IS it a far reach to say that implicit bias, unconscious prejudice, and stereotypes are harmful? I don’t think so. Sometimes they can be just as harmful as overt racism. Remember when two black men waiting on a friend at a Starbucks were arrested by Philadelphia police for loitering, or when Dove Soap ran an advertisement on Facebook showing a black woman turning white after using their soap? These instances imply that black men sitting in a cafe are a threat and that black skin is dirty. Pretty nasty, isn’t it?

We Scots played a central role in the British Empire, providing it with much of its managerial class. As we come to terms with that stain on our history, we also must strive to be better. We’ve applauded the English football team for taking a stand against racism toward its players and fans. But how many of us look the other way when our invisible minorities are abused?

Anti-Irish racism has a long and shameful history in our country that goes beyond football. The Church of Scotland Report of 1923 made it quite clear that they were not blindly opposed to Roman Catholics – they were specifically opposed to Irish Catholics as “they are of a different race”.

The Church of Scotland has officially dropped this view and apologised in 2003, but too many Scots hang on to this legacy.

How many of us associate the Irish with alcoholism, vandalism, organised crime and poverty? These stereotypes are racist. When we casually refer to the Irish as “Tims” we are referring to a historical street gang from Glasgow, implying that all Irish are members of criminal organisations. Imagine if all black people were called “Crips” or we referred to our Muslim neighbours as “Isis”.

I’ve been working on the issue of “sectarianism” from the day I got elected. I have approached this as someone who has lived through it and long ago recognised there are two sides to every argument. The truth of the matter is that despite both sides participating, one side in particular takes the vile and bigotry to another level.

This hatred is strengthened through a delusional sense of entitlement. These hooligans believe that the rules – our laws – do not apply to them. Glasgow city centre was wrecked twice in six weeks due to this.

I recognise how difficult and demanding the job of the police is. But just a few weeks prior to the riots, the police were marching alongside the mob as they marched (illegally) towards George Square? This could only have given the crowd the confidence that there would be no interference in any future marches.

What sanctions are there for singing anti-Irish, anti-Catholic songs and chants in Scotland? None! Where else in British football do fans sing about a street gang founded by a fascist who joined the Ku Klux Klan? Nowhere!

Uefa saw the Billy Boys song for what it was and banned it. Yet the domestic authorities in Scotland have yet to act.

Whenever I call for some accountability, I receive death threats, threats of legal action and get lambasted by journalists. Are we all too scared to call out the underlying issues? Or is there something else at play?

After the George Square riots in May, there was a video going around showing Rangers staff and players appearing to sing ‘F*** the Pope.’ I commented on Twitter that I would be contacting the police and if the video proved in any way to be doctored, I would take down my tweet and apologise. I finally received a full response from the police informing me that the video had been doctored and I deleted my tweet.

The National:

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I got involved because I was contacted by concerned constituents that were frightened by this video. I did my job. I will not apologise to Rangers fans for vindicating them and proving their innocence to the media. Yet I am inundated with stories about my “refusal” to apologise. Where are the demands for fans, the club or any of the revellers (including a police officer) to apologise for rioting in the city?

A month later, during a six-minute speech in Parliament, I used a non-Glasgow example of implicit bias and unconscious racism in an attempt to highlight that Scotland’s issues around recognition of the Irish community extend beyond Glasgow football.

At no time did I accuse any staff or management of Lothian Buses of racism, bigotry or anti-Irish/Catholic behaviour. I explicitly made the point that the decision to cancel buses solely on St Patrick’s Day was made without considering the message for the Irish community of the implicit bias that too many people in Scotland still hold.

According to Police Scotland, 42% of religiously motivated hate crimes are committed against Roman Catholics. Adding to stereotypes by not taking consideration of communities in business decisions is a reckless one which reinforces existing beliefs.

“Dornan is of Irish descent (Dornan is an Irish Celtic surname), grievance and bitterness are bred into them” is a response to a tweet that names me as a “bitter and twisted old bigot”.

Now, the number of emails that said “Go back to Ireland, you bigot” amused me. I’ve been to that beautiful country twice. Somehow, I am a bigot for using Lothian buses as an example of how the Irish community does not register in a way that other communities throughout Scotland do.

It is time that changed.

There can be no argument that the Irish community is disregarded in ways that other communities are not. For example, we would, quite rightly, not allow anti-Islam marches every Saturday of the summer and yet just this weekend we’ve started our typical summer of Orange marches. It’s time Scotland investigated the best way to minimise the number, or stop, marches that are designed to intimidate and harass Catholics and Irish.

I want to make a couple of things clear before I finish: I am not a Catholic. I’m atheist.

I am not Irish. I’m a proud Scot.

However, just because I am not gay or a member of a visible minority does not mean I cannot be an anti-homophobia or anti-racism.

Scotland has a problem that we still refuse to acknowledge.

It’s time to accept that and deal with Scotland’s last acceptable taboo.

But before we can do that, we must properly name it for what it is: ant-Irish racism.

That is why I am proposing a cross-party group on the Irish community in Scotland. A forum for people across Scotland to discuss the benefits the Irish have brought to this country and how we can ensure that the Irish community is recognised as an important, and distinct, part of Scotland’s culture and demography.