The recession has had far-reaching effects throughout Irish society since it was officially declared in 2008. As wages dropped and prices went up, many people found themselves with more stress & less free time. These factors, both alone and coupled together, have had a number of consequences that may not be immediately obvious to those who aren’t looking for them. One such example of this is the effect that the recession has had on attitudes towards racism in Ireland.
The recession has presented a number of opportunities to be racist, such as accusing foreigners of stealing our jobs, abusing our welfare system, and forcing honest, white people into the streets. But while on the surface it may seem that we are living in the golden age of racism, digging a little further into the statistics brings to light some harrowing revelations.
Although there has been a marked increase in what sociologists refer to as Racist Opportunism, the reality is that many Irish people are simply unable to avail of this new situation. After conducting research nationwide, we have established the three main causes behind the ongoing struggle to be racist.
Many respondents said that they simply unable to devote themselves full time to the aul’ racism, as they are working multiple jobs or jobs with atypical working hours. Many say they just like a cup of tea in the evening.
“I just have so much on my mind that sometimes I might pass an ethnic in the streets and not even notice” – Peter Byrne, Dublin
The second most common cause given was that the recession has meant people are going out less often, and thus have fewer opportunities to be racist. While many would classify the fact that ethnic minorities are rarely invited to their houses as a racist act, this is passive racism, as opposed to active racism.
“I think the government needs to do more to cater to racists in rural areas, such as hiring foreign postmen. That would be like racism delivered right to your door” – Orlaith Carey, Donegal
The reality of living in a recession is that consumers are far more selective in their choices, which places a huge amount of pressure on business owners to remain competitive while still running a profit. This has forced many racists to open their doors to minorities.
“I’ll still be unnecessarily abrasive with customers who have chosen to come to our country from abroad, but the fact is that we really don’t have the luxury of being totally prejudiced against anyone with money these days” – Edward-George Northumberlandchesingtonshire, Roscommon