- 25 Nov 21
Mamobo Ogoro shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Social Psychology PhD Candidate/Founder of Gorm Media
Psychology tells us that it is human nature to discriminate. We are evolutionarily wired to prefer those who look, talk and act like us, and walk with scepticism with those who do not. This is exacerbated by population sizes (majority/minority) and histories of power, privilege and representations of different communities. But to combat this in-group preference, and as we progress as a diverse society now in Ireland, it is crucial that we remain not only a multi-cultural (simply co-existing), but an inter-cultural one (having open, non-judgemental, dialogue and learning from each other).
Much of the conversation on racism in Ireland (even conversations wanting to tackle racism), still breeds this dynamic of “us” vs “them”, racist/not racist or privilege/non-privileged, which can in effect further mentalities (even within minority communities) and systems of power and privilege. It is personally exhausting having to explain to people that yes, I have experienced racism and those experiences have influenced different things in my life, but I am not defined by the ‘race’ category that society has put me in. Nor am I any less of a messed-up human, trying to do this thing called life because of it.
I believe that, in Ireland, we are in the unique position to choose how we frame conversations on race and racism, to in my opinion, one that celebrates our differences, uplifts voices where necessary, and builds bridges through open healthy discourse. A discourse that does not evoke defensiveness, shame and guilt in wider populations and constant trauma-porn from minority communities, but curiosity, learning and enlightenment that expresses our shared humanity. I believe that through this, we can create a more equitable society.
• Gorm Media is a start-up digital media company on a mission to curate common ground through conversations that matter.
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.