Everyday racism reinforces negative stereotypes or prejudices about people based on their race, colour or ethnicity.
It’s often expressed through off-hand jokes or comments. For example, if someone makes a joke that pokes fun at a particular race, or makes an assumption about a person – for instance, that they must like a certain type of food because of their race.
Everyday racism does not always target a specific person. It’s often not even intended to cause any offence or harm. But the lack of intent doesn’t excuse it, because racism is about the impact it has on the people affected.
Everyday racism can have serious impacts on people, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It can even have physical impacts, like high blood pressure. It can fuel further prejudice and discrimination, and it can lead others to form unfavourable impressions of those who make offensive jokes or comments.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t make jokes – having a sense of humour is important! But we are all accountable for the things we say or do, and this means we must exercise judgment, show empathy, and think first about the impact our words may have.