On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish!

If St. Patrick’s Day had fallen on a school day, every child at the bus stop, whether Irish, Jewish, Asian, East Asian, or Black, would have been wearing something green.  No one would have found this peculiar.  Today, I know that when I go out to run errands, I’ll see adults from every end of the ethnic, racial, and religious spectrum wearing a touch of green.  On my Facebook page, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” wishes abound.  As they used to say at my predominantly Asian high school, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.”

Stop and think about that for a minute.  Can you imagine any other country in the world — indeed, in the history of the world — when everyone in the nation, or at least everyone who has the capacity for enjoyment, borrows a specific racial identity just for fun?  We take it for granted, but it really is the most visible manifestation of the fact that, even in this politically correct day and age, vestiges of America’s Melting pot still remain.  In our homes, we hew to our racial, ethnic, and religious identities.  In the streets, however, provided that there is no conflict with beliefs that are core to our home identities, we cheerfully embrace a uniquely American ecumenicalism.

So to all of you, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Aren’t we lucky we can all enjoy it together?

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Comments

  1. Caped Crusader says

    The last of my ancestors to step upon these blessed shores was my great-grandmother Kelly who was born on a ship fleeing Ireland in 1848, these worst year of the great Irish potato famine. Her mother died in childbirth, my great great grandfather left her with friends, while he returned to Ireland to bring more family, and was never seen again. His fate unknown. Due to lack of information we have never been able to track our lineage in Ireland. A million tales of sorrow, pain, and hope for the future. One of the great migrations in human history.

  2. jj says

    “Supported” Hitler is perhaps a bit too strong – at least on a governmental level.  Officially neutral, there was certainly a great deal of unofficial support to and for the German cause, and I wonder why anyone would be surprised.  By 1939 Ireland had been at war with England for centuries, had been partitioned by England not long before, and starved by England – not for the first time, but maybe most famously –  in the 1840s.  (Throughout the years of famine, the Irish plantation was a net exporter of food.  While the Irish people starved the British landlords continued to sell the beef and mutton overseas that had been raised on their lands in Ireland.)
     
    History has consequences, as Americans seem never to remember, (the Brits aren’t much better), and the Irish are not by nature inclined to be anybody’s lapdogs.  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” after all, and when the Germans showed up on the horizon (twice, in fact, the Irish were also not big for Britain in WWI) while they didn’t outright actively join with them, they had no particular objection to seeing the Orange bastards take a boot to the crotch, either.
     
    And if you’ve ever read Churchill you can see the reciprocal attitude, as he fulminated about the “so-called Eire” and their refusal to buy that the sun shone out of Britain’s ass.  He had the same approximate regard for the Irish that Hitler did for the Poles – as a kind of sub-human field-worker.  It isn’t – or shouldn’t be – shocking that Ireland was something less than an enthusiastic ally.  It’s probably – at least somewhat –  to their credit that they weren’t an outright enthusiastic enemy.

  3. Gringo says

    On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish!
    One reason for this is that a very high proportion of Americans have some trace of Irish or Scots-Irish ancestry. I have Scots-Irish ancestry.  When you also factor in Scots and Welsh immigrating to the US, one way or another, there are a lot of Celts among us. Given the high proportion of Scots-Irish in the South, and centuries of racial intermarriage in the South, the term “Black Irish” has an additional meaning.
     
    We associate bagpipes with Scotland, another Celtic stronghold. Another Celtic stronghold, Galicia in northern Spain, also uses bagpipes. Like Scotland and Ireland, a lot of Galicians/Gallegos emigrated to the New World. Fidel Castro’s father was a Gallego. There were so many emigrants from Galicia in the early part of the 20th century that in Argentina and Cuba any immigrant from Spain was automatically labeled a Gallego.
     
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Irish
     http://tinyurl.com/Susana-Seivane    Bagpipe music from Galicia/Asturias in Spain
     
     
     
     

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