How should I deal with a racially related incident?BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5499 (Published 21 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5499
All rapid responses
I appreciate how this article suggests ways to raise concerns about racism.<1> However, it does not address what happens if offenders deny accusation of being racists. The offenders can counter-accuse you for playing the race card, and even threaten to sue you for defamation.
Moreover, racist remarks could come from other ethnic minorities. They can claim they are not racists simply because they are also non-white. Some offenders state they are in relationships with ethnic minorities, so they cannot be racists. Some may argue that all races have been discriminated at certain levels and you should learn to be resilient. You could be questioned on why you stay in this country if you cannot tolerate the culture here.
Even if you stop people making racist remarks in public, you cannot control what they think or talk in private. For example, a job can be offered to a white person rather than an equally qualified ethnic minority candidate.<2> Interviewers and recruiters do not have to explicitly state the candidate's skin colour to be their reason. How would one bring proof?
Worst of all, whistleblowers can be shamed for being oversensitive, when bystanders keep their heads down. You could be mocked for being the only person ever to raise concerns about racism in your setting.
One major barrier to equality is that racism tends to affect only a minority of people, and not everyone cares about tackling it. The number of whistleblowers is even less. We must protect these whistleblowers, who require tremendous courage to speak up against unfairness. It is terrible how whistleblowers could dig themselves into a hole for doing justice for the minority.
1. Rimmer A. How should I deal with a racially related incident? BMJ. 2017;359:j5499.
2. Rimmer A. White NHS staff are more likely to secure jobs. BMJ. 2017;359:j5841.
Competing interests: Being an ethnic minority