‘I make myself small and stay quiet’: Experiences of racism in Ireland

Black Irish Lives: The Irish Times asked black people and people of colour to share their stories

The Irish Times invited black people and people of colour in Ireland to share their personal stories of growing up, living and working in this country, their experiences of identity and racism, and their views on what needs to be done to make Ireland a more inclusive society. From the responses we received, here is a selection

Youssef Khalifa: ‘I make myself small and I stay quiet’

I don’t often speak up about these things. I learned from an early age that it was less uncomfortable to stay quiet, and play along.

I was born in 1983 to a Libyan father and an Irish mother, in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin. I grew-up in Tallaght. Until you hear my name or look at my passport, no-one notices me. It’s easier to not be noticed and to get on with it - this is the big lesson I have taken from primary school, and carry with me to this day. I have passing privilege if I keep my life small. So I do. No-one should have to do this.

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