I like sneering facetiously at well-meaning posters. Do you?
Okay, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way first. I delight in the changes that immigration has brought to Irish society. Ireland of the 1980s looks ever more like a monocultural backwater when set beside the diverse country it …
Okay, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way first. I delight in the changes that immigration has brought to Irish society. Ireland of the 1980s looks ever more like a monocultural backwater when set beside the diverse country it is today. I think that any effort — however feeble — to make slope-headed racists more accepting of those changes is worthy of approval. If you’re looking for an old school, card-carrying champion of liberal pluralism then I am your only man. “Immigration problem” you say, Mr Taxi-Driver? In my mind the only problem is that there isn’t nearly enough immigration.
So why does this current One City anti-racism campaign fill me with such undiluted fury? You know the ones. “I think the Dublin Bike Scheme is a great idea. Do you?” a North African lady asks. “I swim the Fortyfoot every Christmas. Do you?” another person of colour remarks. Bleurgh!
I suppose it’s partly the fact that I resent being talked down to in such a fashion. To suggest that I don’t think an African lady would be interested in doing the Liffey Swim is to call me a moron. It’s also the psychotic jolliness of the images. If somebody of any colour approached me and began babbling about the National Basketball Arena — as one poster does — then I would immediately call for the white-coated men with the butterfly nets. Moreover, the stuff they are interested in is so dull — swimming, feeding ducks, basketball — that I find myself actually turning against the blameless subjects. Yes, I guess people of all colours are capable of being grinning bores. But it’s not quite the best line to take in an anti-racism campaign.
Can I be alone? Am I the only misanthrope who groans at the sight of these things?
Frankly, I’d go for a less cozy approach. I suggest three-sheet posters with the legend RACISTS ARE %&*£S! plastered across the centre. It would do about as much good as the One City Campaign, but it would raise my spirits whenever I glimpsed it.