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?