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Half of BAME pharmacy workers have faced racism from a colleague

56% of pharmacy workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have suffered racial abuse from a colleague in the last six months, a C+D survey can reveal.

A C+D survey of racism in pharmacy that ran from June 18 to July 27 and featured responses from 886 pharmacy professionals, found that 56% of pharmacy workers who identified as being from a BAME background have experienced racial abuse from a colleague in the last six months.

Of the respondents who identified as white, 31% said they have experienced racial abuse from a colleague in the last six months.

Respondents who identified as being African reported a high level of racial abuse from colleagues, with 67% saying they had been subject to racism from co-workers.

Meanwhile, 61% of respondents who identified as Pakistani said they had experienced racism from a colleague over the past six months, while 49% of respondents from an Indian background said the same.

One BAME respondent even said they had “moved out of pharmacy as a result of racism”. Another said that covert racism “occurs all the time”.

“Explicit racial abuse”

Of BAME respondents, 46% said they had experienced “verbal” racial abuse from colleagues, while 15% said they had experienced “other” types of abuse from colleagues.

One example of this was “politically slanted jibes against Israel”, targeted at a Jewish pharmacy worker.

Another respondent said they had experienced colleagues not wanting to touch the same items as them, and “not wanting [them] to progress”.

Other examples given were: bullying; hostility; innuendos; exclusion; microaggression; systemic racism; being prevented from praying or made fun of when going to pray; being on the receiving end of racist jokes or the use of outdated terms; being the only person to “need a body search” and being told that “you Muslims are backwards”.

However, this is not an exhaustive list. C+D received a long list of examples of racial abuse from colleagues that pharmacy workers had experienced.

Ignored, scrutinised and “treated as intellectually inferior”

When asked about the types of racial discrimination they had faced from colleagues, the most common answer among those who had encountered some kind of discrimination was  “assumptions made about ability, character or behaviour”.

The infographic above shows the percentage of all respondents who checked each box.

Just over a third of all respondents, 35%, selected this from a list of options, with respondents able to choose as many options as they felt applicable. “Assumptions made about ability, character or behaviour” was also the most common selection among BAME respondents, with four in 10 (42%) choosing this option. Among respondents from an African background, this figure rose to 58%.

For respondents who identified as being from an Arab background, religious discrimination was the type of racism most commonly encountered from colleagues, with 55% of respondents in this group saying they had faced this. This compares to 16% of all survey respondents. Similarly, a higher proportion (41%) of Pakistani respondents had experienced religious discrimination from team members. Both groups highlighted being discriminated against for being Muslim.

The other types of racism from colleagues most frequently selected by survey respondents overall were: derogatory comments; lower levels of empathy; being ignored; being excessively scrutinised and being treated as an intellectual inferior.

Have you experienced racial abuse from a colleague while working in a pharmacy?

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