Log in

No account? Create an account
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)

The blog she's giving out about, The Angry Black Woman, is much better written.
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.
(Deleted comment)
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Well, it depends on what you mean by "reverse racism". The Angry Black Woman had a post where she quoted Erase Racism is a carnival dedicated to ending racism, White Supremacy, and unearned privilege.

American Woman, the "someone" I mentioned in my post, is complaining about that quote and calling it reverse racism. If reverse racism is about ending racism, then I'm all for it. If it's killing white people, then I'm strongly against that. In between, there's pointing out that white people have advantages and black* people have disadvantages and acting to minimise the differences in earnings, power, status, etc caused by those advantages. Obviously, the more the advantages are neutralised, the more white people lose out, so it can be seen as anti-white.
You know, re-reading that quote, I can't see how it can be taken as reverse racism unless you actually are a white supremacist. Which would be a bit odd for someone implying she has Indian ancestors. Maybe she's just not very good at reading.

*I'm sticking to black & white for simplicity
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.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, definitely not all about colour. The more I read about racism, sexism, hetrosexism, etc, the more it seems the same. Privilege, defensiveness, othering, victim blaming. Link, link, link, linky, linky, link.

I haven't read anything much about religious discrimination, xenophobia or ageism. I would hazard a guess that religious prejudice would be different, because even if you believe in religious freedom and are against religious discrimination, you're still likely to believe that your way is the way and that others are wrong, so there's always going to be judgement there.
wyvernfriendwyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
It's a strange thing sometimes in Ireland. Almost everyone assumes you're Christian, Roman Catholic at that. My assistant thankfully asked me would I mind if she gave me the weekly leaflet from her church to read so that I could "explore" Christianity more. I refused.

I sometimes find that I have to be careful about not giving religion more leeway than I would to other things in order not to be seen to be biased. I got my last assistant to weed the majority of the religion section.

Sometimes it's a hard thing to be neutral about.
a very caring potato: flying spaghetti monstermollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
Catholic privilege.

Though I do find, due to the people I'm meeting these days, I'm sometimes surprised to hear someone's still Catholic. I'm almost assuming that people are atheist or pagan. I will still assume that people are brought up Catholic, or are "culturally Catholic", as I describe myself.

(no subject) - wyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
a very caring potato: Spanish when you're not lookingmollydot on June 2nd, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
I wonder where her "white ancestors" are from? Are the Spanish white? The French? Greek? Swiss? Scottish? Or is it just English and German?
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on June 2nd, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
I would bet "white" means white and Protestant: English, Welsh, German, Scandinavian and Protestant Scottish. Celticness disappears a lot more quickly if you're not Catholic.
a very caring potato: flying spaghetti monstermollydot on June 2nd, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
Good point.

I always find it weird when Catholicism is othered. As well as being the norm in Ireland, it is the biggest religion in the world. I'm more used to Irish being othered as I grew up with British and American books and TV. I suppose religion was generally left out of them. I always forget how Protestant America is.

You commenting has reminded me that I've left classism out of my list in reply to wyvernfriend. The list of ones I haven't read about. The list of ones I'm not interested in, to be honest. I don't know why racism, sexism and hetrosexism interest me more than the others. Sexism could be explained by me being on the so-called minority side, but I'm the one with the privilege when it comes to race and sexuality.
 dudi killimengrikillimengri on June 2nd, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
The Welsh are not usually Catholic & are very Celtic & proud of it! At least, where I lived (the REAL capital) & up in Gogland they are.
wyvernfriendwyvernfriend on June 2nd, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
WASP? White Anglo-Saxon Protestant?
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!
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on June 2nd, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, also! We really have to get these Buffy videos back to you! And it would also just be nice to go out for a drink with you and P some time before we leave Dublin (mid-August or so), especially now Glitz is back down.
a very caring potato: slayer workoutmollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Oh yes! I meant to loan you some more too. Would it be best to leave them at this stage?

Dammit. Someone else wants to borrow Buffy, and I've forgotten who. Or was it Firefly?

I'd like that too. We'll be away the last week in June & first week in July. So not then, obv.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
No, the rambling's great!
a very caring potato: memollydot on June 2nd, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
I didn't know you were a redhead! Though I did assume your brother was cos of his nickname. I'm not aware of any red hair in my family.

Yep, I believe red hair is recessive to black hair, but I don't know who wins between red and blonde. Also, I think the genetics is actually more complicated than that and what we learnt in school is "lies to children", like the solar system view of atoms.

I don't mind the read hair implies Irish thing, but I hate when people think being Irish means you must have red hair. No! It's in the minority here too!

I reckon there's a lot more blonde women here than blond men, but there's more to that than genetics :-)

(I think I'll split the comments up and leave this one just about hair)
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
I remember being so relieved when I read about race being a social construct and realising what it meant (I had heard the idea before, but my reaction was along the lines of "don't be stupid, of course there's physical differences"). I used to think I was being dense because I couldn't get my head around what hispanic meant and was confused by white vs caucasian.

I think it's important to distinguish between racism and other similar prejudices because I think racism is worse and more ingrained, and anti-racism shouldn't be derailed by less bad things. (Where I say worse and less bad, I'm talking about degree). And I think it's crazy that someone can claim that they can't be racist because they have an Italian father. [1. Italians are white (as an ethnic group). 2. You don't have to be white to be racist.]

And while I think that a biracial or multiracial person should be able to identify themselves as whatever part or mixture of their ancestry as they like, I'm uncomfortable about black people who succeed (especially in modelling & acting) being held up as examples of how we're not racist now, when they look to me like they have darker skin but basically white features. It makes me worry that people with more pure African ethnicity are being sidelined without comment because some sort of implicit quota has been filled.

Did you see my suggestion in glitzfrau's journal that female academics be encouraged to donate their eggs to save us from such doom?

I didn't know the concept of race was so new. Do you have any pointers to stuff I could read about the history of it?

Justifying colonisation - White Man's Burden and all that?

I've been reading up on FairTrade recently. It seems one of the arguments against it is that it's White Man's Burden again. But I think of it more as we've fucked these countries up, now let's try and fix some of the mess we've made.
a very caring potatomollydot on June 2nd, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, and "passing" was a really weird concept for me - if you can pass as white, surely you are white?! I didn't know about the one drop rule. "Passing" makes more sense with gender related stuff.
a very caring potato: memollydot on June 3rd, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
Hmm...apparently we used to divide by hair colour: http://www.afn.org/~dks/race/wald-ignatiev.html
(Deleted comment)
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!