Emma Dabiri: The Diaspora Diva on trolls, modelling and growing up black in Dublin

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-08-14 00:20Z by Steven

Emma Dabiri: The Diaspora Diva on trolls, modelling and growing up black in Dublin

Sunday Independent
2018-08-14

Donal Lynch

Emma Dabiri, author, TV presenter, model is very much at home in London but she's an Irish girl at heart. Photo: Jonathan Goldberg
Emma Dabiri, author, TV presenter, model is very much at home in London but she’s an Irish girl at heart. Photo: Jonathan Goldberg

With her BBC series about to air, academic and broadcaster Emma Dabiri spoke to Donal Lynch

It’s a sweltering afternoon and on a quiet London side street, outside an impossibly chic bakery (it’s where Meghan and Harry had their wedding cake made), academic, author and former-model Emma Dabiri is taking a well-earned break from working on the final manuscript for her forthcoming book: Don’t Touch My Hair.

Before we meet I half considered this a slightly redundant admonition for polite society – why would anyone, bar someone with latent Harvey Weinstein tendencies, touch a woman’s hair unbidden? – but, in person, you can see where the temptation might arise. In this most genteel of settings, Emma’s hair is an event, a happening, a lustrously-beautiful nimbus that frames her fine features. Curiosity and generations of cultural racism seem to spur the urge to pet it, stroke it. I heroically resist, but others are not so strong.

“A few weeks ago a woman reached out to touch my hair on the tube and as she put out her hand she said ‘wait… you don’t like that, do you?’ It was as though some dim memory of editorials she’d read somewhere, came bursting through; she remembered and held herself back a bit.”

Growing up in Dublin, it happened all the time. It was constant. Often kids would just say “oh my God, look at her hair, it’s mad” and come right over and have a feel and a chat”, she recalls. “It felt strange and objectifying. I found it strange because I wouldn’t even touch someone’s dog without asking them. I never questioned all of the treatments (that are used to ‘relax’ black hair) but they weren’t always available to me because it’s difficult to get those products in Ireland. My mum would work in Liverpool or Manchester, and there you could get a curly perm, which is sort of like defined curls, rather than afro hair…

…As for whether she feels ‘more’ Irish or Nigerian, “people often ask me that. To me, it’s not a relevant question. First of all, I was born and raised in Ireland, but really I don’t feel I have to choose. I identify as both black and Irish, it may be unusual – although happily increasingly less so – but the two are not mutually exclusive!…

Read the entire article here.

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Emma: On What It Means to Be “Attracted to Black Girls”

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Work on 2018-04-25 22:22Z by Steven

Emma: On What It Means to Be “Attracted to Black Girls”

Ask Emma: Navigating race and identity in Ireland
Dublin InQuirer
Dublin, Ireland
2018-04-24

Emma Dabiri


Image by Rob Mirolo

In her regular column, Emma Dabiri fields your questions on race and identity in contemporary Ireland. Got something you’ve been pondering? You can send her your questions through this form.

Hi Emma,

I’m a white male Dubliner who is very attracted to black girls. I’ve never been with a black girl, and don’t actually know any black women at all to be honest, but whenever I see a pretty black girl on the street or in the office, I melt.

I’m trying not to sound too weird. I know it’s not good to exoticize. I do watch lots of black porn. I have had no chill on the few opportunities I’ve had to speak to black girls. I feel like flirting is hard enough, but with race, identity, etc. it all becomes overwhelming.

What should I do?

We deliberated quite a lot as to whether or not this was a serious question or the work of a troll. However, as a black woman who grew up on the receiving end of attitudes such as yours, I am pretty convinced of its veracity.

The ideas about what blackness is that inform your “preferences” are centuries old, and sadly are not going away anytime soon. What I write should help you, although I have to admit that in this instance helping you is not my main priority.

Rather, I want to take this opportunity to expose the mechanics behind this way of thinking, and the ways in which these attitudes are damaging and dehumanizing to black people.

What is it about black girls that you find so attractive? We come in all different shades and sizes. Amongst all of the women who could be identified as black, there exists such a huge diversity of features and appearances that it is hard to talk about what a “black woman” looks like in any meaningful way, yet you reduce us to a monolith?…

Read the entire article here.

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Hundreds of Irish march in solidarity with US Black Lives Matter (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2016-07-29 00:48Z by Steven

Hundreds of Irish march in solidarity with US Black Lives Matter (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Irish Central
New York, New York
2016-07-13

IrishCentral Staff Writers


Demonstration in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US took place in Dublin on O’Connell Street. Photo by: RollingNews.ie

Hundreds of Irish marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Dublin, Cork, and Galway, following a week of violence in the United States.

Activists gathered at the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, with over 200 gathering at Daunt Square in Cork and Eyre Square in Galway. The protesters gathered in reaction to the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, earlier this month and the murder of five police officers during a protest in Dallas, Texas, during a Black Lives Matter rally.

Black Lives Matter is a movement, started in the US, that campaigns against the racism, violence and dehumanization of black people. The protest in Dublin was organized by the Anti-Racism Network Ireland and the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland. The Workers Solidarity Movement estimated that there were 1,300 people at the rally in Dublin…

…Cork man Tom spoke to the crowd about his “good fortune” in marrying his Nigerian wife and being “blessed with four mixed race boys.” However, he said he worried about the world they are growing up in and said he does not want to live in a society “where people of color are treated as less than equal.”…

Read the entire article here.

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However, though my mum’s Irish, my father is Nigerian. I am not white! This fact, one that I had never even considered before I returned to the land of a thousand welcomes, now became the defining feature of my existence.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-03-30 02:15Z by Steven

However, though my mum’s Irish, my father is Nigerian. I am not white! This fact, one that I had never even considered before I returned to the land of a thousand welcomes, now became the defining feature of my existence. I remember that first week or so back in Dublin, when I was sent out to play with the local kids. One of the first rhymes I heard was: “Eeny meeeny miny moe. Catch a nigger by da toe.” Who, or what in the hell was “nigger”, I wondered? I soon learned.

Emma Dabiri, “I’m Irish but I’m not white. Why is that still a problem as we celebrate the Easter Rising?,” The Guardian, March 29, 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/29/irish-white-easter-rising-ireland-racism.

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I’m Irish but I’m not white. Why is that still a problem as we celebrate the Easter Rising?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2016-03-30 01:59Z by Steven

I’m Irish but I’m not white. Why is that still a problem as we celebrate the Easter Rising?

The Guardian
2016-03-29

Emma Dabiri

With an Irish mother and Nigerian father, I grew up singing Irish rebel songs. But the racism I experienced was not part of the dreams of 1916’s revolutionaries

I grew up singing Irish rebel songs. One of the first ones I learned, which seared an impression on my young mind, was James Connolly. In the haunting ballad the folk musician Christy Moore laments the 1916 execution of Connolly, the Easter Rising revolutionary, and hero of the working man:

Where oh where is our James Connolly?
Where oh where is that gallant man?
He’s gone to organise the union
That working men they might yet be free.

The song outlines the capture of Connolly, a central figure in the 1916 Easter Rising. On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, Irish republicans desperate to end the British occupation of Ireland mounted an insurrection in Dublin. British forces, with their vastly superior military advantage, quickly crushed the rebels. Nevertheless, these events – the centenary of which was commemorated this weekend – were the catalyst for a long fight for Irish independence that was eventually achieved in 1922…

Read the entire article here.

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Half-white, half-Asian, but no less Irish

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-08-17 01:48Z by Steven

Half-white, half-Asian, but no less Irish

The Irish Examiner
Dublin, Ireland
2015-08-15

Dean Van Nguyen

Half white, half Asian Dubliner Dean Van Nguyen speaks to other mixed-race Irish people in their twenties and thirties about growing up in a primarily white culture, being subjected to racist taunts, and coming to terms with their own sense of self.

Who am I? It’s a simple question, but one we as human beings frequently ask ourselves – it defines our sense of self identity, from childhood right throughout our lives, and can play a major role in shaping the people we become.

When it comes to self-concept, there are some obvious factors that we know from an early age just by examining our circumstances.

For generations of people born in Ireland, many of the key questions seemed pre-answered: You were Irish. You were white. You were Christian.

As African-American comedian Reginald D. Hunter joked at a Vicar Street gig in 2011, Ireland is “where they make white people”.

While the country is becoming ever more pluralist as we get deeper into the 21st century, for those of mixed-race now in their twenties and thirties, the answers to these questions of self-identity have been less simple…

Read the entire article here.

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Dublin has problems. But I am proud to be part of a growing Irish mixed-race grouping…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-09-03 02:43Z by Steven

Dublin has problems. But I am proud to be part of a growing Irish mixed-race grouping, and to be able to see mixed-race people representing Ireland on the world stage whether it’s the new Rose of Tralee Clare Kambamettu, actresses Ruth Negga and Samantha Mumba, TV presenters Baz Ashmawy and Seán Musanje, or sportsmen such as Stephen Reid, Clinton Morrison, the Ó hAilpín brothers, or the late Darren Sutherland.

Zélie Asava, “the truth about dublin — an unfair city,” The Evening Herald, October 2, 2010. http://www.herald.ie/lifestyle/the-truth-about-dublin-an-unfair-city-27963389.html.

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BlackAtlas and Laura Izibor in Dublin, Ireland

Posted in Anthropology, Europe, Media Archive, Videos on 2013-03-20 17:33Z by Steven

BlackAtlas and Laura Izibor in Dublin, Ireland

BlackAtlas
American Airlines
2012-09-28

Laura Izibor, Singer/Songwriter

Singer/Songwriter Laura Izibor explores multicultural Dublin, Ireland through her eyes.  Featured are Temple Bar area, the pubs, the Guinness factory, the Grand Canal, the Royal Canal and a statue of Phil Lynott (the only African-Irish statue in Ireland).

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The Truth About Dublin—An Unfair City

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-03-07 18:32Z by Steven

The Truth About Dublin—An Unfair City

The Evening Herald
Dublin, Ireland
2010-10-02

Zélie Asava

The tradition of a big Irish welcome isn’t always evident to a mixed-race Irish woman in Dublin, writes Zélie Asava

“So where are you from?”

“Dublin .”

“No, like originally”

This is a conversation I have with people on average once every two days. I am a mixed-race Irish woman. But when I tell people that I’m Irish they ask: “Where are you really from?” Instead of red hair and freckles, I have brown hair and skin. Sometimes I tell people I’m from London. After that they don’t ask again because London—unlike Dublin—is regarded as a racial melting pot.

The alternative involves explaining why and how I am from Dublin—where I was born, where my mother is from, where I went to school, where my father is from, and of course, how he met my mother. This sparks other questions like: “How would a Kenyan ever meet an Irish woman?” And: “Are you from Africa?” Understandably, when you’re having the same conversation over and over again, this gets tiresome…

Read the entire article here.

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