33 min

Jude Hughes Between Us: Stories of Unconscious Bias

    • Society & Culture

"Let's say now, you're getting married. You've no relations to call on to come to your wedding. You're aware of that at the time. Then when your first kid is born, you've nobody to ring up and tell -  aunts, uncles or anybody. Nobody to ring up. You have plenty of friends and that, which is great. But you could always feel the other person had all the wives, uncles, aunts to ring up, whereas I had none of that. Now, I thought about it, but I didn't let it get under my skin. Because if you allowed things like that to get under your skin, you'd be seriously affected. And I wouldn't let it affect me, because I still knew I had to survive and get on with my life."

Jude Hughes was born in Dublin in 1941, to an unmarried Irish woman and a black man. He was initially told his father was from Trinidad. He spent his early life in St. Patrick's mother and baby home. The rest of Jude's childhood was spent in institutions - first in a convent, and later in an industrial school, where he learned a trade. Growing up in Ireland, he rarely saw another black person.

Linked to Jude’s story is the recent report of Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation, released on 12th January 2021. The 3,000-page report details the conduct and survivors of religious institutions in Ireland. These institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage. Most relevant to Jude is the policy of the institutions preventing him from tracing his parents, or as Jude says, being told that the information was 'redacted'. Ireland denies adopted people the legal right to their own information and files. The report is understood to chronicle many of the lies and obfuscations of priests, nuns and officials.

"Let's say now, you're getting married. You've no relations to call on to come to your wedding. You're aware of that at the time. Then when your first kid is born, you've nobody to ring up and tell -  aunts, uncles or anybody. Nobody to ring up. You have plenty of friends and that, which is great. But you could always feel the other person had all the wives, uncles, aunts to ring up, whereas I had none of that. Now, I thought about it, but I didn't let it get under my skin. Because if you allowed things like that to get under your skin, you'd be seriously affected. And I wouldn't let it affect me, because I still knew I had to survive and get on with my life."

Jude Hughes was born in Dublin in 1941, to an unmarried Irish woman and a black man. He was initially told his father was from Trinidad. He spent his early life in St. Patrick's mother and baby home. The rest of Jude's childhood was spent in institutions - first in a convent, and later in an industrial school, where he learned a trade. Growing up in Ireland, he rarely saw another black person.

Linked to Jude’s story is the recent report of Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation, released on 12th January 2021. The 3,000-page report details the conduct and survivors of religious institutions in Ireland. These institutions housed women and girls who became pregnant outside marriage. Most relevant to Jude is the policy of the institutions preventing him from tracing his parents, or as Jude says, being told that the information was 'redacted'. Ireland denies adopted people the legal right to their own information and files. The report is understood to chronicle many of the lies and obfuscations of priests, nuns and officials.

33 min

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