- 15 Dec 21
Tobi Balogun shares his thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
I hate using ethnic terms now, because I feel it just puts everyone into a particular box. And it’s almost like, ‘Oh, I don’t fit that box, that box doesn’t really matter to me’. There was a period where there were certain positions in Ireland – whether it’s careers, hobbies or art stuff – I just wouldn’t see myself in. It’s a systemic racial thing, the idea that you don’t belong there until you have people that think you belong there.
There’s other things that I have to consider, be it for cultural reasons or safety reasons that no one else in some of these spaces has to consider. I’m hoping that Black Canvas, my Arts Council project about intersectionality, issues of diversity and race, will create a space that can facilitate cultural interactions – not only within the Black community, but with other ethnicities as well. I don’t know if it’s going to get any better. I’ve been up in situations where it feels like I’m only being brought in because I can provide a more diverse crowd. Whereas if you actually just hired somebody who was a person who happened to be Black who was qualified, they could bring someone in. It shouldn’t need a social movement and trying to adjust projects, and bringing somebody in to address that one thing. There are some spaces in Ireland that are being very open-minded and inclusive without it.
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.