The Motley News

St. Patrick’s Day


So today is St. Patrick’s Day. The economy will receive a boost from alcohol and costume purchases and numerous of Americans will drink themselves into a stupor in the name of “The Irish”. I’m sure you’ve noticed the pessimistic tone of this blog–I apologize (sort of), but I can’t help but to think of the experiences of the Irish in early America. Upon their immigration in the 1800s, they were not welcomed with open arms. They were immediately considered inferior due to their lack of wealth and education(many Irish also had thick, sometimes curly manes). Many Irish women immigrated to North America alone which did not bode with English women who believed that women were to be married and tending to a home and children. Irish women were quite the contrary, they took jobs, declined to marry, and became self-sufficient. The Irish were looked upon by English Americans with the same low regard as African Americans and Native Americans. Just like African Americans, Irish immigrants were stereotyped as lazy, unmotivated, inferior peoples. They were often compared to animals, apes for example (hence the depiction of the tiny Irish man leaping about). One of the most prevalent stereotypes of the Irish was that they were alcoholics. Many operated small-scale distills and often sold liquor to other settlers as a means of economic mobility.
St. Patrick’s Day is recognized as a holiday in Ireland, but drinking has not always been a part of the celebration. It is my hope that our society can learn to recognize the Irish for their contributions to American industry and their political savvy rather than their level of alcohol consumption.

Author: charishreid

Writer and Educator.

2 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Great post. It amazes me what kind of treatment a group of Europeans received up entering this country. Before I saw Gangs of New York, I thought all whites were created equal. I now know after a ton of reading, that no, some whites we're more equal than others.


  2. Yes indeed. English Americans were very critical of all other European immigrants (and everyone else of course). Over time they all merged into the “White race”, but it certainly was not that way in the beginning of America's history.


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