Interracial dating between black man and white wom
Interracial relationships are becoming more common, but are still relatively rare.
“A lot of white people in particular don’t see it as normal.While Ireland is becoming much more cosmopolitan – certainly in Dublin and its surrounds – I think [there are still] long-held beliefs around cultural difference” In Otukoyo’s mind, there is a distinction in attitudes to a black man having white friends and generally being a functioning member of Irish society, and a black man who enters a relationship with a white woman.“Obviously we’re friends with Irish people, it’s fine.You do get looks if you’re part of an interracial relationship.” It was not necessarily vicious, pointed distain that was thrown at Law, who dated a white boyfriend in Belfast for two years.It was more like a constant background noise that the relationship was something different or other – even coming from those with seemingly no prejudice in their hearts.“I’ve had a drunk guy in a restaurant come up to me and my partner at one point and say, ‘Congratulations, I really admire what you’re doing.’” Getting a clear picture of the number of interracial relationships in this country is difficult.
Census data tells us little about race, but it does show that inter-cultural marriages have gradually increased.
Reaction to interracial coupling is not one-size-fits-all, either.
According to statistics released by the European Network Against Racism (Enar) Ireland last August, people of “black-African” background were involved in the highest number of reported cases of racist assaults.
The experiences they describe echo an old racist slight that has been thrown at men of colour who immigrate to predominately white nations since time immemorial: “They steal our jobs, they steal our women.” “It speaks of an Irish sense of patriarchy, that Irish men somehow own Irish women,” says Rebecca King-O’Riain, a senior lecturer in Maynooth University’s department of sociology.
King-O’Riain, a mixed-race Japanese-American ex-pat, has conducted significant research into interracial marriage in Ireland.
What of Ireland, though, a country with a relatively short history of pluralism and diversity.