- 17 Dec 21
Eric Ehigie shares his thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Political Coordinator with Black and Irish
The beautiful thing about Ireland and being Irish is that we have a unique insight into how racism can curtail personal and collective dignity. We also understand how hardship can kickstart a journey away from our homeland and mark the beginning of our search for greener pastures in a land other than our own.
This has allowed us to make a life in various countries around the world, and to ingratiate our Irishness upon other nations to create a new identity for ourselves – the Irish American identity, being one of many examples. We have also experienced discrimination abroad as a result of our precious Irishness.
Today, our modern Ireland attempts to allow others to embark on a similar journey, right here, in a country that understands this project better than many others.
Our history calls for us to extend empathy to those who hope to find a home here. Racism is antithetical to the essence of Irishness. The rejection of those searching for greener pastures in the greenest nation of all is anathema to Ireland’s call. Our responsibility is to dig deep and recognise our common experiences with migrants and minorities in this nation; to recognise the common humanity that we and others in our country are derived from, and to act accordingly.
It’s not a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation, it’s an Irish situation. Our response should be reflected in our personal lives, our education system, the workplace, government, and every facet of the country.
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.