Prior to the 2016 EU referendum, there was an observable increase in racist and anti-immigrant sentiment in many media outlets, and expressed publicly by politicians and community leaders across the United Kingdom. The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey has asked questions on attitudes to minority ethnic communities since 2005, examining self-reported prejudice, perceptions of prejudice, acceptance of minority ethnic groups in intimate relationships and levels of interaction. The data therefore provides a valuable indicator of the vulnerability of Northern Ireland to xenophobic discourses which understate the value of diversity and migration, and emphasises self-segregation and exclusion.
I’m pleased to have just completed a report for ARK on the 2015 ILT survey data on attitudes to ethnic minorities, and look forward to its release soon! I’ll be posting a link to it here, along with additional commentary on the data.
You can see previous reports on the NILT webpage on attitudes to ethnic minorities.
From my student Cassie Murray, who has been working with Barnardos to help refugee families arriving in Northern Ireland.
“I have recently had the privilege of working with the refugee families that have recently arrived into the country and provided care through Barnardos, among other charities. My role was to care for the children whilst the adults went to conferences and meetings throughout the day.
This experience really opened my eyes to the struggle they have faced to get to this point. They were all very easy to work with and despite the language barrier, we were still able to communicate, play and laugh. When learning about what they have been through, it is horrifying. However working with them on a one to one basis made it much more real than reading or hearing about it on the news.
We need to work together, to make sure their movement into a new society (with a different language, culture, food and norms), is as easy for them as possible, as they do not deserve to face any more barriers. If the situation occurred differently, we could be in the position they’re in, looking for the help of people in a new country. A little bit of compassion and care can go a very long way.
Barnardos help as much as they can to make this a reality. If anyone is interesting in volunteering with them, please visit their website.”