In dying times, the knowledge of the past is lost, leading to tragedies of displacement within the soul which bring misery:
Overt discrimination has happened sometimes, but the feeling of “otherness” has plagued me all my life. My halcyon memories of holidays in Ireland are marred by occasional smudges. I remember my father building sandcastle forts on the beach in the rain for me and my brother, Mum singing Christy Moore in a pub and cliff walks with my cousins. But I also remember feeling ashamed to lay claim to Irishness. And sometimes, I was reminded that I wouldn’t be able to.
There was the time a group of teenagers at a village festival made monkey noises at me, and the feigned nonchalance I adopted, aged 13, after a boy turned me down for a kiss on the basis that I was “too brown”. Aged 21, I had to laugh when a barely coherent man in a Limerick nightclub asked me if I spoke English as I was just approaching the end of my degree. And as recently as six months ago, an Irishman in New York City told me I “wasn’t really Irish”.
As Irish-Nigerian writer Emma Dabiri notes: “Whiteness is ‘pure’ and doesn’t extend to brown girls, even those who can trace their Irish ancestry back to the 10th century.” It was for that reason I once turned down my mother’s offer of Irish dancing lessons.
To be between tribes is to always be unsure of one’s own identity and place, to never feel comfortable anywhere. In the mad pursuit of the ideology of equality, people are sacrificed, with their contentment and happiness coming first. A person who is half-Irish and half-Nigerian will never have a home, and be doomed to wander alone, wondering where peace can be found.