Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Irish in America yet again

I think that the reason that books like "How the Irish Invented Slang", which is demonstrably false, piss me off so much is that they give the Irish privileged minority status while looking over the fact that there are a hell of a lot of Irish people in the United States that hate blacks, hispanics, Asians, you name it, just like any other European group. The Irish were the enforcers in the NYPD, they ran the machine in Chicago during the time that Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers was shot, their are proud Irishmen out there like Pat Buchanan, anti-immigrant provacateur extraordinaire, and in the past Bull Conner of Birmingham, Alabama who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and who was the official responsible for sicking dogs on Martin Luther King Jr. and company.

No one points out this history, but the idea of Ireland as a special place that provides people with a totally separate identity from the rest of mainstream America, although their experience of it might be limited to watching a performance of Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" endures.

Scot-o-philia is possibly the only thing that tops the love of all things Irish by ordinary white folks with ordinary white prejudices in hypocrisy.

Daniel Cassidy and company provide a narrative of oppression that people can identify with in order to feel less white guilt.

* on edit: I should add a couple names. Irish politicians in the U.S. aren't represented just by John F. Kennedy but also by Joe Kennedy, his father, who while ambassador to England was part of a pro-fascist and pro-nazi group of grandees and was purportedly, although logically, anti-semitic as well. Also, Father Coughlin of Michigan, a radio priest broadcasting during the '30s whose show became increasingly anti-semitic to the point where he was literally selling small swastika flags during his open air broadcasts and repeating Nazi talking points. Coughlin wasn't just a local Detroit phenomenon, he reached a good deal of the United States through his broadcasts, which were rebroadcasted on CBS radio, and authored several books outlining his philosophy.

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