Racism can happen anywhere. It can happen at school, at work, or at home; it can happen online or outside; it can even happen within families and relationships. Sometimes racist abuse is obvious - verbal abuse about the way someone looks, stereotypical judgements about how someone might behave, or physical violence and bullying, for example. Sometimes racism is part of the structures and systems that we live in and can be more ‘subtle’ and difficult for other people to notice. This is still not acceptable, however.
Our experiences of being treated differently from others because of our skin colour, race or ethnicity can mean that we live with constant fear or anxiety. If you find that you are constantly making decisions to protect yourself from others, this can affect how you feel about your own identity and your self-esteem. Examples of these kinds of behaviours might include:
speaking in a language other than your own, so people do not know where you come from
worrying about wearing the clothes you want to wear
hiding parts of your identity, like your religion or culture
worrying about sharing your worldview and taking part in topical discussions.
It is important to remember that you deserve to feel great about who you are and to live without fear or prejudice. If racism is affecting your mental health, there are steps you can take to get the help and support - your feelings are valid and you do not have to go through it alone.