The vast majority of young adults believe racism is having a negative effect on society, with online racism seen as a significant concern.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is releasing its submission to the Government’s National Action Plan Against Racism with a warning that a youth work sector which can help tackle racism needs to be properly resourced.
The NYCI commissioned a Red C poll of more than 1,000 young adults, made up of NYCI members, conducted last April.
It found that:
- 79% of those aged 18 to 24 stated that racism is a significant issue online (compared with 69% on average);
- 77% of those aged 18 to 24 stated that Ireland needs a National Action Plan Against Racism (compared with 66% on average);
- 80% of those aged 18 to 24 recognised that racism is having a negative impact on Irish society (compared with 63% on average);
- 64% of those aged 18 to 24 also believe that racism is more significant in other countries, and 44% of those aged 18 to 24 stated that racism is an issue in the area they live, compared to 21% in the general population.
NYCI spokesperson Valery Molay said: “While these issues are not new, young people are more aware of them than most, and the youth work sector is ideally placed to tackle them.
"We must not lose sight of this as any new plan is drawn up.
In addition, people do not see the pervasive nature of racism in structural and institutional forms.
“However, the figure of 80% of those aged 18 to 24 who recognise the negative impact it has on society does indicate increased awareness of racism amongst younger people."
The NYCI also referred to young people speaking at a recent consultation on the development of the National Action Plan Against Racism and the concerns they raised.
One Asian male said: "Policing affects me daily. I wear a backpack cos I'm going to school. I'm stopped by the gardaí and asked for my bag. My white friends are told to move on.”
It also wants to see increased diversity in a range of areas, including mental health provision, improved access to services, and it said the National Action Plan Against Racism for Ireland needs to be fully costed and funded, be cross-departmental and cross-sectoral, be long-term in scope, have clear timelines, concrete objectives, and measurable outcomes.
As for tackling hate speech and online racist content, it said one option was to "apply sanctions on social media companies, and users, who allow or share racist content, to counteract the endemic online racism and the hate speech that young people encounter".
It also recommended resourcing An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice to work in collaboration with the Far-Right Observatory to tackle organised far-right activism.