Monday, April 24, 2006

Colour blindness

Concerns about census questions relating to colour seem to mirror the recent anti-racism campaign which suggested that we should all be colour-blind now that we’re all “Irish”.

The reality is that Irish people have always been inquisitive, it’s part of the native charm. In rural Ireland, if you’re white with red hair and freckles they’ll ask you where you’re from. If you’re anything other than “a neighbour’s child”, you’ll still be categorised as “a blow-in” until you outlive those who remember your arrival.

People from other countries have interesting backgrounds and cultures that we should be asking them about. Of course, the tone and tenor of the discussion should be friendly rather than threatening - but I’m sure that when it’s the former it’s quite welcome.

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Examiner

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