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What is racial discrimination?

What is racial discrimination?

india Updated: Jan 17, 2004 15:15 IST

The Race Relations Act is concerned with people's actions and the effects of their actions, not their opinions or beliefs. Racial discrimination is not the same as racial prejudice. It is not necessary to prove that the other person intended to discriminate against you: you only have to show that you received less favourable treatment as a result of what they did.

To bring a case under the Race Relations Act, you have to show you have been discriminated against in one or more ways that are unlawful under the amended Act.

Direct racial discrimination
This occurs when you are able to show that you have been treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. To prove this, it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who, in similar circumstances, has been treated more favourably than you. Racist abuse and harassment are forms of direct discrimination.

Indirect racial discrimination
This occurs when you or people from your racial group are less likely to be able to comply with a requirement or condition, and the requirement cannot be justified on non-racial grounds. For example, a rule that employees or pupils must not wear headgear could exclude Sikh men and boys who wear a turban, or Jewish men or boys who wear a yarmulka, in accordance with practice within their racial group.

Note: The Race Regulations 2003 brought in a new definition of indirect discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic or national origin. However, the original definition of indirect discrimination applies in complaints of discrimination based on grounds of colour or nationality.
Race regulations: Indirect discrimination

This has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. It occurs if you are treated less favourably because you have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has.

(Courtesy: Commission for Racial Equality)

First Published: Jan 17, 2004 13:00 IST