Anti-racist employment strategy - A Fairer Scotland for All

The strategy is a call for action and a guide to address the issues and disadvantage experienced by people from racialised minorities in the labour market in Scotland. It is a key component in achieving our ambition to become a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025.

Section 6: Glossary and Abbreviations

The glossary compiled for key terms that are used in the strategy have been drawn from published sources and external sources with specific expertise. This has been provided as a reference of the terms that are used in this document, accompanying appendices and sources that are referenced.


One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.

"The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist'. It is 'anti-racist'. What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist'.[44]

"Anti-racism is a process of actively identifying and opposing racism. The goal of anti-racism is to challenge racism and actively change the policies, behaviours, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions. Anti-racism is rooted in action"

Kendra Cherry


Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic


Black and Minority Ethnic


Caste is defined in the Explanatory Notes of the Equality Act 2010 as a "hereditary, endogamous (marrying within the group) community associated with a traditional occupation and ranked accordingly on a perceived scale of ritual purity. It is generally (but not exclusively) associated with South Asia, particularly India, and its diaspora."[45]

This form of social stratification is found across Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and other religious communities, and is referred to in some communities as a 'jati' or 'biradari', the latter literally translating as 'brotherhood'. Communities considered to be of low caste status are known as Dalit. In Scotland, caste stratification can be observed in how South Asian communities and places of worship are organised, as well as through marriage practices, including prevalence in South Asian matrimonial services and dating apps. Caste pride, predominantly driven by people with caste privilege, is also highly present in popular culture in the South Asian diaspora.

(Provided by Sikh Sanjog)

Caste discrimination

Discrimination based on one's caste and is manifested similarly to discrimination based on belonging to a racialised minority; it is based on prejudiced views and is targeted at those considered belonging to a lower or inferior caste.

Direct discrimination

When you are treated worse than another person or other people because:

  • you have a protected characteristic
  • someone thinks you have that protected characteristic (known as discrimination by perception)
  • you are connected to someone with that protected characteristic (known as discrimination by association).[46]


A large group of people with a shared culture, language, history, set of traditions, etc., or the fact of belonging to one of these groups.[47]

Ethnicity pay gap

A statistical measure for the difference between the median hourly earnings of the white workforce and the minority ethnic workforce as a proportion of the median hourly earnings of the white workforce.[48]


Equity refers to the manner in which individuals are treated that is just and fair. Equality is defined as the state where everybody will be on the same level playing field. Equity is a process or procedure, whereas equality is the end result. Equity is person-centred; it is not about treating everybody the same, but fairly, so that everyone can achieve the same outcomes. Inequities cause inequality and are avoidable.

Gender pay gap

A statistical measure for the difference between the median hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of the median hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men.[49]

Indirect discrimination

Being treated in what is seen as neutral but which disadvantages someone with a protected characteristic.[50]

Individual racism

Individual racism refers to an individual's racist assumptions, beliefs, or behaviours, and is "a form of racial discrimination that stems from conscious and unconscious, personal prejudice."[51]

Institutional racism

Discrimination or unequal treatment on the basis of membership of a particular ethnic group (typically one that is a minority or marginalized), arising from systems, structures, or expectations that have become established within an institution or organization.[52]

In relation to this strategy we are looking at institutional racism as the policies and processes that can disadvantage, discourage, and create obstacles that inhibit racialised minority jobseekers and employees.


A term used to describe how ethnicity, class, gender, and other characteristics intersect with one another and overlap.


The Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia refers to the All-Party Parliamentary Group's definition of Islamophobia -

"Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness" (All-Party Parliamentary Group, 2017: 11)


Minority Ethnic


A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.[53]

Minority ethnic employment rate gap

A statistical measure for the difference between the employment rate of minority ethnic people and white people aged 16 to 64 years. It is calculated as the white employment rate minus minority ethnic employment rate.[54]


To induce someone to convert to one's faith; to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause; to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause.[55]

In the context of this strategy, the term is used for where it is being complained about i.e. the act of attempting to or trying to convert/recruit.

Protected characteristics

The Equality Act 2010[56] specifies nine characteristics that are protected under that Act, including against discrimination. These are known as the "protected characteristics" and they are as follows: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.


One of the main groups to which people are often considered to belong, based on physical characteristics that they are perceived to share such as skin colour, eye shape, etc.

The idea that people can be divided into different groups based on physical characteristics that they are perceived to share such as skin colour, eye shape, etc., or the dividing of people in this way

A group of people who share the same language, history, characteristics, etc.[57]

Race discrimination

Being treated differently because of your race either directly or indirectly, in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act 2010 protections against discrimination.[58]

Racial inequality

Racial inequality is a disparity in opportunity and treatment that occurs as a result of someone's race.[59]


A process of assigning race to a group. It involves categorising, marginalising or regarding according to race.[60]

Racialised minority

A term used to reflect the process of placing people in set categories and who subsequently experience negative effects from being in a certain category because of the way different groups are assigned different identities as decided by society.[61]


Treating someone unfairly because of their race, colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origins.[62]

Religious discrimination

This is when you are treated differently because of your religion or belief, or lack of religion or belief, in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act 2010 protections against discrimination.[63]

Structural inequality

Structural inequality refers to a system where prevailing social institutions offer an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different segments of the population in a specific society.[64]

Structural racism

Structural racism shapes and affects the lives, wellbeing and life chances of people of colour. It normalises historical, cultural and institutional practices that benefit white people and disadvantage people of colour. Structural racism refers to wider political and social disadvantages within society which shapes and affects the life chances of people of colour.[65]

Unconscious bias

Unconscious (or implicit) biases, unlike conscious biases, are the views and opinions that we are unaware of; they are automatically activated and frequently operate outside conscious awareness and affect our everyday behaviour and decision making. Our unconscious biases are influenced by our background, culture, context and personal experiences.[66]



Back to top