As someone with Irish heritage, I’m a bit unnerved that America’s reign of “white privilege” has meant the overlooking or erasing a lot of the troubling things my ancestors did or experienced.
the holocaust. It happened.
I’m not going to fight anyone on Poles or Jews, and as long as we’re literally only talking about Ireland, then yeah, the Irish too. I have my reservations about Scotland though, as they were pretty massive dicks themselves. It’s not like Northern Ireland was their fault or anything.
But Italians? Really? Admittedly I only have a vague overview of contemporary European history, but I seem to recall them spending a lot more time colonising other countries than being colonised themselves. Like, it was a shitty place to be for a long time, I’ll give you that, but so was Russia. And Spain. And France. And pretty much anything east of Munich.
All more or less white, all - as far as I recall - equally as fucked up as Italy.
I get sooooooooooo uncomfortable about the ‘the Irish were oppressed too!’ thing, and the ‘Irish people used to be included under People of Color!’.
I mean, yes. Those things are very very true, and are important to remember because they show us in a visceral way how arbitrary and ridiculous those kinds of lines are.
But I mean, look. I’m of Irish extraction. On my dad’s side I’m fourth generation Australian, my mother’s mother was born in county Cork. My mother’s father was English but his grandma was a French Jew and his grandfather was from Lithuania. What I’m trying to say is that I can lay claim to a long long family history of oppression. Pretty much all the way back.
I, myself, am not oppressed. I am SUPER WHITE and way privileged. Sure, that family culture of mistrusting authority and backing the underdog runs deep. And sure, I also live in Australia which is a Commonwealth country, and I have a complicated relationship with that. But at the end of the day I can talk to policemen and have them believe me over someone else, and I can expect to be treated with a certain amount of trust and respect from other authority figures.
So basically I am seconding the ‘s long as we’re literally only talking about Ireland’ thing.
Every culture has oppression in it, pretty much. But this is a bit like a straight white dude saying that the patriarchy hurts men, too. Sure. But not as often, as much, or as consistently. Maybe use that to have empathy with people who get hurt more, rather than being offended when they imply that you don’t understand 100% of everything about their experience?