- 16 Dec 21
Jialin Long shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
I recently did a diversity programme for Dublin City Council, focused on photography. Most people – from a government or official level – try to promote the idea of diversity in Ireland. But when it’s on a personal or individual level, people are subconsciously divided into different groups. If you are from a minority or diverse group, it’s much harder to get the same opportunities.
It’s like the glass ceiling for women, and how it’s difficult to crack into a male-dominated field. Many of my friends are from different countries because, when you work in the art field, you meet every ethnic group and sexual orientation. Nobody questions those things. We’re open to those around us.
In terms of abuse, I’m Chinese, so I’ve heard many stories from my community about walking down the streets and experiencing verbal attacks, especially during Covid. But that person who hurls abuse doesn’t represent mainstream Irish opinion. It’s only a small group.
People don’t think racism exists here. But it’s in every country – you just don’t always see it. We need more visual representations around us. Food festivals, culture, things like that can bring racial backgrounds to the surface. People naturally have a fear of the unknown. But if you get a chance to meet people from other ethnic groups, they’re usually different than expected. If we associate different racial groups with positive figures rather than associating Black people with crime or Asian people with a virus, it will change. It’s hard to fix such a long-term issue. But we must try.
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.