Today, just a single, solitary, lonely link.
Why St. Patrick’s Day pisses me off.
*paddy’s your arse*
Paddy’s my great-grandfather.
It remains hilarious to me how very, very, very invested so many North Americans are in being “Irish”. I am informed it is far more hilarious (amongst other things) to the Irish. ;)
It’s not just North Americans, but I think everyone who lives in North America whose ancestors didn’t originate here makes a point of telling everyone else where their people are *from*. It’s an immigrant thing.
According to some friends in South Africa and Australia, it happens there too. Not necessarily the claiming to be Irish, but the ancestral identification. Not as much as here, because Canada is very, very young. And some of us only have one or two generations of Canada in our lineage (of my four grandparents, three were born in Canada of immigrant parents).
Of course, it’s true that everyone DOES want to be Irish, and anyone who says they don’t is a lying liar. Except the Welsh, who don’t want to be anything other than Welsh, of course, with their consonants and their pastoral hillsides and their cold castles.
I think the Irish thing…hrm, well, I think there are some particularly weird things going on there, in addition to all the other ancestry-bragging (about everything but being English, usually, because that’s boring). I think part of it is…well, to quote The Commitments, “The Irish are the blacks of Europe”. It has some remaining “I’m part of an oppressed minority!” chic going for it, at just the right level where it means simultaneously you don’t actually have to worry about any negative consequences for it (in North America, anymore). And people are less likely to call shennanigans on it than other “sexy oppressed minority” type claims, of course, because such a large portion of the North American population can claim at least one Irish ancestor.
The mentioning of South Africa makes me think of the exchange in In My Country between the African-American reporter visiting South Africa and the Afrikaner poet after she tells him a story or something… He says something like “Well, fancy that, *you* telling *me* about Africa!” to which she responds “BUT I’M AFRICAN!” :)
I dunno, it’s been my experience, at least in much of Western Canada, that the people who aren’t talking about their Irish ancestors are talking about their Ukrainian ancestors.
Strangely, nobody talks about their French ancestors…
No, but seriously, Ireland, as the author of the article points out, is one of the only places in Europe to be “successfully” colonized by the Romans, the Gauls, the English, and pretty much everyone else who wandered by except the Welsh, and that’s just because the Welsh never leave their cold castles. And because of that colonisation and Ireland’s history of famine and poverty, you certainly do have a lot of people who come from families where their pride may be the only thing they came here with.
Which is similar to what happened when Russian pogroms started starving out, murdering, and evicting the Ukrainians and Mennonites (among others) from their homesteads and farms in central-northeastern Europe. I’m not really sure that people “brag” about being part of an oppressed minority. Do they? What is a “sexy oppressed minority”?
I think any time you have oppressed peoples, you end up with descendants who try to take some pride in their ancestral homeland. So yes, it’s more than simply being from immigrant ancestry.
By “sexy oppressed minorities” I’m mostly talking about the tendency to co-opt minorities. It seems there is a lot of cachet in being oppressed when, well, you’re not actually oppressed. If you’ve never seen someone who is like a sixth generation north American who claims an Irish ancestor answer complaints of racial prejudice with “My people were oppressed too, by the British! I know what it is like to be held down by The Man”, you are fortunate (or maybe I just talk to more lackwits than you :) ).
“I think the Irish thing…hrm, well, I think there are some particularly ”
I usually end up telling people I’m Dutch once they comment on my unusual last name.
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