Race equality

We are a University of Celebrating You and we recognise our responsibility towards being an anti-racist institution.

Black Lives Matter

Like you, we've been shocked and horrified by the killing of George Floyd in the US and the responses to protests against racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

We understand that these dreadful events will be incredibly challenging for our black students and staff, as well as those from other ethnic minority backgrounds, especially at a time when the Covid-19 outbreak is disproportionately affecting the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

As a University, we are committed to challenging the impact of racism by providing an environment that is safe and encourages open, anti-racist dialogue. We know that we need to match our statements with commitment in order for them to be meaningful and have a responsibility to challenge discrimination throughout all of our environments and channels.

Respect for one another underpins the values of the University and we've been working hard to address the huge barriers to education that students from BAME communities face through visible awareness raising events and decolonising the curriculum. However, we know we have more to do.

In 2019, 24% of students in the UK from a minority ethnic background said they had experienced racial harassment in a university setting. As a University, we do not tolerate racism or harassment in any way, shape or form.

We do not accept racism either consciously or unconsciously.

Our inclusive values as a university and within our Union of Students means that we actively stand against racism. We celebrate individuality and freedom of expression, embracing diversity of our student community.

Moving forward, we will continue to work together to make a difference and make sure that Black Lives Matter and the voices of all our BAME staff and students will continue to matter.

Celebrating Windrush 75

On 22 June 1948, the Empire Windrush arrived in the UK bringing people from across the Caribbean. They were among the first of many invited to Britain to help the country rebuild after the Second World War. They settled in cities such as Derby, taking up positions across a wide range of sectors.

Read more about Windrush 75Read more about Windrush 75

Being a White Ally

If you're not sure where to start, or are looking to further educate yourself, we've provided some tips to become a better white ally.


Listen to what Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people are saying. BAME people have a voice, we do not need to give them a voice, they already have one. We need to learn to listen more and let others lead the conversation.

Ask your BAME friends, family and colleagues what you can do to support them.

Remember that many of your BAME friends, family and colleagues will be experiencing a lot of pain and exhaustion from all the issues raised. This is not something new, black people have lived with entrenched racism their whole lives, so ensure the conversation is on them and their needs, rather than your need to help.

Amplify the voices of BAME people on social media

If you are on social media, follow the accounts of BAME activists. Don’t just ‘like’ and re-post or re-tweet messages, talk about action and what you are doing.

If you come across images or videos of violence against BAME people, avoid sharing these as they are traumatising for many and contribute to the further dehumanisation of BAME people.

On social media, share threads/posts with donation links, resources and ways to support.

Acknowledge your privilege

Understand that you have white privilege and think about how you can use this privilege to make change and educate others in your community.

This may not be an easy topic, but start by educating yourself and reading.

Use your privilege

As a white person you have a platform and a voice that will be listened to more frequently than the voices of BAME people. If you work in education, use the platform you have as an educator to amplify the voices of BAME people. If you are a student, use your visibility to create space and confidence for BAME people in conversations and debates.

Use the platform you have to support BAME community projects, businesses and youth projects.

Become an active Ally

The University of Derby has a Role Models and Allies programme for staff and for students, join it and become a visible ally for BAME communities.

Learn about white British history

Find out about the areas of history that were ‘white washed’ over in your school curriculum. There is a direct correlation between our colonial past and racist present; commit to learning more.

Sit and reflect on feeling uncomfortable

The levels of racism that are ingrained into our language, our lives, our culture, our politics and organisational structures will not sit well or comfortably with you. You may never have realised that you perpetuate racism simply by not acknowledging it. Talk to other allies about it, do not focus on how it makes you feel for too long, focus on the action you can take to make a difference. Every change matters.

Speak up and challenge racism

If you hear people make racist comments, do not be a bystander, call them out. It's important to be proactively anti-racist.

Keep the conversation going with other white people

If you have friends or family who take a different stance on these issues, now is the time to have a hard conversation with them and ask them to rethink their views.

Now is also the time to have conversations with other like-minded allies. Talk about how you can do better and discuss what you can do to help and pool your efforts.

Take action and donate

You may not be able to attend a protest due to COVID-19, but you can do other things. For example, contact your MP to ask them about what they are doing to combat racism.

Aside from donating to support the Black Lives Matter cause in the US, you can also make donations to causes closer to home. Find and support local BAME-owned businesses and charities and find out how you can support them.

Practise social distancing

The UK Government has published their 'Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19' report. This shows that BAME people are at higher risk of death from COVID-19. The death rates of black men are 3.9 higher than that of white men, and the death rates of black women 3.3 times higher than that of white women.

Practising social distancing is extremely important to save all lives, but especially black lives.

Educate yourself

Do your own research and do not ask or expect BAME people to educate you. It is YOUR responsibility to find out more about personal, cultural and structural racism, start to read and find out more.

Read books by BAME authors. Buy them from independent bookshops or borrow or request them from the Library.


  • A Good Time for the Truth: Sun Yung Shin
  • Me and White Supremacy: Layla F. Saad
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni-Eddo Lodge
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
  • The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
  • How to Argue with a Racist by Adam Rutherford
  • Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Catherine John-Baptiste smiling

BAME role model
Catherine John-Baptiste, College of Health and Social Care and Chair of the Race Equality Network

"My ambition for the Race Equality Network is for it to be a force for positive change; championing the disparity within both the University and its surrounding landscape."

Protesters during the Black Lives Matter movement

A message from Samira Mensah, your VP Welfare

One of your Union of Students' Vice Presidents gives her thoughts on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Read Samira's messageRead Samira's message
A group of peaceful protesters

Taking meaningful action

Senior Journalism Lecturer Sarah Chapman discusses ways she has identified to help stop racism as a white woman.

Read Sarah's blogRead Sarah's blog