- 10 Dec 21
Dr Zélie Asava shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Dr Zélie Asava,
Independent Scholar / Film Classifier, Irish Film Classification Office
It is time we took stock of our relationship to race and racism in Ireland. For too long, these issues have been swept under the carpet, dismissed as irrelevant or derided as minority concerns. In my own work on racial representations in Irish film and TV, I have often encountered a certain perspective blindness, which whitewashes over the absence of multicultural voices and the flattening of characters of colour.
There has been a social transformation over the last year, triggered by our collective shock at the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and the realisation that we need to reckon with our own historic and contemporary legacies of racism. Nevertheless the Irish Network Against Racism reported an increase in racist incidents last year, including continued growth in serious acts of violence. There have been some important interventions addressing the social and structural barriers created by discrimination, but there is so much more to do.
This year’s Gender and Diversity Audit from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland stressed that, “More concerted efforts are needed to incorporate the voice of those most affected by an unequal industry” (2021: p. 50). In order to establish a more inclusive understanding of what it means to be Irish, and a different set of social conditions that might generate a more equal industry – and crucially, a more equal society – we need to reimagine our cultural landscape and tell stories that represent people from every walk of life.
Read Part 2 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism in the current issue of Hot Press:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.