic identities of each individual. BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and is a term used frequently in Britain as an umbrella term for non-white ethnic minority communities. Other countries may also use POC which stands for People of Colour or BIPOC, which stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. Ethnic minority communities in the UK can also include some international students who, along with British ethnic minorities, are part of the 'global majority'.
White privilege: A term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. Dr Robin DiAngelo (2018) [YouTube] Deconstructing White Privilege. [20m1s]
Microaggression: The brief, everyday interactions that send denigrating messages to [people of colour] because they belong to a racially minoritised group. Compared to more overt forms of racism, racial micro-aggressions are subtle and insidious, often leaving the victim confused, distressed and frustrated and the perpetrator oblivious of the offense they have caused. Nicola Rollock (2012) The invisibility of race: intersectional reflections on the liminal space of alterity, Race Ethnicity and Education, 15:1, 65-84
Explore the many resources on anti-racism at the bottom of this page, including reading lists and videos.
Take action when you witness racism
Knowing how best to intervene, and how to do so safely, is an important skill.
The 4 Ds of bystander intervention are a good place to start:
- Direct action - directly intervening. For example, asking the perpetrator to stop, calling out a microaggression and challenging micro-inequities.
- Distraction - indirectly intervening. For example, deescalating by interrupting.
- Delegation - for example, refer to a line manager, senior manager, HR, inclusion lead and so on.
- Delay - if you cannot intervene in the moment (maybe you feel it will make it worse, or direct more attention to the Black colleague who is on the receiving end of the behaviour) wait and find a time to check in with them or speak to the perpetrator at a later time.
You can also explore this practical guide for calling out racism when you hear it: What did you just say?
The role of universities
What is institutional racism?
The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination. Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, 6.34 (February 1999)
In 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that higher education institutions are failing to support BAME students and staff who experience racial harassment and vastly underestimate the scale of racial abuse on campus.
EHRC (2019) [News] Universities oblivious to scale of racial abuse on campus. 23 October. With links to information and publications from their enquiry 'Tackling Racial Harassment. Universities Challenged'.