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racist abuse New RTE series exposes reality of life for people of colour in Ireland

The brothers remember there were not a lot of mixed-race people around in the 1980s and Darragh recalls that in school they were called 'gollywog', the 'N' word and 'poo face'.

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Conor and Darragh Buckley say they were made to feel different

Conor and Darragh Buckley say they were made to feel different

Angel Arutura has been on the receiving end of racist comments

Angel Arutura has been on the receiving end of racist comments

Maria Diouf tells of her experiences in Ireland

Maria Diouf tells of her experiences in Ireland

Christine Buckley

Christine Buckley

/

Conor and Darragh Buckley say they were made to feel different

Young Irish people of colour have revealed how they are regularly subjected to racism.

Two sons of the late children's home campaigner Christine Buckley have described how they have suffered regular abuse from the time of their schoolgoing years to today.

Christine, the daughter of a Nigerian medical student and a married Irish woman from Dublin, was an award-winning activist who was a survivor of the Goldenbridge Industrial School.

She was married to former Irish Independent financial journalist Don Buckley and died in 2014.

Their sons Conor and Darragh describe shocking incidents of racism in Ireland in new RTÉ series The Talk.

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Christine Buckley

Christine Buckley

Christine Buckley

The brothers remember there were not a lot of mixed-race people around in the 1980s and Darragh recalls that in school they were called 'gollywog', the 'N' word and 'poo face'.

"I remember just being really confused and being kind of ashamed and not really understanding why this was happening, not that it happened every single day, but it would have happened maybe a couple of times a month or something like that. Enough for you to know that you're different and not like other people," says Darragh.

They also discuss how for them it was easier if their dad picked them up from school instead of their mum.

"You know, if Dad picked you up, he looked white, he looked like everybody else, you wouldn't have to be paranoid about it," explains Darragh.

"If Mum picked you up, you would be paranoid about it. The kids are sniggering, and they might think of a new name tomorrow."

Both sporty at school, Conor recalls being called the 'N' word while playing a football match as a child and looking back wondering why the referee didn't intervene.

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"This guy kept on saying the 'N' word and then he spat at me," he remarks.

He says while his father does not remember a lot of incidents from his youth, he can describe in detail what happened on that occasion.

Darragh says TV shows such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air "put black people in a better light" .

Conor, who is a well-known nightclub manager in Dublin, points out: "Up until then, the association was black people being on the front of the Trócaire box."

Darragh said for the first time he was "proud" to have curly Afro hair, whereas previously he considered doing a "Michael Jackson job and dyeing my skin".

In recent times, Conor remembers watching an Ireland v France in rugby match in a pub in Dublin city.

"I was with a couple of pals, in a nice pub in town," he says. "I went to the bathroom, I was talking to this guy about the game.

"Leaving the pub, he went 'see you later 'N' word', and he kind of tapped me on the shoulder.

"We had got on well. He seemed like a nice fellow. I was like … did he actually say that? I was stunned. Particularly if you hear that particular word."

In The Talk, four young Irish people sit down with a friend or loved one to have a conversation about social issues that are affecting them.

In the first episode, four pairs of young black Irish people discuss their personal experiences of racism in Ireland.

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Angel Arutura has been on the receiving end of racist comments

Angel Arutura has been on the receiving end of racist comments

Angel Arutura has been on the receiving end of racist comments

Friends Angel Arutura and Maria Diouf, who met during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, both live in Northern Ireland but have differing experiences of racism.

Growing up, Angel felt she was going through an identity crisis in school, trying to make herself as white as possible to try to fit in as the only black person in her year. She is half Zimbabwean and half Irish, but tried to hide and avoid her Zimbabwean side to fit in. For her, silence was the easiest option.

"I would always stay silent because silence is just the easiest option for me," she says. "Because if I have to call out every single experience of racism that I had, I would be completely drained."

Maria faced other challenges, having moved to Northern Ireland at 11. Not only was she the new girl in school, but she also had no English, so she couldn't understand what other pupils were saying about her.

Both discuss the type of racist comments they receive from people, with Maria summing up: "People are so comfortable with diminishing you. They literally will see a darker person, as that's the shade of a slave."

Also on the show, Ola Majekodunmi and Mamobo Ogoro meet for the first time in person, having met online after following each other on social media.

Broadcaster and journalist Ola recalls reactions about her being enrolled in a Gaelscoil, while Mamobo talks about how a simple game in school turned awry. Looking back, she sees the racial connotations that didn't occur to her at the time.

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Maria Diouf tells of her experiences in Ireland

Maria Diouf tells of her experiences in Ireland

Maria Diouf tells of her experiences in Ireland

Rapper-songwriter Mai Salif, whose stage name is Celaviedmai, and singer-songwriter Tomike J are best friends. They discuss how racism can play a part in dating and interracial relationships.

Mai has been turned off dating apps in particular and confides: "I've just started to notice this trend, with white men in particular, where it's kind of like 'do you like me because I'm me, or do you like me because I'm black and it's a fetish type of vibe?'

"Why is there so much emphasis on the race that I am? Can I not just be interesting for who I am as a person rather than my aesthetic? There's so much more to being me than just being a black woman."

Tomike talks about how she's only ever been in interracial relationships but mentions how other people are prone to commenting on it.

"Even just walking down the road holding hands, or on nights out, people come up to you, 'Do you not (think) you're watering down the race, like what's going to happen when you guys procreate?' " she reveals.

The Talk is available to view on the RTÉ Player.

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