"I never thought I was black until I got here" - Author Melatu Uche Okorie on Ireland's racial issues
"Irish people make judgements based on what they hear from one side."
Nigerian-born Melatu Uche Okorie arrived in Ireland 12 years ago seeking asylum, and spent eight-and-a-half years of the time since in direct provision.
Since then, she has had a book published - this year's The Hostel Life - as well as being a PhD candidate at Trinity College, having already received an MA in Creative Writing.
The author is our guest on Ireland Unfiltered this week, speaking with host Dion Fanning on a number of issues including the crippling impact of direct provision, her opinion on the Irish Government and the daily racism encountered in this country.
Additionally, Okorie had some powerful words to say about Irish people in general.
"What I find about Irish people, people make judgements based on what they hear from one side," she opines.
"They don’t actually try to, you know, almost hear the other side of the story or ask you what is your, you know, this person said that to me, what do you think, explain yourself.
Subscribe to hear the full interview here.
"I never hear that, people just, you know, I take it as an Irish thing per se, because it’s something that you would in every court of law, you would hear both sides of the story before you make any judgement, wouldn’t that be the case? But I find that’s not the case when it comes to Ireland.
"When I say things I’m saying it almost like I’m saying it to my own people. I don’t bother criticising people that I don’t know or people I don’t like or people that I don’t want to have anything to do with, you know, that’s a waste of my time and energy.
"And I don’t see it as a criticism, I’m just saying this is a way we can make it better and I’m open to someone telling me this is a way you can make your life better as well because that would make me a better person as well. It’s coming from a place of love."
You can watch the full interview below.
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