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He was a youthful black man who had moved to Ireland from Nigeria when he was nine. From the moment their union was forged, the young lovers’ came under a hydraulic press of neighbourhood gossip, disapproving friends and constant sideways glances.
“If looks could kill,” Otukoya says, “I’d probably be dead at this stage.” Not everyone uncomfortable with a romance between a black man and white woman was as tactile.
“People don’t see interracial relationships as ‘normal’, even if people wouldn’t directly go up to your face and attack you,” says Chess Law, a 19-year-old student from Ballymena whose parents are originally from Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The films couldn’t be more different in approach, but both are cutting works that explore historical injustices, lasting prejudices and social taboos.But his experiences have soured him on the idea of ever entering an interracial relationship again.“I wouldn’t dare put another girl through that again,” he says.You can sense you’ve crossed a barrier you shouldn’t, and that becomes a problem.” There are other disparities in experiences, depending on what part of the country a couple lives in, their social circles, and family history.Tara Stewart and Karl Mangan, for example, report no tangible distinction between their relationship and anyone else’s, but they see themselves as living in a liberal bubble.