Migration, whiteness and Irish racism
in Critical race theory and inequality in the labour market
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In order to introduce a CRT perspective to how we look at and talk about racism in Ireland, this chapter examines the symbolic use of colour in emphasising the perceived difference of racialised Irish people in their diaspora settings. It also discusses how whiteness has historically been mobilised to centralise Irish interests both at home and abroad, altering their positioning from colonised to coloniser. The cartography of the top tiers of the Irish labour market presents us with a false picture of a monocultural Ireland. This is in contradiction to census data which demonstrate the presence of newcomers within its borders, including Ireland’s ethnic minorities – the Irish Travellers. A key argument in the chapter is that rather than racism between White bodies invalidating skin colour as a locus of understanding racism, deviation from Eurocentric norms was employed to darken actors and influence the symbolic colour of the perceived difference ascribed to racialised Irish people on both sides of the Atlantic. While Ireland has been a welcoming state, this chapter discusses inconsistencies through its relationship with the Irish Travellers – the Irish racial other – and Ireland’s relationship with its migrant population from the early 1900s to the present.

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