A sad example of raciest violence occurred in Belfast on Tuesday the 16th of June.
In my experience, the people who harbour raciest views, and especially in this case, who will resort to violence and intimidation are from “disadvantaged backgrounds” read- unskilled, uneducated and bored young men. Northern Ireland is a still a very divided place, not only class and religion but sexuality, as Fiona noted in her OP-Ed, NI is very hostile to homosexuals. All this, is both paradoxically shocking and unsurprising.
One night, for example, as I came home from Belfast, to the little town of Comber, I saw two small posters, one was for the KKK! Yes the KKK, the wholly discredited and humiliated KKK from America in the fifties!. The other, using similar design read FUCK ISLAM. All this is very disturbing.
In my experience, these problems do seem to come from the Loyalist or Unionist side of Northern Ireland. There is a good reason why this is so, even if the people engaged in the recent attacks did so without this in mind - NI is largely a “protestant” country, most immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe are Catholic. They fear, perhaps, being swamped by Catholics. More Catholics, hence united Ireland. I doubt this is rational, nor am I confident that this is what motivates the hatred Ulster Protestants have for outsiders. The simple explanation would be hysteria, ignorance and bigotry whipped up to a crescendo by the economic downturn.