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There's a big difference between being not-racist and being anti-racist. I know it doesn't seem like it. I know that both of these things seem equally good, but they're not.  John Amaechi, Psychologist,  author and former NBA basketball player

Anti-racism is the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes that promote racial equity in society.

Racism causes harm in multiple ways, to lives and mental health and wellbeing, to our communities and institutions, and to our society.

Image showing one in twenty students leaving studies due to racial harassment and three in twenty staff leaving their job due to racial harassment.  Data source:  Equality & Human Rights Universities Challenged report.

Image relates to UK University staff and students. Source: Tackling racial harassment: Universities challenged Executive Summary (equalityhumanrights.com).

 

Anti-racism has to be prioritised in all we do to promote equity and inclusion, and increase diversity.  The journey to being anti-racist can be an uncomfortable, or even difficult one, as we acknowledge our own biases, privileges, and beliefs, alongside those of our social groups, family, and organisations, and navigate ways to address them. 

Image showing % of UK professors by gender and race in 2020 - 65% white male, 25% white female, 8% BME male, 2% BME female.  There were 35 Black female professors and 14,900 White male professors.  Data from Advance-HE.

The key is to take personal action as this will enable you to grow to be actively anti-racist, and support the diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

  • Educate yourself
  • Be open to alternative views and experiences
  • Put yourself in the shoes of those that are underrepresented
  • Listen to those who look and sound different to you
  • Involve people of colour in decision-making
  • Advocate for those from minoritised groups
  • Understand your privilege

View a short video that describes what it means to be not-racist versus anti-racist

Image of an Anti-Racism poster created by the Anti-Racism Working Group containing prompts to support becoming anti-racist, from the fear zone, through the learning zone to the growth zone.

MORE ABOUT ANTI-RACISM AT OXFORD

Tackling Race Bias at Work - Mandatory online course taking a bold look at the nature of racism and its influence in the workplace.

University of Oxford Race Equality Task Force - Formed in November 2020 to address racial inequality at Oxford.

EDI Resources - Race - A list of University of Oxford and external resources for self-led learning and addressing our biases.