Former Blackpool and England winger Trevor Sinclair has urged players who are racially abused during games to stay on the pitch and use their anger as motivation to play harder.
Sinclair, whose other clubs included Manchester City and West Ham, believes players should also report any abuse to the match officials and relevant authorities, and then make sure that proper action is taken against the racists.
Speaking to Press Association Sport at the awards ceremony for a schools competition run by football's anti-discrimination education charity Show Racism the Red Card, Sinclair said he always been aware of racism in the game and British society in general.
"I remember playing in the 1980s and the abuse could be horrific - it was difficult to deal with but in those days you were told to just 'man up and get on with it' and we did," he said.
"I don't think players should walk off the pitch if they are abused because that's what the racists want.
"My advice would be to through the protocol. I'd get on with the game but I'd mention it to the referee, I'd mention it to the governing bodies - UEFA if it's in Europe, or the relevant league if it's here, at whatever level.
"I'd make sure the people in charge are aware of it and I'd make sure they follow it up. But I would stay on the pitch.
"Use it as fuel to fire your performance and show these ignorant racist people that it can't affect you."
However, there is a little faith in the ability or willingness of match officials and administrators to tackle the issue and Sinclair added: "I understand that. I don't think the punishments have been harsh enough. They've been very lenient and some of the fines that have been given out are an absolute liberty.
"But I go back to the points guys like (ex-QPR and England striker) Les Ferdinand have made and that is the need for clubs, governing bodies, companies, to start embracing diversity in their boardrooms.
"If you do that, you'll have people in positions of authority who are passionate about this. Then you'll get the punishments that will show society won't tolerate this. If the right punishment is there, you can get rid of it."
Sinclair was speaking on the day the Professional Footballers' Association announced the second phase of its #Enough campaign, which saw players stage a 24-hour social media boycott last Friday.
That was in protest against the role social media has played in the recent surge in discriminatory abuse in British football, and the union's next step is to take all the evidence of abuse that it has collated and present it to the sport minister Mims Davies and the social media companies.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, contacted the PFA after Friday's boycott and a meeting is being arranged. Twitter has not yet responded to a request for a similar meeting.