'It's a little different': Stylist Lawson Mpame on Ireland's 'subtle' racism
“It was overwhelming and it was touching to see the amount of people who showed up to support us. We were united as one. We spoke up as one."
Irish stylist Lawson Mpame is one of the thousands who marched against racism in Dublin over the bank holiday weekend.
The Black Lives Matter demonstration dominated the city (and social media) on Monday, as countless people took to the streets to protest the treatment of people of colour, and the consistent racism that still exists in Ireland.
“Most people think it happens but they’re not really aware of it," Lawson tells Her. "Some of the racism that happens here, it’s a little different from [racism in] America.
"It’s not necessarily police brutality or black people being killed. It’s more subtle racism where there’s jokes, or maybe not getting a job because of the colour of your skin. It's a bit more subtle."
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Lawson says that it is this more subtle racism that continues to discriminate against people of colour in Ireland. This also stops a lot of people from realising that racism is still an issue here.
There are, however, practical things that we can do to help, and to change the way things are here in Ireland.
“For starters, it’s acknowledging that there is a difference between how we’re treated,” says Lawson. "There’s a lot of things we have to face on a daily basis that you don’t have to deal with."
Essentially, we need to start by "acknowledging that there is racism here." And then, educate, listen, and learn.
"Have a chat with people of colour and find out about their experiences,” says Lawson. "That way you can educate yourself and make yourself aware of what’s going on at the moment.”
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#BLACKLIVESMATTER Today I will tell you my stories of my experiences with Racism here in Ireland. Ranging from the extremely overt to the covert. I will also touch on the massive under representation we have in all aspects here in Ireland be it on the TV, radio, magazines etc and don't even go there with that whole "There aren't any POC to fill these roles" crap there are but you choose to ignore them and not even give them a chance. Majority have left and brought their talent to other countries because they knew they would never get the recognition here no matter how much they worked hard or were talented at what they do. Many are afraid to speak up but I refuse to be SILENT AND YES I MIGHT EVEN LOSE JOBS BECAUSE OF THIS. THEY WILL COME AFTER ME FOR THIS I saw a lot of brands, business, publications post the Black Squares yesterday which I am not gonna lie just felt disingenuous and a bit of a joke. Majority of you don't even have any POC working for you, yet you claim to care. Don't just post Black Lives Matter just so it seems like you are supportive of the movement. Look internally and start addressing these issues. Start making a CHANGE. LEARN,ACKNOWLEDGE,CHANGE #LEARN #ACKNOWLEDGE #CHANGE #WEWILLNOTBESILENCED
Dublin's first anti-racism march garnered a lot of support on social media, but it did also generate some criticism concerning the social distancing rules currently in place.
"This is something that means so much to us that we're willing to take that risk," says Lawson.
"It started off well but it got messy when we got to the embassy. We weren’t expecting so much people [but] the guards were there.
“If you go to the beach right now, the beach is absolutely packed. I feel like people are picking out the protest and making a thing about it. Right now the beaches are packed, the canal is packed.
"Why criticise something that matters to us?”
You can follow Lawson on Instagram here.