Racism and Racist Attitudes in NI

Year published: 2015


Robbie McVeigh

The Northern Ireland experience

In his contribution to a pioneering collection of essays on ethnic minorities and racism in Northern Ireland, Robbie McVeigh notes that, ‘The contemporary location of Ireland, north and south, draws on the colonial legacy but also encourages different and newer reasons
for racialisation.’3 For centuries, competing notions of Britishness and Irishness have manifested themselves in exclusive and insular forms, often to the detriment of a more hybrid and complex understanding of history and indeed identity. It is not surprising, then, that Northern Ireland’s gradual integration into the global capitalist order and its politico-legal counterpart, the EU, has presented the region with significant challenges as well as opportunities. The ‘double transition’ from conflict to peace and from social democracy to
neoliberalism has introduced a number of new dimensions to the traditional, binary polar relationship between British-Irish/Unionist-Nationalist identities, not least a rise in the number of non-NI born residents.  Ethnic minorities therefore enter the equation when
the concept of foreignness or ‘Otherness’ raises its dangerous head.