- 01 Dec 21
L'Or Mayo shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
I may not look Irish or have the skin of an Irish person, but I’ve been here from the age of eight to 30. That’s a long time living here, far more than I did in my birth country, which is Congo. I hold an Irish passport. I think that Irish people are finding it difficult to accept there are people who call themselves Irish, but who aren’t what a typical Irish person is supposed to look like.
I have experienced racism. I think some Irish people do find it hard to open up to foreigners and to accept the changing, new Ireland.
I have a six-year-old who was born here, so she will always see herself as Irish. She was born in Dublin. Ireland is the only country she knows. If someone told her she wasn’t Irish, she’ll be like, “Why would you say I’m not Irish because this is the only country I know?” Communication is always the first answer.
The world has changed. We are human. We are allowed to move. People run away from a country due to war. There are people who are here for a better life. We’re not trying to destroy Ireland. We’re here for opportunity. We’re not here to break the law, or to try to create a society where we don’t blend with the Irish. I went to primary school here, secondary school, college, my first job was here. We are working to play a role as citizens of Ireland.
You get those things like, “Go back to your own effing country.” Racism doesn’t always have to be words. The way you act towards someone based on their skin speaks a lot. I know how Asian people experienced racism due to Covid, which was unfair. They didn’t bring it here. If you’re unhappy based on something I did, I’d rather you speak to me than turn that to hatred and feel like I did it because I’m Black.
You may have different skin to me, but if they cut our skin open, our organs are exactly the same: the way you bleed, the way I bleed. It’s mind-blowing how people don’t see that we are all human and we are all equal. Do not allow my skin to be the cause of your hatred. See me as a human like I see you. I’m not dirt under your shoes. We’re all on this Earth to live. Together.
This contribution featured in Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism. Read Part 2 in the current issue of Hot Press:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.