Modern Ireland has changed greatly,
and become multicultural.
When I was growing up,
the closest I ever got to someone who was black,
was when I saw famine in Ethiopia,
or watched The Cosby Show.
Living in Australia,
was my first experience of living and working,
with a variety of different nationalities.
I loved the diversity.
One of my very closest friends,
was a wonderful character,
who so happened to be black.
After I returned to Ireland,
and had children,
She and her husband paid us a visit.
I was so excited to see my buddy again.
She would be staying two weeks,
and bringing their young son.
We were getting ready to collect her,
when it occurred to me,
that my daughter and the little girl I minded,
had never seen anyone who was black.
They were five years old.
I decided, just in case they remarked on it,
I would mention it.
“Now, I said, when P arrives,
you will notice she is black”.
They looked at me blankly.
“You see your skin, I said,
well we would say you are both white”.
“But P is much darker than you,
even darker than we get when we have a tan”.
“Do you mean she is brown?”, my daughter said.
” Yes dark brown”, said the other little one,
as they both nodded their heads.
“No, I said, you don’t say brown,
you say black”.
“So she is not brown?” they said.
At this point I was so sorry,
I had even started this conversation.
“Look, I said, it does not matter what we call her colour,
I just wanted to tell you, so that when she arrives,
off the plane you will easily see her”.
Genius I thought to myself,
end of questions,
and no embarrassment at the airport.
Off we went to the airport,
and the girls were so excited,
waiting to meet our visitor.
I was too.
They were now talking about my friend,
with no mention of colour!
Soon the passengers began to appear.
Our airport is very small,
so the two girls happily ran forward,
to greet our guest.
Being so young and excited,
I could see some people smiling in their direction.
Then I heard them shout,
“Here she is!”, and they ran forward.
To my horror,
a lady who I did not know was coming towards them,
who so happened to be black!!!
I roared to them,
and thankfully they ran back to me.
“That is not P”, I said.
At that moment P arrived.
“There she is”, I said.
They looked at my friend then back to me.
“She is not black, they said,
that lady is black”, and they pointed to the other lady.
I was mortified.
I had actually caused the embarrassing situation,
I had done my best to avoid!
My friend was so very amused by it all.
During the visit she looked in vain
for the only other black woman in Cork city.
However on subsequent visits,
I left it for the children to notice her skin,
or comment about it.
And they never did.
It taught me that political correctness is an adult led thing,
children seem to take as they find!