Racist B&B

Having gotten pretty cross and made video sketches to address what had made me cross, I recently had cause to address something close to home. This time, it’s personal. My new sketch is called The Racist B&B (once again directed by Diarmuid O’Brien of Danger Farm). You may be reading this because you’ve watched it. It was made in response to the fact that my husband, who’s African-American, received racist abuse on a recent visit to my hometown of Kinsale, Co. Cork, in the South West of Ireland.

Kinsale is beautiful. I grew up there. I love going back. My parents and several of my schoolfriends are still there. For a small Irish town, it’s always been relatively progressive: even in my teens, when Ireland was deeply conservative – backward, even – in Kinsale gay couples lived out & proud, religious people socialised with those who had no interest in church, and we had tourists rich and poor coming from all over the world. It was laid back, and the attitude in the main seemed to be “each to his own”. Unlike many places in the country at the time, even if people didn’t fully understand others, in general they tended to leave them at it.

As a port only 15 minutes from an international airport, Kinsale has thrived on tourism. And so it should. Local businesses work hard to make sure the services they provide are second to none and that the welcome you get in our town is memorable. When we were little, every single one of us at school was given plastic gloves and we went out in our various classes to pick up every scrap of rubbish we could find. This wasn’t the council using child labour as part of a bizarre money-saving initiative, it was a practical way of teaching us civic responsibility. This was our town. It could be clean if we kept it that way, or dirty if we turned a blind eye. The choice was ours. It’s a close-knit community and I’m very proud of it.

But on a recent trip home, I got a reminder that Ireland Of The Welcomes can be conditional.  By now very familiar with Kinsale, my husband offered to take the dog out for his last walk of the night. I sat chatting with my mum. 20 minutes later, my husband returned. He looked angry. “Well,” he said, “I haven’t been called those names in a while.” A group of young people standing outside a bar in the centre of town had shouted racist epithets at him. Some of those epithets have made it into my clip but we’ve decided to cover them with sound effects. They’re just too vile. They are shocking in the abstract and absolutely horrifying when applied to someone I love. In my hometown. In 2013.

My husband is a tolerant person. He just stared the namecallers down and they – like most cowards – shut up when faced with this silent challenge. He tried to laugh it off in the re-telling, saying it wasn’t his first time and that he’d heard worse. But that’s not the point.  I was mortified. Stunned. Fuming.

So I wrote a sketch about it. A sketch about how racism is lurking in even the most welcoming of places. About how we talk about it and minimise it with words because we don’t like to believe it’s there. “They’re only young fellas” or “they probably had drink taken” just won’t do.

Racism is unacceptable. Duh. We know. But we have to pick the rubbish up ourselves.

 The video is available on my YouTube channel herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J80q7Q3UIEM

 

You can report racism in Ireland here:http://enarireland.org/racist_incident_report/

Quote from ENAR Ireland:
“If you have experienced,witnessed or heard about a racist incident in Ireland there is something you can do about it.

By reporting the incident you will help ENAR Ireland:

1. Understand how often racist incidents occur in Ireland.
2. Understand in greater detail who is experiencing racism in Ireland.
3. Understand more about different kinds of racism in Ireland.
4. In some cases, if you are willing, take action against the people responsible.
5. Devise effective local strategies for combating racism.
6. Inform our arguments for stronger anti-racist policies at a national level.”

If it happens to you, or someone near you, please report it.


99 responses to “Racist B&B

  1. Shocked to hear what you have been through, Tara, but well aware of how widespread racism is in Ireland, especially in country towns, does not seem as bad in Dublin. Would love to tell you more but not in public. Let me know how I can contact you.

  2. Tara,
    Firstly i was in your lovely town 2 years ago and it is truly lovely. My grandfather is from Beara so i love Cork truth been told. How appalling this simply is, your husband did the right thing and stare at these sorry young lads. I myself have a Filipina girlfriend so we always get stares, it amusing to think at in this day and age. We as Irish were immigrants for centuries. I don’t get it honestly, i left for the states in 1987 as a young lad and have been treated very well anywhere i work from latin America, Asia, Africa and now in the Middle East. Brilliant sketch and very well done to you….

  3. I remember about 10 years ago when I was repeating my leaving cert in an adult education centre in Laois a man came to give a seminar to the place. He was an African man who was going around schools, colleges and FEC’s talking about integration in Ireland. It was a very positive talk about bringing Irish people together with minority communities, create ties and avoid racism and clashes. About 15 people were in attendance and nearly half left early on muttering racist obscenities under their breath – doing exactly what this man was talking to us about trying to avoid. It may be 2013 but we shouldn’t get the illusion that it somehow means we are now past all that…those times are still here…alive and well.

  4. Thank you for raising awareness and creating debate around this issue. Although I experience racism daily in Ireland (even though I’m Irish), there’s very little public debate about it. As an academic writing a book on how these dynamics are produced in Irish visual culture, I’m glad I came across your work. Comedy seems to be the most palatable way to tackle these painful and entrenched problems. I do hope things change soon… much as I love my home and am proud of my culture, I would not like to raise a child here as things stand.

  5. White women who date black men are asking for trouble. They are likely to catch two dozen different STI’s (some fatal) . Not to mention the horror of inflicting half-caste grandchildren on their fathers . There is a good chance that these perverted women will end up in a shallow grave – but that is their choice. Please don’t condemn people for showing their disapproval of this dangerous activity.

  6. Thanks for your opinion, Billy. I do hope that “shallow grave” isn’t a threat, as your IP address appears in the admin section on the Word Press dashboard. I won’t make it public, but you should know that.

  7. I haven’t laughed so much in a while – thanks for the very funny video, Tara.
    Awful and stupid that your husband should be insulted, and I’m ashamed of those nasty boys. It should never happen. But please remember (and this doesn’t make what happened any less wrong) that this one group insulted him, but hopefully all of the hundreds of thousands of other Irish people he met in the same year treated him with kindness and courtesy.

  8. Thanks for putting together a very funny and hard-hitting sketch. Some of the vile comments posted in response, like the one from Billy Carr, verge on self-parody – but sadly they probably aren’t. Still, they’re a great advert for the intelligence of the White Master Race…not!!! Over here in the UK we’ve got our own probs too, with the EDL, BNP and UKIP just for starters. Humour’s a good weapon and shows the racists up for what they are. More power to you!

  9. Hi again everyone. Thanks so much for all the comments. I’m trying to publish and reply to as many as I can, although there are so many that’s proving difficult. Apologies if you’re one the responses that slipped through the cracks.

    I am reading all of them, however, and I really appreciate them.

    Thank you so much for watching and sharing the video. Laughter 1 – Hate 0.

    Tara

  10. Just saw your brilliant sketch, Racist B&B. I’d like to compliment all concerned in capturing so accurately that poisonous smugness so characteristic of the Cork bourgeoisie. The many little observations in script and performance- not least the deadly accurate mimicry of just such an RTE along-the-road program- made your point most eloquently. Of course, they will never recognise themselves, but that can also be one of the delights of satire. Thanks again for the terrific work.

  11. Thanks Tom and I’m really glad you liked the sketch. Not about Cork, though: this stuff happens everywhere, often where you’d least expect it. -Tara

  12. My white cousin is married to an Asian-British woman. She refuses to go to conservative Asian areas of our English city with him as she says she is afraid she will be attacked for being in a mixed marriage.

  13. @Bradley
    Does Ms Flynn need to be sexually harassed by you in public? Sexism is no less serious than racism.

  14. I just couldn’t muster up a giggle for this because my family’s pain is still too raw. Let’s just say I wish I could do the same skit for Italy where my husband (brown) and I (pink) live. Instead we are just going to leave and “go back to where I came from”. Just don’t take a holiday here with your hubby…

  15. In the interest of balance it would be a good thing if a few more racists said what they REALLY think, instead of being browbeaten into silence by the PC brigade. Multiracial societies have always been unstable and often descended into bouts of genocide. Think of Nazi Germany, South Africa, Northern Ireland, USA, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, India. It is better to avoid all that at the beginning than to try to clean up the mess afterwards.

  16. Meh. People who look exactly alike and share basic DNA subsegments have been known to kill the bejezus out of each other on a regular basis too. Even in EUROPE. *shock* We’re human. We can try to be better for as long as it lasts.

    Tara, if it helps any, I am not white and when I visited Ireland for the first time last year, some strange woman gave me yellow roses in Malahide. So I have a good memory, and a good opinion.

  17. Billy-
    In the interest of balance? what a mindless maniac you are, craving for support… Don’t worry, you are very alone. I bet you support a premier league team with black players in it. Hyprocrite! So answer the question, were those kids right to insult her husband? why don’t we do a swap, remove all foreigners in Ireland, including whites, and return all the Irish in other countries… then you’ll have your nice prosperous utopia! Is racism right? those examples you mention include the deaths of thousands, do you support that? So why don’t you tell us what you REALLY think.. mr racist? or have you also been browbeaten by the so called ‘pc brigade’?

  18. Oh and Tara well done.. that video was funny but really hit home the message! The closet racism in Ireland is staggering..

  19. You can report racism in Ireland here: http://enarireland.org/racist_incident_report/

    Quote from ENAR Ireland:
    “If you have experienced,witnessed or heard about a racist incident in Ireland there is something you can do about it.

    By reporting the incident you will help ENAR Ireland:

    1. Understand how often racist incidents occur in Ireland.
    2. Understand in greater detail who is experiencing racism in Ireland.
    3. Understand more about different kinds of racism in Ireland.
    4. In some cases, if you are willing, take action against the people responsible.
    5. Devise effective local strategies for combating racism.
    6. Inform our arguments for stronger anti-racist policies at a national level.”

    If it happens to you, or someone near you, please report it.

  20. I think this is a very funny sketch. Tara, you are so right; Ireland IS a very racist country. (I know racism exists pretty much everywhere, not just in Ireland and I know Ireland, up until relatively recently, hasn’t been a very multicultural place but that has all changed now and people’s attitudes need to too! I am a teacher and work in a school with a lot of different nationalities and I’ve heard teachers speak about the African children as “blackies” and coming from “one of those places”.
    As for the teenagers who shouted racist abuse at Tara’s husband, being “teenagers” and wanting to conform and “get a rise out of people” is NOT an excuse – they are old enough to know about racist abuse and racist comments. Lastly, Billy Carr – OMG, how IGNORANT are you??

  21. The only time I’ve been in Kinsale, the entire town was locked down because the “King Of The Travellers” had died and it was his wake that evening. We couldnt get in a restaurant or anything because “we’re not letting Gypsies in”. Nice place though.

  22. I have been in Ireland for nearly ten years, have worked and pay my taxes, i get offended when strangers call me the N word and verbally abuse me telling me to go home and stop claiming benefits. To make matters worse , it angers me even more when the person shouting this at me is on the social welfare and i am contributing to their lifestyle. The good news is that it happens twice or thrice a year. (still too much) but most of the time I can genuinely say that Irish people are friendly and down to earth. I think what puzzles me sometimes is that I just do not understand where the anger and hate comes from. I truly don’t.

  23. Thanks for making the video and sharing the experience, Tara.
    Humour and intelligence is always the best response. Thanks for shining the spotlight on the issue. Now, if we all pick up just one piece of rubbish each, we’ll be well on our way to protecting this lovely country of ours.

  24. I’m white, red-haired and Irish and I left Ireland partly because I was sick of having to argue against the racist comments that I would hear and have to defend against even when no one of a different race was around. I really hate how people will put it down to a lack of familiarity or even quaintness when it is in fact, vile and sick. I have argued with almost everyone of my close family members for off-hand or throwaway racist comments that I refuse to allow spoken when I am nearby. They can learn to change – I am sick of having to abide in racist talk.

  25. It’s really cute how white people come together in agreement that racism is not to tolerated. I wish that were the case in the real world. It’s been my experience that what white people say and what they do are two totally different things.

  26. Great video. Heard you on colm hayse on 2fm. Hope you highlighting this will somehow get it into peoples head to cop on and just get on with things. People are people thats that. Different backgrounds, race,Sexual orientation ect is what make things interesting. If we dont nip it in the bud now its the next generations issue and thats sad. We should have stamped it out now. No excuss in this day and age.

  27. thank you Tara, very astute and funny. I’ve sent the link to a few friends in Eire who I’m know will like it too. Was quite appalled by some of the blatant comments on this blog, sound to me like something from decades ago. But perhaps that’s just because racism here (london) has become more subtle and underhand (on the whole), which isn’t really any improvement. Just not so immediately obvious.

  28. There’s a lot of elephants sadly in many Irish Kitchens & it’s not just racism & I firmly believe its down to lack of education, not having appreciated ‘other’ cultures, jealousy / fear we could go on but in the main a lack of education. Hypocrisy & dual standards, fitting in with peer pressure & that’s adult’s! Talking for the sake of talking & conversations getting arms & legs with no informed in put – The Blessed Irish Kitchen has a lot to answer for! Ireland would be a rich country again if it leaned ‘it’s not who you know but what you know’ i.e. banks, churches, jobs etc., I represented ‘Women in the Workplace’ during the late 80’s / 90’s so know all about backlash. You have my support Tara. You Go Girl Your a Good Person & I am sorry that you husband went through that in 2013 that is disgraceful / shame on the people who do this.

  29. There’s a lot of elephants sadly in many Irish Kitchens & it’s not just racism & I firmly believe its down to lack of education, not having appreciated ‘other’ cultures, jealousy / fear we could go on but in the main a lack of education. Hypocrisy & dual standards, fitting in with peer pressure & that’s adult’s! Talking for the sake of talking & conversations getting arms & legs with no informed in put – The Blessed Irish Kitchen has a lot to answer for! Ireland would be a rich country again if it leaned ‘it’s not who you know but what you know’…I represented ‘Women in the Workplace’ during the late 80’s / 90’s so know all about backlash. You have my support Tara. Go Girl Your a Good Person

  30. hi there – great stuff – wondering if the pitch fork is for sale or where could I get one similar?

  31. great stuff Tara – wondering if the pitch fork is for sale or where I could get one similar?

  32. Sad to say this is one of many reasons I am afraid to visit Ireland. Another reason as a women I couldn’t visit alone, I could only imagine visiting alone as an African American woman.

  33. You are a sad victim, thinking that you are somehow superior because you have chosen to mate with the lowest ha ha what a fool you are, I have no doubt that you will learn the error of your ways when the negro base instinct overcomes any training he has received from white civilisation, I will have no pity for you at least it might stop other stupid girls making the same mistake

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