• The mixed race Irish family and everyday negotiations of citizenship

      O’Malley, Patti; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2020-07-12)
      In recent years, the mixed race family constellation has emerged as a persistent feature of Irish societal life. An increase in interracial partnering invariably leads to the presence of white women who are parenting children who are ascribed to another race. Yet, nationalist discourses and the incorporation of jus sanguinis principles in constitutional law have constructed a version of Irishness that ‘others’ and excludes the mixed race person. This paper focuses on the white Irish mother and her mixed race (i.e. black African/white Irish) child (ren), as the majority of mixed race families in the State. In fact, this article sets out to provide a novel perspective vis-à-vis the location of the mixed race family in the context of the exclusionary politics of Irish citizenship and how, through their mothering practices, these white women negotiate and challenge dominant ideologies of belonging on behalf of their children. More specifically, this paper examines the mothers’ attempts to establish their children as equal claimants of rights in the Irish public sphere. By drawing on in-depth interviews with twelve white Irish mothers, this paper reveals that the women’s efforts to publicly articulate their mixed race children as legitimate Irish citizens have been largely denied or even, de-politicized. Rather, at the level of citizenship, the racialized insider-outsider dynamic gets reproduced as the political autonomy of such citizens is constrained by notions of phenotype (and bloodline criteria). I further draw attention to the governmental production of these mixed race subjects as ‘failed’ citizens, who must live out their difference silently in the interstitial spaces of the national framework.
    • Mothering 'outsider' children: white women in Black/white interracial families in Ireland

      O’Malley, Patti; University of Bedfordshire (MDPI, 2022-04-19)
      The mixed-race family constellation has emerged as a regular feature of the Irish familial landscape. Such a demographic change invariably leads to the increased presence of white women who are mothering across racialised boundaries. Moreover, in the Irish context, the racial category of whiteness is privileged at a structural level and remains a central organising principle of Irishness as a mode of national belonging. This paper, therefore, sets out to address the specific gap in the literature related to the racialised experiences of the white mother of mixed-race (i.e., black African/white Irish) children in contemporary Ireland as these women are, in effect, mothering ‘outsider’ children in a context of white supremacy. More specifically, how does the positioning of these women’s mixed-race children impact their subjectivities as mothers categorised normatively as white and Irish? Framed by critical whiteness literature, this paper draws on in-depth interviews with twelve white Irish mothers. Data analysis broadly revealed three themes as relates to the women’s negotiations of the racialising discourses and practices which impact their family units. Findings suggest that these women no longer occupy the default position of whiteness as a category of racial privilege and a condition of ‘structured invisibility’. Perhaps, most significantly, the lived reality of these women disturbs the hegemonic conflation of the categories white and Irish. This paper, therefore, extends our theoretical understanding of both whiteness and mixed-race studies. View Full-Text