A French woman of colour living in Dublin says the city is getting more and more aggressive and she now fears "ending up in hospital" due to her skin colour.
Irish Independent journalist Sylvia Omorodion recently wrote that the city she has “fallen in love with” in the last two years seems to be getting more dangerous.
“There have been incidents where I just think, ‘I could say one thing and everything could go wrong’,” she told The Pat Kenny Show.
She explained that she has had many near-misses when it comes to racial harassment.
“It's the fear of knowing that one day I could piss someone off and could end up in hospital,” she said.
'Get the eff out of the country'
Ms Omorodion highlighted one incident where a man asked her for spare change – but when she “kindly” said she didn’t have any change and apologised, he became “entitled, demanding [and] expecting”.
“The moment I said [sorry], he told me to ‘get the eff out of the country’,” she said.
“He repeated it again and it was so loud that you could hear it from the other side of the road [when] I was crossing.
“This case is something I would call white privilege – somehow, he felt that, if I can’t give him money, I don’t deserve to be here.”
'I felt them pulling my braids'
In another incident at a Dublin cinema, a group of teenage boys began throwing popcorn at Ms Omorodion’s braided hair.
“I told them to stop,” she said. “All of a sudden I felt one of them pulling my braids.”
“I was just shocked because immediately I thought something that is part of my identity suddenly became a source of amusement.”
When the film ended, Ms Omorodion quickly fled to the bathroom out of fear the boys would continue to harass her.
“People might think it’s just a light case, but there’s so many ways that it could have gone wrong,” she said.
'I shouldn't be okay with it'
Ms Omorodion believes her identity as a Black woman who is not from Ireland has contributed to the harassment she has experienced.
“Without even opening my mouth, the first thing [the man asking for change] saw was my skin colour, thinking ‘she’s originally from Africa and it’s a privilege she’s here’,” she said.
“And being a woman, [people might think] she’s defenceless, she probably won’t fight back.”
Despite loving her experience in Dublin and knowing what other people say can’t “make [her] feel less of a person”, Ms Omorodion is frustrated with the reality she is stuck with.
“I shouldn’t be okay with it, but somehow, I am because it is actually part of our reality,” she said.
Main image: Splitscreen of Sylvia Omorodian and the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin.