- Film & TV
- 09 Nov 21
May Lucey shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Gorm TV panellist
My name is May Lucey and I am 19-years-old. My mom is Chinese and my dad is Irish, and I grew up in a small village in the Cork countryside. I am a panellist on Gorm TV, a web show created by Mamobo Ogoro, founder of Gorm Media.
It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic sparked a massive surge in hate crimes against East and Southeast Asian people around the world, and Ireland was no exception. On 14th August 2020, a Chinese woman was pushed into the Royal Canal in Dublin, after being on the receiving end of verbal racial abuse from a group of teenage boys. A couple of days after the attack, I was in the car listening to Ryan Tubridy on the radio. I remember him saying that most Irish people were not racist and that they did not treat “foreigners” like this.
His reaction to the incident stuck with me for one reason in particular. The use of the word “foreigner” made me realise that, for the most part, Irish people of colour aren’t seen as “real” Irish people. We’re assumed to be visitors or outsiders or intruders. Never mind that my last name is Lucey, or that there’s a harp on the front cover of my passport. Never mind that my grasp on Irish is about one million times better than my grasp on Chinese, or that I’ve only ever been to China as a tourist.
All that people see is my non-white-ness. Random people say “ni hao” to me on the street. Strangers call me “that Chinese girl” without even knowing my name. Somehow, I am seen as a foreigner in my own country. I understand the overprotectiveness that Irish people feel for our culture. Generational trauma has trained us to hold close what is left of our language, our music, and our customs.
However, believing that immigrants, foreigners, and people of colour are somehow diluting the rich character of our country with other cultures is only hurting us. Exchanging culture is the best way to ensure that we are celebrating together, in the most respectful and dignified way. White Irish people need to open their arms and hearts to people of colour, and accept us to stand alongside them, everyone side by side as proud Irish people.
Watch May Lucey on Gorm Media's This Is "Them" here.
Read Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism, in the current issue of Hot Press. Available to pick up in shops now, or to order online below:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.
- Film & TV
- 10 Dec 18