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Singer Imelda May recites poem You Don’t Get to be Irish and Racist

Irish singer Imelda May has released a video of her reciting a poem called You Don’t Get to be Irish and Racist.

Imelda May You Don't Get to be Irish and Racist

May wrote the poem in response to the killing of black American George Floyd and the wave of Black Lives Matter protests it created around the world.

The poem references how the Irish were often subjected to racial abuse themselves and are still labelled “leprechauns, micks, paddies and louts”.

There are powerful references to Irish culture and history and how they cannot exist alongside racist wrongdoing.

“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!”

She also references the famine as the “heroes and martyrs who cried as they starved in a famine”.

There’s the Easter Rising leaders, the “brave-hearted soft-spoken poets and artists lined up in a yard blindfolded and bound”.

She says we often sought refuge ourselves and so should not refuse refuge to others now. She also references the signs that appeared in England in the 1950s, No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish and turns it to More Dogs, More Blacks, More Irish.

This is the poem in full and video below shows May reciting it.

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.

Watch Imelda May reciting the poem

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