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02 June 2007 @ 02:53 pm
 
Weird... I've just come across someone saying the white ancestors, not the irish ones, or the indian ones.. or the other ones... Ethnic Irish people aren't white? It just goes to show - race really is a social construct.
 
 
Current Mood: confusedconfused
 
 
 
Blinkunblinkered on June 2nd, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
Does it make me a bad person that I skimmed the post, spotted several spelling mistakes and instantly dismissed its contents without reading it properly?
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
Spellingism?

The blog she's giving out about, The Angry Black Woman, is much better written.
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wyvernfriendwyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish...
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm not saying there's was never prejudice against us, or that there isn't still, but I'm pretty damn sure I'm white.

I think it's to do with othering. Because white is the unmarked default - the norm, and she sees Irish as marked/not normal, therefore Irish is not white.
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(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
wyvernfriendwyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, but it's funny to think how long the othering of the Irish has survived.

And people get all irate when I point out the 900 years of oppression, I've stopped getting into the oppression isn't always about colour idea.

I managed to pretty much out myself in work by pointing out that pagans and other non-traditional religions aren't always as easy to spot and that non-traditional religions were covered by the no religious discrimination under the anti-discrimination laws.
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - biascut on June 2nd, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - killimengri on June 2nd, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on June 2nd, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
I was thinking a while ago that it would be a really interesting research project to look at the history of the Irish being seen as a race within Britain (specifically England), and see when the practice of depicting Irish people with specific physical and genetic characteristics turned into seeing Irishness as a set of cultural and ethnic markers. But it would be a really interesting way of exploring the difference between race and ethnicity, and talking about how the things we currently see as distinct "races" may change in the future.

But I bet someone like Declan Kiberd's already done it!
a very caring potato: Irish dictionarymollydot on June 2nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
I was talking to a friend recently about racism against Irish people. I don't see it as racism simply because I don't see us as a different race (I do see it as a prejudice very close to racism). She told me that in colonial times, Ireland was the only colonised country where the natives were not a distinct race from the colonisers, so there was similarities in attitude. I think she's done some study in that area, but I'm not quite sure.

That does sound interesting. Let me know if you do it!

I'm not familiar with him *wiki, wiki, wiki*, but I think I've heard of Inventing Ireland.

I can't remember who said this to me, but even the physical markers can vary. Apparently, in America, red hair => Irish, but in England, red hair => Scottish. Is that true?
dubnordie on June 2nd, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
I suspect that last bit could hold up....do you know the expression "black Irish"? I think that not only refers to the Irish trait of black hair, but also the scowling blackness of someone's personality (the brooding sullenness....etc etc). For some reason I think Heathcliff is classed in the same vein (isn't he?) - he's either Irish or Gypsy, or even both.

(cough, and can the americans tell the difference between Irish and Scots? - dubnordie ducks for cover!)
a very caring potato: memollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
It's not one I'm very familiar with. I recently met an Indian American who was an Irelandophile. He kept describing himself as "black Irish". Every time he said it, I was resisting the urge to say "but you're not black!"*. Later I came across the expression on the interbets and realised it was a black hair thing and an American phrase. But I don't recall coming across it any other times.

*Especially as it's not so long since I read Arthur and George and realised that Indians used to be called black.
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on June 2nd, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
That thing about the red hair definitely corresponds with my experience! I have red hair (it's got a lot darker now and I never know whether people "know" I'm redheaded, but it was much redder when I was younger) and my brother is very ginger, and we'd go up to see second cousins in Scotland and EVERYONE would be ginger. So I associated red hair with Scotland. And then I remember reading a Paula Danziger book where the main character talks about her whole family all having red hair and green eyes and freckles and being Irish, and I was like, oh, OK so Irish people have red hair too. Then the first time I came to Ireland, I was like, no they don't, they have really dark hair, very fair skin and blue eyes!

There is a bit of a red hair = Irish thing in Britain, but I think red hair is more likely to be associated with Scotland.

I mean, it's all mixed up, of course - obviously there are Irish people with red hair and freckles, and only my dad's dad was Scottish, so there was obviously some red-hairedness on my mum's mum's Northern English side, because red hair is recessive and you need to get it from both sides, don't you? Anyway, my grandma's from Lincolnshire, and her sister definitely had hair the same colour as me.

I don't see it as racism simply because I don't see us as a different race (I do see it as a prejudice very close to racism)

That's actually why I first started thinking about doing research on it: someone Irish was talking about "anti-Irish racism", which I think is a misnomer, and I think it's important to distinguish between racism and other types of prejudice. But then I started thinking, hang on, I don't really believe that anything that we call a "race" is really a "race" - it's all nineteenth century pseudoscience - so what's the difference? I think it's something about whether you really think there's a biological difference there, and how much you make of it. Scottish people having a tendency to red hair doesn't make them a different race, African people having dark skin does? But it's really about where you want to draw the lines - there's no scientific, objective distinction.

But then you get things like people talking about "chavs" having too many children compared to people with degrees and how this will cause the population's intellect to drop, so then you've got a genetic/biological aspect to classism AS WELL. So that's also kind of fascinating.

Ireland was the only colonised country where the natives were not a distinct race from the colonisers

See, I'd disagree with that, partly because most of the British Empire was colonised looong before there was even a concept of biological race: ethnic groups/peoples, yes, but not biological race (because there wasn't any biology!) Race came along afterwards to justify colonialism, I'd say, and there's loads of stuff in the late nineteenth century about "the Irish race". So again, it's about the fact that that's where we draw the lines now, but it doesn't mean that anyone thought like that in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, or any earlier.
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on June 2nd, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Gosh, sorry, ramble ramble ramble. I find this sort of thing fascinating, too!
(no subject) - biascut on June 2nd, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 2nd, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mollydot on June 3rd, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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a very caring potatomollydot on June 5th, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
I presume you've heard the one about you're green when you're sick, you're blue when you're cold, etc. I'm black when sick, cold, etc. And you have the cheek to call me coloured!