Before we start talking about Antirumours Agents, a “rumour” as we see it in C4i should be defined. We do not aim to fight all the rumours there are in the public space. Not only we consider it impossible, it just would not be a sensible thing to do! We only deal with one specific type of rumours, directly connected to stereotypes and prejudices about persons representing a different ethnic or national group. We do not deal with social or work rumours – we target statements that sound more or less like one of the rumours identified within the C4i in one of our partner cities, Limerick (IE):
Poles kill and eat swans.
We all know this is absurd, but somehow it catched on. There are many more of these absurd and unfounded convictions among the Polish, Irish, German, Spanish or Portuguese.
Immigrants get free buggies from social services.
Immigrants starting their own business do not have to pay taxes.
Foreign students steal subsidies from the Polish.
Refugees consume the money that could be spent on support to the Poles in need.
are just some examples of statements that spread from mouth to mouth and gain unexpected power: antagonise peacefully coexisting groups and prevent any sort of integration from happening. In our opinion, shared by experts all over the world, intercultural integration is the key to build coherent, well functioning, trusting and respectful local communities.
Such statements are nothing more but rumours – unfounded generalisations and interpretations of the facts based on wrong assumptions. They come from lack of information. And lack of competence in sharing the information by the persons responsible.
Our job is to train Antirumour Agents to handle this.
Antirumour Agent is a person who is committed to carrying out the role of raising awareness and breaking imaginary and false conceptions about culturally diverse citizens. He or she values diversity and wants all residents of local community to be treated with equal respect.
If you are interested in becoming an Antirumour Agent, please see the dates and places available here.