Some of the cartoons on the Irish are WAY past lacking tact.

Some of the cartoons on the Irish are WAY past lacking tact.

Some of the cartoons on the Irish are WAY past lacking tact.

How did being drunk and passing out get to be known as Irish? Why does every bar in the world put horrible clown like depictions of Leprechauns on their wall?  Yet their red hair, body shape, and freckles are somehow NOT considered an ethnic slur? What if everyone said all people in Scotland were fat and greedy or all people in Spain had giant ears?  How is it that football teams are afraid to call themselves the Redskins for fear of promoting negative stereotypes yet St. Patrick’s Day still has all the drinking insults people can hurl?  Maybe it is just because I am Irish and Catholic, yet if I tell a tiny joke off color people jump all over my bones for it for years that I notice the irony….  No hypocritical there, nope!

*** I had an African American friend in junior high named Maria.  I commented once, (as a joke I meant no harm) about her hair.  It is a tight kind of curly in a way my hair is not.  I did not know this was a source of pain to her.  Mind you, I loaned her lunch money many times a month, gave her homework, and was NICE.  She yelled at me and would not talk to me for weeks! Everyone thought I was mean to joke about a physical thing.  It is that easy to be labeled a “villain” that people are starved for in conversations.

*** I am pretty Irish; I went to Catholic school many years of elementary.  I wore plaid skirts.  I went to Catholic Church mass growing up.  I went to Catholic University. My grandma once showed me her wooden stick called a Shillelagh.  I have freckles, reddish hair, and I sun burn to the point of bleeding at the slightest wisp of sun.  Maria felt no irony putting as many cartoons of drunken, fighting, midget, clown looking freckled “Leprechaun” Irish images around her desk for Saint Patrick’s Day.  There were as her T Shirts and binder could hold.  It too was a joke on physical characteristics, yet no one cared about that method.  Only I seemed to catch that the stereotypical was used as and ironic twist there.  How did this go so far off the social radar in the USA?  Ridicule and shaming and blaming for things people can’t control is great as long as it is the “right” kind?  It is something very young kids can get confused about.

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