Common against interracial dating

follows a black man who meets his white girlfriend’s parents.

The films couldn’t be more different in approach, but both are cutting works that explore historical injustices, lasting prejudices and social taboos.

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What of Ireland, though, a country with a relatively short history of pluralism and diversity.

This is a nation where marrying another kind of Christian was once the stuff of backyard gossip and condemnation, forget throwing other religions, cultures and races into the mix.

Straight-up racism was slugged at the couple like a brick to the chest.

“There was one time we went to Tesco,” remembers Otukoya.

He was a youthful black man who had moved to Ireland from Nigeria when he was nine. From the moment their union was forged, the young lovers’ came under a hydraulic press of neighbourhood gossip, disapproving friends and constant sideways glances.

“If looks could kill,” Otukoya says, “I’d probably be dead at this stage.” Not everyone uncomfortable with a romance between a black man and white woman was as tactile.

“People don’t see interracial relationships as ‘normal’, even if people wouldn’t directly go up to your face and attack you,” says Chess Law, a 19-year-old student from Ballymena whose parents are originally from Shanghai and Hong Kong.

“A lot of white people in particular don’t see it as normal.

Reaction to interracial coupling is not one-size-fits-all, either.

According to statistics released by the European Network Against Racism (Enar) Ireland last August, people of “black-African” background were involved in the highest number of reported cases of racist assaults.

I have spent several weeks speaking to couples and people with various experiences from across the spectrum of interracial dating.

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