Originally published: 24.08.15
Ok . St Pat’s day…
Has the dust settled, are we over our hangovers? Then I’ll begin…..
Once upon a time , there was an Anglo Irish girl, a convent girl no less, who eschewed her roots, spent time being strenuously *not* Irish .
Why, well partly , St Patrick’s day, or more arguably, the buffoonery and racism , yes racism.
“Racism she says” and I hear ya ….We’re white . Very, very white. Usually the whitest person in the room, I won’t lie.
But yanno, we’ve only “just” joined “white club”* , still probationers, if you will.
We are not all ginger haired , belligerent , loquacious drunks
(Not all the time anyway, sometimes we’re at Mass)(or building things , or arresting people) , but on St “Pat’s” day any visiting alien would be forgiven for thinking otherwise ….
It’s a powerful stereotype I grant you.
And it’s one an impressionable girl swallowed and made her , I hate to report, subconsciously ashamed – who would want to belong to such a shower of hopeless , dipsomaniac , emotionally incontinent fighty half wits?
And let’s face it, as a suppression tool – one of many – the stereotype worked especially well as regards those of us of the left footer persuasion.
But look, I KNOW we parody ourselves thusly, too. Look at “Father Ted”, or “Mrs Brown’s Boy’s ” , you name it ..countless Irish taking the piss out of the Irish …
(Peter O’Toole bloody lived it)
But that’s Irish humour, not Irish jokes .
Tell me , if a Jewish person or POC were parodying themselves would you don “Black face” or a prayer shawl and join in?
So please , “green face” , really ? **
Now I guess you’re all celebrating St P’s out of solidarity , (and I did acknowledge one or two salutations) but , well, next time you feel like “getting your oirish on” , could you not instead invoke Yeats, Wilde, DeValera, Connolly, Collins, the bloody famine for the love of Pete …
Even Clannad , if you “must”.
No…not the anime…this lot …(do keep up)
It’s taken me most of my adult life to claim back an identity I’m entitled to, the physical roots of which are so much more recent than Michael bloody Flatley’s***(from which, unlike him, few of us this side of the Atlantic profit from) , and the reason I’m peeved about St Patric’s day, is the stereotype it trots out that made me ashamed of who I am .
*And unlike the immigrants Ignatiev invokes in “How The Irish Became White”, we did not gain that by crapping on POC, as those in the US did, because here , that was *us*(look at how Roma etc, for instance , now occupy that ground)
Even in the US , as Ignatiev’s subject source , this was not wholesale ..google “the lazy antisemitism of the liberal”
**also drag. AKA “ladyface”, It may well be that not all drag artistes are misogynist …I don’t think O’Grady or LaRue were, but the genre , and the stereotypes it relies on….
***and what IS it with his “brogue”, he’s from New York for Pete’s sake , I’ve a London accent cuz guess what……
(Dancing isn’t appropriation but national accents you didn’t grow up with might be ) (it’s summat not quite right anyway so if anyone can come up with a better , more fitting term , please, I’m all ears)
I’m not saying don’t celebrate St P’s , DO, do go down your local ale house, I hear they’ve laid in on really good Irish band… drink the black stuff (if you must ….can’t stand it me’self unless it’s mixed with champagne) , but please , please , don’t embarrass yourselves with silly accents and by all that’s holy , stay way from ginger bloody wigs and green face paint ….
The whole (“sexy”) leprechaun (can get to fek)shillelagh thing in fact……
Not comparable with what POC face daily , at all…but still , well come on…
I never entertain hangovers.