Sunday, May 07, 2006

Racism In Ireland?

Just a normal day in any Spar or Centra in dublin, the Polish security gaurd getting loads of abuse off some Dublin lad. This time is starts a a young age. A eight year old kid is asked by the security to take his bike outside the shop. Fair enough eh, well not when there is a question of nation at heart. "Where you from?" shouts the youth, when he gets Howth as a reply he goes off on if if he is from Howth then why can't he speak english.

A mate of mine from Toronto wrote a good blog about this years ago about being Asian in Toronto. She always gets "where you from ?" Scarbrough (the east end of the city) is not what people are looking for. Even though this particular girl was born in Toronto and has less of a Filipino accent then I do, the assumption is that she is from elsewhere. In liberal Toronto although the underline assumption is racist the face value of the question is kind and just out of interest.

The difference here in Ireland is the face value. I get asked all the time where I'm from and D8 is not what they are looking for, but I'm white and have english as my first language. If you are not white even if you have been here your whole life, or you come from an Eastern European country expect the interaction to be loaded with hate.

To be from a non english speaking country here really does put you at a lower level. I would argue that it puts you at the level of women in alot of ways. You get talked down to and get abuse for things that the same person would never dream of saying to a Dublin lad. If you are not from ireland in the traditional sence then you will always be an outsider. This is a country where if your family moved counties at one point you will always be a blow in.

Blow ins may never be seen as fully intergrated memebers of the community but I wonder if they are seen as stealing peoples jobs. Stealing jobs. Such an interesting concept. As Ciaran said last night "how can they be stolen if they are not yours in the first place?" If someone else goes for a job and gets it, they didnt' steal it from you, especially if you didn't even apply.

The class question here is that these "foriegners" will do the same job for less money. This is how a job is stolen, someone can out bid you. But what is missed in this is that we are not working under a bartering wage system. If jobs are not providing the wage and security that are intially advertised this is not a matter of race but rather a matter that should bring workers solidarity. Once again the bosses have figured away to lower their expenences, screw over workers and the best part is that they have a scapegoat and the people are buying to it, the permenant blow-ins.

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True, but the problem in 10 years time is going to be much greater. Britain is starting to see it now and France has seen it more recently. Segregating people into groups and areas based on ethnicity and colour is a massive mistake and one that smacks of intrenched racism and probably laziness. There's little or integration between communities in Ireland. If you've ever been down/up the country to places like Athlone or much smaller towns and villages, you've got small communities of foreign/ethnic/religious groups all separate from 'Irish' life. Even for an Irish family moving house within Ireland, integrating into the local community doesn't appear that easy. New neighbours remain strangers, there's just less interaction. And people coming into the country are seeing an extreme version of this. This social separation/exclusion is exacerbated by housing locations and zoning. Huge, in perspective, developments are popping up all over Ireland for tax 'dodging' purposes which then get filled by immigrants with government subsides, but new to the country and with the lack of jobs in rural areas and sufficient public transport, they must (as I can only talk from what I've seen) feel/become very isolated. I often hear this "taking our jobs" crap, but when asked "do you want that job?" (that McDonald's job a polish girl with a degree in computers is doing) you'll nearly always get the same answer. ramble ramble ramble...

Oh and the media is hugely responsible for this problem, constant news of Nigerian fraudsters or eastern European dole thieves etc while 'ordinary' white folks are stealing from each other every day. Not to mention nice corporate theft, bank charges (I read a while back that if 50 years ago you had 100 quid in your bank, you'd now have about 500/600. if on the other hand you had -100, now you'd have about -50,000. go figure) the cost of a pint, the cost of a CD, the level of minimum wage etc etc. Anything to divert peoples attention away from reality. Focus on these 'new' folks, that's where your problem lies. Anyway...
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