A Canadian study recently published in Science explored reactions to overt racism.

Quoting directly from the Financial Times, 'In a study, when white students witnessed a serious racist slur against a temporarily absent black confederate, the individual making the remark usually escaped censure. "One of the ways that people may stem the tide of negative emotions related to witnessing a racial slur is to reconstrue the comment as a joke or harmless remark," explained Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia, an author of the study.'

The third in line to the Monarchy has 'caught himself' on video, using the word Paki (and rag-head). This language is as much about the behaviour of the individual as it is about the behaviour of a group, an institution or society.

  • Some do not understand the concept that is institutional racism

  • Some recognise it in their midst and try and do something about it

  • Some recognise it but are indifferent and do nothing

  • Some are beyond indifference

  • For every one individual who is vigilant, there are very many who are indifferent

If you believe yourself not to be a racist, might you too ultimately be indifferent when put on the spot? Let me put you on the spot with a non-hypothetical scenario. A father in clinic states: 'No offence dear, but I do not want Pakis to look after my daughter.' What are you going to do? This is not a question just for the clinician, but one that touches every employee in the NHS - When you next attend your mandatory equality and diversity training session, pose that scenario and question and I guarantee a more lasting and positive outcome than all the PowerPoint slides detailing all the Trust policies and laws of the land.

If you are indifferent or have a strong view, anonymous or not, let me have your answers.

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