‘You don’t get to be racist and Irish’ — Imelda May pens powerful anti-racism poem

‘You don’t get to be racist and Irish’ — Imelda May pens powerful anti-racism poem

DUBLIN MUSICIAN Imelda May has lent her voice to Ireland’s anti-racism movement with the powerful protest poem titled: You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in the US and the nationwide protests that have followed it, people across Ireland have been reflecting on their country’s own issues with race. 

It’s led to mass demonstrations in Dublin and cities like Galway and Cork as well as acknowledgement among leaders across the political divide that change is required. 

May’s poem offers up a unique insight and perspective on the issue. 

It serves as a wake-up call and reminder that Ireland’s own history of being on the receiving end of oppression makes racism on these shores inexcusable. 

“You don’t get to be proud of your heritage, plights, and fights for freedom while kneeling on the neck of another,” May writes in a pointed reference to Mr. Floyd’s death at the hands of a US cop. 

“We emigrated, we immigrated. We took refuge, so cannot refuse when it’s our time to return the favour,” she states at another point in the piece, reminding people across Ireland of their duty not only as citizens but human beings to do better. 

A powerful response to the events of the past few days, You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish can be read, in full, below: 

You don’t get to be racist and Irish 

You don’t get to be proud of your heritage, 

plights and fights for freedom 

while kneeling on the neck of another! 

You’re not entitled to sing songs 

of heroes and martyrs 

mothers and fathers who cried 

as they starved in a famine 

Or of brave hearted 

soft spoken 

poets and artists 

lined up in a yard 

blindfolded and bound 

Waiting for Godot 

and point blank to sound 

We emigrated 

We immigrated 

We took refuge 

So cannot refuse 

When it’s our time 

To return the favour 

Land stolen 

Spirits broken 

Bodies crushed and swollen 

unholy tokens of Christ, Nailed to a tree 

(That) You hang around your neck 

Like a noose of the free 

Our colour pasty 

Our accents thick 

Hands like shovels 

from mortar and bricklaying 

foundation of cities 

you now stand upon 

Our suffering seeps from every stone 

your opportunities arise from 

Outstanding on the shoulders 

of our forefathers and foremother’s 

who bore your mother’s mother 

Our music is for the righteous 

Our joys have been earned 

Well deserved and serve 

to remind us to remember 

More Blacks 

More Dogs 

More Irish. 

Still labelled leprechauns, Micks, Paddy’s, louts 

we’re shouting to tell you 

our land, our laws 

are progressively out there 

We’re in a chrysalis 

state of emerging into a new 

and more beautiful Eire/era 

40 Shades Better 

Unanimous in our rainbow vote 

we’ve found our stereotypical pot of gold 

and my God it’s good. 

So join us.. 'cause 

You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish.