Young people sharing experiences of racism in new TV show

A new documentary series The Talk, which starts on RTÉ2 on Monday at 10.35pm.
Young people sharing experiences of racism in new TV show

Tomike J, a singer-songwriter from Dublin, discusses racism in new RTE series The Talk

WHEN Conor Buckley was at school, he was called the ‘N’ word during a football match, and looking back, wonders why the referee didn’t intervene.

In recent times, he was watching a rugby match in a pub in Dublin. After chatting to a guy in the toilets about the game, the man turned to leave and said to Conor: “See you later, ‘N’ word.”

These are just some of the experiences recounted in the first episode of new documentary series The Talk, which starts on RTÉ2 on Monday at 10.35pm.

The series initially ran on the RTÉ Player, and tackles some of the big issues in modern Irish society such as body shaming.

The first episode explores people’s experience of racism, and we hear from young people about what racism is like and the forms it takes.

Conor Buckley and his brother Darragh are sons of the late campaigner Christine Buckley, and remember there weren’t a lot of mixed-race people around in the 1980s when they were at school. They were called “gollywog, the ‘N’ word and poo face”.

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

“Dad looked white, he looked like everybody else, you wouldn’t have to be paranoid about it. If mum picked you up, you would be paranoid. The kids are sniggering, and they might think of a new name tomorrow.”

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 - pictured on the cover of TV Week - felt she was going through an identity crisis in school, trying to make herself as white as possible to try and 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.

When Maria moved to Northern Ireland at 11, not only was she the new girl, but she also had no English.

Both discuss the type of racist comments, 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.”

Tomike J, a singer-songwriter from Dublin, has only ever been in inter-racial relationships, but says other people are prone to comment on it.

“Even just walking down the road holding hands, or like on nights out when people have had a few drinks and stuff like that, people literally have so much confidence and come up to you and are just like, ‘Do you not think you’re watering down the race, like what’s going to happen when you guys procreate’?”

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