You’ll never be Irish to some people…

22 Jul

I was walking to the offie with a few mates the other day when we were stopped by two young lads in their mid to late teens. They were looking for a cigarette so we kindly obliged. One of them looked like he’d had a few cans already; cocky as hell, not a bother on him. A mate started chatting to them while I took a phone call. My other friends stood around waiting for us all to go our separate ways. Whilst on the phone I overheard one of the young lads say that he recognised me, I looked over and continued chatting into the phone. I didn’t expect what happened next.

My mate had grown tired of humouring them and it was approaching 10 so the two lads walked up past me, seeming like they were on their way. Suddenly, the cocky one started talking at me, ignoring the fact that I was on the phone. I informed him as much and moved closer to my friends. Then I heard it – “Paki”. The lad repeated it over and over again, sometimes adding swear words with it to give it extra effect. My friend on the phone could hear it too and was naturally concerned. I turned to stare at the fella, his friend doing very little to tell him to stop. I analysed the situation: there was me and my 4 mates, all of us in our mid to late 20s, we were in the car park of a large supermarket, cars and people all around us. I counted to ten over and over again, talking myself out of headbutting him. He stepped closer to me, hands in his pockets, spitting the word “Paki” directly into my face. One of my mates told him to stop and this seemed to rile the other young lad. I had a decision to make: give them a roughing up and walk on or hope they’d back off and walk away.

No matter how I explained it, if the five of us started clattering them it would have ended bad, if not there and then but definitely later with the Guards involved or when the two fellas decided to take revenge. I told them to stop, asked them to walk on and informed them I was still on the phone. The one giving the abuse tried to shake my hand but I wasn’t having it. I told him he’d seriously insulted me and that they should just go. I could feel myself shaking, not out of fear, but out of pure anger. I thought about my Mam, the Pakistan flag in my room at home, the cricket jersey in my top drawer – how dare he make me feel bad for being mixed race. The two of them walked away and me and my friends made our way towards the shop. For the next two minutes as I walked away from them, the little racist started again, roaring “Paki” over and over again. I could feel people looking at me, I tried to drown it out but it echoed around the place. it was the most direct abuse I’d received in some time.

I didn’t want my mates to feel bad for not stepping in, I could see how furious they were. When I was younger, when this happened on a weekly basis…I would have just gone in all guns blazing. At almost 28, I think I was more shocked that this still happens in 2014. I’ve been in Galway almost my entire life, I’ve walked through that car park before those lads were even born. Regardless of my name and accent, people still want to point out my appearance and ethnicity and use it as a form of insult against me. Little do those two lads realise – I’m a proud Paki/Paddy. Of course they’ll never understand that, so they target me (much like Ireland’s two-bit fascists and separately Zionists) and try to isolate me due to my colour. It’s still playing on my mind, but I think I did the right thing. Had they been older I’m pretty sure there would have been a different outcome. Just makes me prouder to be part Pakistani.


14 Responses to “You’ll never be Irish to some people…”

  1. recessionbites2014 July 22, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    Hiya, this is a very distressing albeit very familiar read. I’m mixed race myself although I don’t look it. This means I get to hear what people “really” think. Because sure when you’re white we’re all agreed that we’re the best.
    Thank you for sharing. And I’m terribly sorry you’re being made to feel this way. It’s sad that anyone can just disregard that you’re in fact very lucky to be part of 2 rich cultures.

  2. Conor July 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Well done man. It can’t have been easy. I know you hear the ‘we’re not all like that’ nonsense all time, but it’s important that you’re not like that too. I can never understand these people who try to make it out that who you are is an insult.

    FWIW I’ve an Irish Korean daughter who I hope will never have to deal with that either in Ireland or Korea.

  3. mccrodp July 23, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Ahhh the old “Giz a smoke” trick, always the start of trouble. People with this mentality are impossible to deal with and always go for the lowest common denominator. Good to hear it all ended without a fight on this occasion. Frustrating to hear about racist incidents that seem to be increasing in Ireland, really hope this does a U turn. This type of aggression is a detriment for the whole society. Well done for how you handled it with a cool head!

  4. Stadler July 23, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    You could have gotten your own back with the Gardai! 😉

    Unfortunately Ireland is not as friendly as it is portrayed. Racism was always there. No excuse for it, mind.

    You handled it very well.

  5. Valerie Sweeney July 23, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Don’t feel bad about your heritage. This is pure ignorance and stupidity. Had it been me, an white Irish woman, the lad would have called me Fatty. You did the right thing. I wish there were more like you.

  6. phu July 23, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    You have been targeted by Zionists?

  7. Chris (@ChrisGardiner4) July 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Fair play to you. They were totally ignorant ass holes. It didn’t matter what colour you were. These degenerates are thriving in our estates because they get away with it. Believe me I am born and reared Irish and I see some of them are in need of manners. You are a bigger person for it. They will meet the wrong person and the outcome will be bad FOR THEM. Respect.

  8. Somhairle July 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    I can only hope as Ireland gets more and more racially mixed and multicultural, such incidents will get rarer and rarer. I wish people would realise we ve had Vikings, Normans, English, Spaniards etc for centuries coming to these shores. Irish people have emigrated in the meantime all over the world. A multicultural society means new ideas, perspectives, opinions, cuisine and a larger gene pool making a more beautiful mixed race!

  9. Rebecca July 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    I’m mixed race grew up South coast of England, i’m over 10 years older than you and as a child this type of behaviour was not a weekly but daily occurrence.
    Being a mixed race child in a sea of white (not getting involved) faces i ignored & only retaliated when physically attacked.
    I live in London now, a great place to meet people from every corner of the world but even so there are still racists. Just more subtle not in your face. Hopefully in the future things will improve so that your child any child has no clue, idea of what you have experienced.

  10. Murphy July 25, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    Only race mixed can feel what Black people are racially abused,it’s terrible in Ireland where there are more excuses.

  11. queasypaddy July 25, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Well done !! Never stoop to their level . Guttersnipes .

  12. Richael January 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Heartbreaking to read your story, but so important that you have told it. We must be the change we want to see in the world. We are all humans after all, regardless of colour, sex, religion, wealth etc. You have set a wonderful example, and hopefully you have opened a few eyes, even if it hurts 🙂

  13. Casey January 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    So distressing that this is all too familiar. As an individual of mixed race from Belfast this has happened to myself and family on numerous occasions, how long will it take people to realise that identity goes far beyond these infantile perceptions. Brilliant and apt piece, keep the chin up!


  1. You’ll Never Be Irish To Some People. : - January 19, 2015

    […] Illustration by Thomas McCarthy. Check out Joe’s blog where this originally appeared here. […]

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