On 20 April 2010 I attended a roundtable run by the Equality Authority in Dublin to discuss antiracism. While several of us attending have sat in similar roundtables and other forums for the past 15 years to discuss racism and antiracism, Toyosi Shitta-bey’s killing on Good Friday has clearly moved the EA – curtailed and under-funded though it is – to convene this forum, in a genuine attempt to mobilise members of migrant and ethnic minority groups.
The main speakers were, as usual, white, settled Irish people, but around the table were leaders of migrant-led groups and networks (mostly Africans, with scant representation for Asians and Eastern Europeans, and only one Traveller, Ellen Mongan, the only Traveller who has ever sat on a local authority council). Everyone was asked to speak, and participants outlined their experiences of racism, and spoke of the anger and fear in their groups and neighbourhoods. A few ‘usual suspects’ proposed what has been proposed so many times before: establishing an antiracism forum, reforming the useless 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act (promised so many time by successive ministers for justice), educating and holding information campaigns ( the government has clamped down on public awareness campaigns, but one wonder were these ever really useful?) Read more