Terminology and acronyms typically used in Racial Justice work.

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The National Union of Students’ Black Students’ Campaign uses the term ‘Black’ to denote those of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean heritage. This is often known as ‘politically Black.’ However, in the context of Goldsmiths Racial Justice, the term Black is used to denote people of African and/or Caribbean heritage.


(Based Merriam-Webster Definition)

Dark makeup worn (historically by a white performer in a minstrel show) in a racist caricature of the appearance and character of a black person.

Black and minority ethnic (BME)

This is a term typically used throughout the university sector to describe Black and Brown people however this term has many limitations, including, but not limited to its incorrect amalgamation off a vastly diverse range of people. It also implies racial homogeneity of all racially minoritised people, which can be very misleading as there are many cultural, ethnic and experiential differences among the ‘BME’ category.

However, despite these limitations, where necessary certain institutional texts and reports will use the term for consistency and avoidance of ambiguity when discussing race in a broader sector context.


(Based on Merriam-Webster Definition)

The switching from the linguistic system of one language or dialect to that of another. For example, In the context of race this could be emulating received pronunciation in order to combat stereotypes regarding racialised perceptions of intelligence. In practice this could be matching the linguistic system of the person with whom you are conversing with as to not stand-out.

Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action (GARA)

An organisation of Goldsmiths College students who occupied Deptford Town Hall from Tuesday 12 March, until Friday 26 July as direct action against institutional racism.


(All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims)

Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness

Racial Microaggressions

(Sue et al. definition 2007)

Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of colour. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with racial/ethnic minorities.

National Union of Students (NUS)

NUS is an association of Students’ Unions across the United Kingdom, with around 600 Students’ Unions affiliated to NUS, ranging from further education colleges to universities. Representing students on a national scale. 

Office for Students (OfS)

The independent regulator of higher education in England.


To alienate, separate oneself from, or to exclude a person or group of people based on perceived or highlighted differences.

Racial Battle Fatigue

(Allen and Danley 2007)

The result of constant physiological, psychological, cultural and emotional coping with racial microaggressions in… racially hostile and unsupportive environments.

Students Unions (SU’s)

This refers to the democratic organisation responsible for providing representation on student affairs within higher education.

Universities UK (UUK)

UUK is a collective of 136 universities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that is led by their member institutions with whom they act on behalf of.


The lens through which white people may perceive the world around them, as shaped by their white privilege and experiences.

White Privilege

Refers to the systemic privileges that are exclusively afforded to white people as a result of their skin colour, rooted in colonialism, racial-power dynamics and inequality.

White Saviourism

(Based on The Metro Definition)

This refers to white people who feel compelled to help Black and ethnic minority people, but within a context that can be perceived as self-serving. This is rooted in racial superiority, where white people, whether explicitly or implicitly, believe that they possess the skills to ‘save’ BME people as they cannot do it themselves.