Through its work, and its close collaboration with the Donegal Intercultural Platform, Donegal Travellers’ Project educates the public about the racism and discrimination that exist in our society and works toward a more just and inclusive society.
Intercultural training is a core, ongoing priority for Donegal Travellers’ Project. Interculturalism is all about recognising the experience of inequality and the struggle for equality and justice.
DTP initiatives, particularly those involved with intercultural training, are designed to create the conditions that challenge injustice and institutional racism, particularly in relation to the Traveller community.
“Intercultural training is really to share different perspectives and to try to understand and learn from different perspectives and different points of view, and to promote an inclusive society that values each other’s contributions,” Kate Hagan, Community Development and Health Worker at Donegal Travellers’ Project, said.
Racism is a hard reality for many Travellers and other members of ethnic minority communities in Ireland.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, “the term ‘racial discrimination’ shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”
Individual racism is prejudice directed at someone because of their ethnic identity. The Irish Traveller Movement website offers examples of individual acts of racism that members of the Traveller community experience regularly, including but not limited to denying Travellers access to a pub or shop, online hate speech, physical or emotional abuse based on their identity, Traveller children being bullied in school because of their ethnic identity, Travellers not being called for job interviews based on their address, and non-Travellers campaigning against sites being built in their locality.
Institutional racism describes institutional attitudes and policies that have a racist effect. ENAR Ireland (the European Network Against Racism Ireland), a national network of anti-racism civil society organisations, says institutional racism can be described as the network of institutional structures, policies and practices that create advantages and benefits for the majority ethnic group, and discrimination, oppression and disadvantage for people from targeted racialized groups and ethnic minority groups.
As is clear, the affects of individual and institutional racism are broad and devastating, affecting all aspects of a person’s life.
A racist incident is any incident that has the effect of undermining a person’s enjoyment or human rights, based on their background. ENAR Ireland and An Garda Síochána are among those that have followed international best practice in adopting this definition of a racist incident: Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.
DTP and the Donegal Intercultural Platform, work with people who want to report racist incidents. There are different ways to do this.
iReport.ie, managed by ENAR Ireland, is a national, confidential and easy to use online racist incident reporting tool. iReport.ie, is also a system for monitoring racism in Ireland while enabling people who experience or witness racism to have their voices heard.
Racist incidents, including crime, discrimination in access to goods and services, and racism and hate speech online, can be reported in confidence to iReport.ie by filling out the online form at the website and describing the incident. Reports sent to ENAR Ireland are fully confidential.
Quarterly reports based on data collected through the incident reported system can be viewed online at the ENAR Ireland website, enarireland.org.
However, using >iReport.ie, does not replace reporting racist incidents to authorities. DTP will support members of the community who wish to report a racist incident to authorities.
In other work, DTP’s intercultural initiatives provide workshops through a participative space and DTP has already brought these workshops to many services and organisations, including community and voluntary sector groups, secondary and third-level schools, and frontline health care services.
An intercultural approach involves the exchange of views between people of different cultures, in order to build trust, understanding and respect. New and marginalised communities must feel able to participate in every area of society, and so participation by all in society is a key aim.
For more information on intercultural training offered by DTP, and anti-racism reporting, contact Kate at Donegal Travellers’ Project on 074 912 9281 or call by the offices at 73 Port Road, Gortlee, Letterkenny.