Derry Journal Editorial: It’s time to face racism in Derry

As news emerged last week of two racist attacks in a matter of months in Derry, it’s time to take an active approach to combating racism for good in the city.

It came to light last week that two women in Derry were victim to racist attacks in their hometowns. One woman was verbally and physically assaulted in the Waterside in an unprovoked attack, while another woman’s home was targeted with eggs, faeces and racist and homophobic slurs written on a car in the driveway. Both of these attacks were met with an outpouring of disgust and anger on behalf of the victims but life moves on, more stories evoke emotions and that’s that. But not if you’re black or brown in Derry.

One of the victims said ‘every black person in Derry is talking about racism’. Every black person. But what about the white people? It’s not black people who are committing these violent attacks on their neighbours. It’s not brown people who are asking their white colleagues where they are ‘really’ from and it’s not Asian people who are holding their purses that bit closer to themselves when a white person comes into the shop. It’s white people who are racist and it’s white people who should be trying to fix it. We should be listening when our neighbours, colleagues and friends talk about the racism they encounter every day in Derry and we should be working to put a stop to it.

Each of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves and to better ourselves. We shouldn’t rely on victims of racial abuse to tell us why what we say or do is hurtful, we should reflect on our own words and our own actions and think how they would impact another person. We should read books, studies, articles and online testimonies from people who are willing to share their trauma in order for us to learn. If we hear a racist remark or comment, we should call it out. Make it so that racists are not comfortable expressing their hateful views and that they question why they have those views in the first place. We should talk to our children about how the racist ‘jokes’ they hear from their friends at school are not okay and expose them to different cultures by taking them to the many events that take place in the city.

The Peace Bridge in Derry.

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Derry prides itself on being a welcoming and open city who come together in a time of need. The time is now to come together and put a stop to racism for good so that every Derry person feels comfortable and safe in our city.