Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The "Hard Times" Mythologies of White Ethnics: Exploring the Fiction that was "No Irish Need Apply"

Memories don't live like people do.

Communal memories are transmitted through stories. These stories in turn take on a veneer of reality; they are our personal ways of making sense of our identities as a member of a family, kinship group, community, or neighborhood. Because some identities are more socially salient than others--race for example--we hold onto these stories tightly. They are often not held up to critical rigor or inquiry. At times, we willfully lie to ourselves. Sometimes the bigger truth being appealed to by a narrative, one that is couched in the language of historical memory, is used to explain away its factual inaccuracies.

In our conversation about Michelle Obama's ancestor Melvinia, and the white washing of rape and racial violence in Rachel Swarns' essay in the NY Times, I alluded to the hard times mythologies that are common to white ethnic immigrants in the United States. My intention was not to suggest that "white" immigrants--many of whom had not yet "earned" their whiteness--did not experience difficulties upon arrival in this country. Rather, my observation was that the Horatio Alger, "pulled up ourselves by the bootstraps" without any government assistance story is both 1) ahistorical and 2) is part of a larger narrative, one that is mostly a great fiction, and which does the work of conservative racial politics in the post Civil Right era.

[In many ways, the "assimilable" striving European white ethnic is the forefather and foremother of the model minority myth that is currently assigned to Americans of East and South Asian decent. In all, if "we" worked hard and succeeded despite all of the obstacles in front of us, why can't "the blacks" just do the same?]

The white ethnic hard times myth is also a wonderful example of white privilege, as well as the myopia of the white racial frame, because while the Ellis Island set's various difficulties can be recited by rout, there is never any mention of the obvious: these immigrants could be grandfathered into whiteness. This is a unique and singular advantage in American society.

One of the most common white ethnic myths is that signs and job advertisements which read "No Irish, Need Apply" were common in 19th and early 20th century America. This trope signals to the idea of white Irish oppression in America, that they somehow were excluded from the labor market and polity, and then through hard work and diligence made it into the middle class despite all of the hatred and obstacles they faced as a people. While the memory may be true, crystal clear, for those who swear these signs and listings were commonplace, the historical record would suggest otherwise.

Richard Jensen has a great article on this very issue. His work is an object lesson in rigorous, empirically grounded, social history. Jensen concluded that for all intents and purposes these signs and postings were either extremely rare or simply did not exist in the United States.
The Irish American community harbors a deeply held belief that it was the victim of systematic job discrimination in America, and that the discrimination was done publicly in highly humiliating fashion through signs that announced "Help Wanted: No Irish Need Apply." This "NINA" slogan could have been a metaphor for their troubles—akin to tales that America was a "golden mountain" or had "streets paved with gold." But the Irish insist that the signs really existed and prove the existence of widespread discrimination and prejudice.

The fact that Irish vividly "remember" NINA signs is a curious historical puzzle. There are no contemporary or retrospective accounts of a specific sign at a specific location. No particular business enterprise is named as a culprit. No historian, archivist, or museum curator has ever located one; no photograph or drawing exists. No other ethnic group complained about being singled out by comparable signs. Only Irish Catholics have reported seeing the sign in America—no Protestant, no Jew, no non-Irish Catholic has reported seeing one. This is especially strange since signs were primarily directed toward these others: the signs said that employment was available here and invited Yankees, French-Canadians, Italians and any other non-Irish to come inside and apply.

The business literature, both published and unpublished, never mentions NINA or any policy remotely like it. The newspapers and magazines are silent. The courts are silent. There is no record of an angry youth tossing a brick through the window that held such a sign.
In addition, there is scant evidence for discrimination against the Irish in the labor market of the 19th century. 

If anything, the opposite was true:
Regardless of their growing status, something intensely real was stimulating the Irish Catholics and only them. The NINA myth fostered among the Irish a misperception or gross exaggeration that other Americans were prejudiced against them, and were deliberately holding back their economic progress. Hence the "chip on the shoulder" mentality that many observers and historians have noted. As for the question of anti-Irish prejudice: it existed but it was basically anti-Catholic or anti-anti-republican. There have been no documented instances of job discrimination against Irish men.
Was there any systematic job discrimination against the Catholic Irish in the US: possibly, but direct evidence is very hard to come by. On the other hand Protestant businessmen vigorously raised money for mills, factories and construction projects they knew would mostly employ Irishmen, while the great majority of middle class Protestant households in the major cities employed Irish maids.

We know from the experience of African Americans and Chinese that the most powerful form of job discrimination came from workers who vowed to boycott or shut down any employer who hired the excluded class. Employers who were personally willing to hire Chinese or blacks were forced to submit to the threats.

There were no reports of mobs attacking Irish employment, even during sporadic episodes of attacks on Catholic church facilities in 1830s and 1840s. No one has reported claims that co-workers refused to work alongside Irish; this powerful form of discrimination probably did not affect the Irish in significant ways. On the other hand the Irish repeatedly attacked employers who hired African Americans or Chinese.
As someone interested in political culture, and how racial ideologies are created, reproduced, and circulated in the United States, Jensen's following observation is especially insightful: 
Historians need to be critical. Because a group truly believes it was a victim, does not make it so...Historians engaging in cultural studies must beware the trap that privileges evidence derived from the protests of self-proclaimed victims. Practically every ethnoreligious group in America cherishes its martyrs and warns its members that outsiders "discriminate" against them, or would if they had the opportunity. 
Talk about a powerful intervention...

The hard times white ethnic myth was matured and grown in a moment of white backlash towards the Civil Rights Movement during the 1970s. As I mentioned here, the same political moment that produced neoliberal-neoconservative "small government" dogma, post-Bakke white grievance politics, the Southern Strategy, and Reagan's mobilization of white racial resentment with his "welfare queens," gave birth to a fictionalized narrative of white ethnic suffering.

The embrace of a shared history of oppression across the color line (the Left multicultural approach) was coopated by a conservative, right-wing colorblind racial politics that sought to eliminate the unique grounds and historical circumstances upon which African-American justice claims in this country were/are based. In a perverse twist on the empty, politically correct, and intellectually dishonest mantra that "we cannot rank oppressions," a generalized fiction and mythic history of white ethnic hard times became a way to neuter discussions about white supremacy.

Roots Too by Mathew Frye Jacobson provides some very helpful context for the politics of white ethnic revival and its relationship to the Right's racial agenda:
Here Glazer spelled out what he later called the "ethnic pattern" of American social development, a presumed group-by-group succession of "newcomers" for whom the voluntary European immigrant stood as a prototype. Like Kennedy's rendition a few years earlier, this America was "a nation of immigrants," with all of the celebrations and erasures the image entailed. The historical weight of incorporation by slavery or conquest was of little account in this model, as all groups could expect to proceed along roughly the same lines of acceptance, mobility, and success as had the great waves of immigrants from Europe beginning in the 1840s.
Jacobson continues:
On the contrary, though the ethnic lens has repaid progressivism by making visible many historical truth and themes, the way in which the ethnic history of various European groups is typically narrated has ultimately contributed to the nation's steady movement toward the right in the decades since the Nixon presidency.

...the narrative of European immigration--whether striking Slavic miners, ghetto-bound Polish meatpackers, or Yiddish-speaking ladies' garment workers-has largely been a narrative of down-troddedness, sometimes of pluck, often of revolt, but never, ever, of privilege...this bootstrap mythology, complete with its striking patters of self-congratulation and erasure, has become standard fare as white Americans seek "to define themselves out of the oppressor class," in Micaela di Leonardo's phrase, to "construct a blameless white identity."
Historical memory does political work here because it privileges certain political goals and ideologies over others.

The recycling of the NINA myth is an effort to salvage an ethnic identity for a contemporary parasitic Whiteness which for its owners is explicitly marked by the absence of either "race" or "culture." Whiteness is privilege, property, and invisibility. Whiteness is also a vessel that can harness white ethnicity to do its bidding in the service of maintaining white dominance over the racial order. In sum, myths of white ethnic suffering become counterweights to justice claims in the polity by people of color.

As Chris Rock and other comedians have bitingly alluded to, everyone wants to be black, but no one wants to really be black. Likewise, those who are racially privileged in the "post-racial" present love to play with the idea of historic oppression and exclusion, but they do not want to confront the realities which stand behind those experiences.


fred c said...

I guess I'll get us started, I see that it's taking a while for the comments to get rolling for this post.

One thing I will say, this oppression narrative is not "white America" seeking to "define themselves out of the oppressor class," it's the (still predominantly; then totally) White Power Elite seeking to define away the very existence of oppression in the 19th Century.

N.B. The Better To Return To Those Times. (I damn near put that whole sentence in caps.)

Myself, I stand with the "shared history of oppression across the color line" theory. I will say though, the people on my Irish side had it much, much tougher than the people on my mostly English and slightly German side, without being noticeably stupider or less ambitious. More infant mortality; more early death because they couldn't afford medical care; lower education; lower wages; zero ownership before WWII.

But the Irish, how about the fact that the (Catholic) Irish had already been reduced to serfdom and made the object of derision and dehumanization for 150 years, and that in their own country, by 1850. And for all of that time, the actually English or their descendents had been in charge here, first de facto and then de jure. Did the Irish in the Colonies and early America suffer from any of that discrimination? Did all of that negativity suddenly disappear around 1850?

Or did none of that happen either? Where's the academically verifiable proof? Who says there was a bounty on priests? Maybe the Irish gave up Gaelic on their own. Start your research with the BBC, and get the whitewash with no middleman. Maybe it was all just a desperate attempt on the part of the English to save the hopeless Irish from themselves?

Tom said...

It's interesting history, thanks for the post.

To our shame, I'm sure many Irish Americans were opponents of civil rights legislation (to put it politely); many are even today. The Irish side of my family came over after the first world war and they've never mentioned any discrimination. So far as I know we never encountered any.

FWIW I still think it's a mistake to talk about a "hard times mythology" and yet ignore the hellish conditions back in Ireland in the mid-19th century. They were hard times, and trust me we haven't remotely gotten over them, blather about bootstraps notwithstanding.

fred c said...

On read-back, two things:

1. reverse de jure and de facto; and

2. forgive me for clinging to my oppression myths, real or imagined.

CNu said...

Help me understand the utility of ethnic oppression studies and postures in light of the truth of the matter that the infrastructure of contemporary economic oppression and exploitative governance is evolving at light speed and no longer makes reference to ethnicity?

FRANK and back in the day afro-futuristic ruminations about FRANK

Anonymous said...

Fred C,

Super Post! I like your push back of late CD's has been floating a bunch of shallow themes( His tired narratives of Black Flashmobs)

Good to observe other posters are offering up counter narratives.

CNu said...

Personally, I'm a big fan of restrictive covenants as the principle and most enduring explicit mechanism for systemic racial discrimination.

Though respectable negros got these federally invalidated in 1948 - they remained on the books and enforced until 1968 and we still have copies of them for a house we bought in 1998.

Curious, do any white folks other than The Chosen People figure in any restrictive housing covenants that anyone else is aware of?

freebones said...

i'm treading into dangerous waters, here, i know, but i think you'll find that this goes back to a point i made long ago about admitting when someone you generally agree with might be wrong.

i know nothing about these NINA signs, and have never heard this "myth" at all, believe it or not. now, i have no real history or sociology training, but that doesn't really fully explain it.

now, even assuming this NINA business is a myth, your seeming refusal to say that others (in this case immigrant american irish) have suffered in america is very disappointing. it sounds dangerously close to people who cite "historical documents" and the like to deny the holocaust. are you as guilty? certainly not, as we're talking about an isolated example, but i just thought i'd point that out. no offense intended- just my personal observation.

fred c makes a great series of points that i'd like to expand on: the ability to "Earn" whiteness is not relevant when it comes to actual hardships. there was a time, as my meager historical education would have me believe, when the irish in american were seen as less-than-human, and the parallels between the treatment of blacks and irish are quite large. so, the irish by the present day have "earned" their whiteness, because they have light skin, and all is well, while blacks continue to suffer, simply because they have dark skin and will always be seen as "non-white". i agree that this is the case, but it in no way minimalizes the oppression that the irish originally did feel, and while i suspect you agree with that statement, CD, i don't feel it in your post here.

again, much love and all that. i hope i have not offended.

chaunceydevega said...

@Fred. You would like Theodore Allen's invention of the white race vols one and two and how he looks at the Irish in Europe and the U.S.

Notice, I never said the Irish in Ireland didn't have it hard. I am talking about the particular mythologies of hard times in America and how white skin privilege is never brought up. Ethnicity becomes a way of playing games to deflect black people's justice claims.

@Tom. See my above comments. Where did this narrative of "shared oppression"--again a nice slogan that needs more data to support it--get us? Where are the long standing class alliances across lines of race (I can think of a few examples, the integrated miner's unions in PA) into the present? All of that unity talk makes some materialists feel good, but again, where is the analysis of white privilege?

@Anon. I don't write for your approval. You say intellectually "shallow"--still smarting and obsessing over your weak black crime defense I see--but don't bring anything to the table. Where is this analysis incorrect? Be specific. It is easy to be in the peanut gallery, do offer something up.

@Free. I never said people didn't have hardships. Not once. What I did say, and offer up a narrative for, is the uncomfortable to many white ethnics fact that these stories do a certain type of political work. And they do not necessarily translate into sympathy or empathy for others. I feel no natural affinity for white ethnics who while their ancestors may have had some difficulties overcame said challenges by distancing themselves from black Americans. I am not the generous.

"the ability to "Earn" whiteness is not relevant when it comes to actual hardships."

I disagree. That is the core of the moral failing. One can hee and haw all day long about their ancestors hard times but then construct a blaemless whiteness that is anything but. I do not veer away from making people uncomfortable. Some truths simply are. One that we need to engage with is this hard times white ethnic mythology that says nothing about white skin privilege and how those challenges were overcome through appeals to white supremacy.

@Cnu. How dare you bring up facts, verifiable laws? We are all sharing our oppression together in union. Join the kumbaya party.

Tom said...

CNu, I've never heard of any in the States. (Britain effectively dispossessed many Scottish people I've heard, but that was over there.)

Wouldn't surprise me if there were something aimed at Asian Americans especially out west. I've heard of laws excluding their testimony from trials, which, you can imagine what that would permit.

CNu said...

Wouldn't surprise me if there were something aimed at Asian Americans especially out west.

Are you grouping asians as honorary whites?

lol, "negros and mongoloids" was some of the preferred terminology prohibiting the sale of properties to any member of the "negro or mongoloid race" under penalty of suit by the other property owners and forfeiture of title should the covenant be upheld in court

One of my best friends when I went to work for the Treasury was a Japanese cat who grew up in a blasian neighborhood in St. Louis - big gold tooth in front - heavy STL southern accent, and married to a sistah. Lot of beautiful blasian chirrens and remarkable unintended cultural potpourri resulted from these restrictive housing covenants...,

Anonymous said...


No actually it is you that still suffers from your failed tome about Black crime.

Now with regard to this matter I share with you your themes my point was I found Fred's talking points had merit of course I am not in his skin or legacy so unlike you I am not omnipotent

Anonymous said...

FYI ... Native Americans and Jews both confronted these restrictive covenants as well .

Just saying...

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon. This is a new thread, don't go do a colorbind on us please. It is tedious.

You can probably find it online, but Grosse Point Blanc (sp?) was named as such because of its points system for deciding which people had acceptable racial stock for living there. These covenants are not Constitutional, but many still are on the books. Given how segregated our society is they are now enforced informally by real estate agents, sellers, and communities.

Tom said...

CNu ... "Are you grouping asians as honorary whites?"

No, somehow I started thinking about "anybody facing legally-enforced discrimination in the States, other than Black and Jewish folks."

I don't know the theory. I'll just leave it that far too many Irish-Americans have been Reagans, Buchanans and O'Rlys. And as CD points out, those seem to be the ones who've been "discriminated" and so you have to ask, where's the love? Why so staunchly anti-Civil Rights, my friends?

Tom said...

Fred & Freebones, my last comment about the Buchanan types certainly was not intended to spray any shrapnel onto you guys.

CNu said...

Given how segregated our society is they are now enforced informally by real estate agents, sellers, and communities.

"informal enforcement" seems rather a non sequitur - how exactly does that work?

cause if I got the money and you got the yayo, I'm thinking that you fitna part with that yayo or risk some serious repercussions under law.

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. Real estate agents will still not show black people with money homes in certain communities. Well documented. They just had a case here in Chicago that ended with a threatened law suit.

CNu said...

Listing agents/buyers agents - any real estate agent in this economy leaving money on the table is ruh-tarded - and what ruh-tarded folk do hardly qualifies as "enforcement", still less, effective enforcement.

Long overdue time to be serious about what constitutes meaningful racism...,

Tom said...

CD, Here's a question I've never had the guts to ask any Black person. What happens when Black Americans become white ethnic Americans?

Is that a disaster? Is it a worthy goal? Will it happen only in the coming Beige Apocalypse? Is the possibility so remote, or so offensive, that we can't talk about it?

No irony (intended) here. I'm really naive enough to ask.

Tom said...

May be the wrong thread.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

One more thought, that does belong to the thread, and I encourage knowledgeable cross-examination here ... But, speaking as a person of Irish descent, would it be unheard-of for us to just make stuff up?

Eh? Anybody?

chaunceydevega said...

@cnu. it may seem foolish but most of what I have read about segregation suggests it is common. it may seem shortsighted to us, but remember much of these racially motivated decisions about the market--jim crow as one obvious one--involved cartel behavior and a "free" market that was working sub-optimally. libertarians don't get that fact.

the real estate agent may realize they are costing themselves or the firm money by showing people certain properties if they lose white business in the same neighborhood later.

of course, we have the flip-side with block busting and red-lining etc. which you are more than familiar with.

@tom. by definition black americans cannot be an ethnic group like whites because we are "unassimilable." we are the most american of immigrants, being here long before the great waves of europeans came here in the 19th and early 20th century, but a perennial outsider in the racial order. check out some of the classic sociology from glazer and others on this.

now afro-caribs and others are starting to complicate that a bit; but, even their kids are realizing that the american racial order still holds even for them...despite what some of their parents would like to believe about how different their "values" are from ours.

and yes, people lie all the time. sometimes for instrumental gains.

Tom said...

CD I understand the theory says unassimilable by definition and so forth. My question was, let's go sci-fi, what if assimilation takes place anyhow, in defiance of theory?

olderwoman said...

Good post. I learned things I did not know, especially about the mythological status of the "signs" in the US.

Sounds like some commenters know nothing at all about Asian American history (although others obviously do). Chinese were categorically excluded from immigration by the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese were excluded by the Gentleman's Agreement. There were school segregation laws in the west that applied to Chinese and Japanese children and lots of overt racial violence and segregation. Asian immigrants could not become naturalized citizens until after World War II.

There was also racial violence and segregation against Mexicans in the Southwest.

The stuff I've read about the construction of Whiteness makes the point that debates about whether Irish, Eastern Europeans etc were "White" were constructed in a context in the US in which these folks were NEVER denied voting rights or the rights of naturalization. Even as there was clearly lots of ethnic conflict and ethnic violence among Whites, they never ever saw a "lesser" White as being the same as Black, or Chinese.

As CD said in response to comments, just because there was White ethnic conflict and White working class folks had it hard does not mean that they were treated the same as racial minorities.

Anonymous said...

The city is called Gross Pointe and it's point system has a long and racist legacy.

olderwoman said...

Re real estate, the reason agents may pass on the short term gain of selling one house to a Black family is for the long-term gain of (a) not alienating other potential customers and (b) the way in which segregation itself creates additional housing value as Whites pay a premium to be segregated from minorities, and minorities pay a premium to have a smaller share of homes to choose from.

Which is not to say that all real estate agents discriminate. The controlled audit studies of the matter find that measurable discrimination happens in a minority of trials, but often enough to materially reduce the housing opportunities for minorities.

CNu said...

by definition black americans cannot be an ethnic group like whites because we are "unassimilable." we are the most american of immigrants, being here long before the great waves of europeans came here in the 19th and early 20th century, but a perennial outsider in the racial order. check out some of the classic sociology from glazer and others on this.

Uh, Obama residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has turned that on its head once and for all, save for an incorrigible and likely hereditary minority of knuckledragging whites whose total demography across all socio-economic lines I would estimate at less than 15%.

In many regards, like our own ni-nis - though far more broadly dispersed throughout the larger political economy.

CNu said...

What happens when Black Americans become white ethnic Americans?

One's polity is inseparable from one's way of life?

Is it not so?

American-ness is civil rights under law within the polity.

Black Americans become de facto white the minute we assume and exploit all the perogatives available to us under law in America, period.

Everything else is conversation...,

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. Obama is a president who happens to be black, he is not a black president. The white mouth breathing classes don't get that distinction--the elites do.

As an aside compare Brazil and the U.S. The former is a "multiracial" democracy supposedly, but its elites are almost uniformly white while the country's day-to-day is more integrated. The U.S. is "post-civil rights" but the leadership class is much more integrated than the day-to-day folks are.

True integration would require a black president who is not running away from his racial identity and where blackness is seen as salient and "American" as being Italian, Irish, etc. Being black would have to cease to be a stigma. White identity is dependent on that fact.

As I said, ain't gonna happen. Can't any time soon...until it does.

@Older. Cosign. I don't think that lots of folks get the relationship between racism, cartel behavior, strategic behavior, and the market. Then again the masses are asses.

fred c said...

I'm afraid that you're right, "ain't gonna happen . . . soon." And it breaks my heart.

This stuff is so deeply ingrained, it all happens so far below consciousness. I just locked horns with a guy on another site, a real Weasel-Zippers-Talking-Points-Tea-Party-Numbskull. So then I looked him up, checked his Facebook, same picture and all, it's him, and the guy's family is as blended as a smoothy, Black and White, mixed race grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and he seems to love them all! But still he'll dance the "Monkey Time" about President Obama in the same column. That's textbook not-getting-it right there. One step above people who think they love Blacks because they own a Wilson Picket record.

And don't laugh, it does break my heart. Watching Black and White in America is like observing a family with two great kids but the parents favor one over the other in a mean spirited way. It's infuriating.

ellemarie said...

Great post. Like OlderWoman I learned a number of new things. My biggest takeaway from this comes not from your post (although it’s suggested there) but from a comment you make: “Where are the long standing class alliances across lines of race (I can think of a few examples, the integrated miner's unions in PA) into the present?” One of the greatest effects of these myths of “White Ethnics” (which conveniently overstep white privilege and this country’s long embrace of white supremacy) is that they make it damn near impossible for class- /economics-based alliances between whites and blacks (and other POCs). I’ve referenced it here before, but it’s worth bringing it up again, Gilroy’s There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack provides an excellent analysis of the dynamics of race and class within national (British/English) politics. It’s obviously not a perfect translation, but offers some great food for thought. It’s time for a re-read.

freebones said...

@tom: nothing perceived. open discussion is something i enjoy on this blog. :)

@CDV: i will acknowledge that you clearly know more than me on this subject, but i think we just disagree on this. fair enough.

Unknown said...

I'm glad I stumbled across your blog. In grad school, I was never comfortable with my cultural history profs who insisted on the "non-whiteness" of European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For me, it seemed like liberal middle-class white professors were trying to fulfill a fantasy of being 'black' for the sake of coolness and politics, plus boredom with empty middle-class culture. And the desire to distance themselves from conservative and/or racist whites. This effort to claim a sort of vicarious blackness by insisting that their immigrant ancestors were "nonwhite" did not seem genuine to me, and often made me angry.
But a moment of caution is needed, however. East and South European and Irish immigrants were not "black" by any means, but the fact that they were not Anglo-Saxon Protestant did lead Anglo Protestants to try to put distance between established whites and newcomers. I can relate a story to you, told to me by my grandmother, before she died. My (birth) family background is part Mexican and part Jewish. I'm adopted, and my maternal grandmother was Slovak. She told me (and she never read academic books and never went to grad school!) that when she was a girl in small-town Pennsylvania, the Protestants used to ridicule the immigrants, call them "Guineas," and say that they were "dark skinned." That is not the same thing as being "black" or African-American, but here is the seed of truth that is underneath layers of whiteness history. Poor immigrants were not 'completely white' in the sense that racist Protestants did not accept immigrants as equals.
I also agree that the "No Irish Need Apply" thing has been exaggerated, but I would point out that I recently found a contemporary reference to that phenomenon, by accident:
about the Irish:
"It was not unusual to see on the frontier railroad stations and in advertisements in New York newspapers, 'No Irish need apply.' " (Madison Grant, The Conquest of a Continent, p 160, New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1933). He may have used the 'myth' for his own purposes or maybe those signs did exist, but at any rate, this is a reference from the 1930s about the existence of those anti-Irish warnings.

Anon said...

Fictionalized narrative of white ethnic suffering? Wait a minute, just because idiots use white ethnic suffering to try and counter the civil rights movement DOES NOT MEAN that white ethnic suffering was a "myth".... And as far as I'm concerned, the reason why whites 'want to be black' is because they want to distinguish themselves from the nativist Anglos to which they have been grouped together with. If a person who is defined as Hispanic cries out that they are Latino and not Hispanic, does that mean they are 'trying to be black'? NOOOOO! 'White' is a term that lumps all white ethnics together despite the various cultural distinctions that applied to us in Europe. So why is it considered ridiculous that many Italian-Americans see themselves as not being the same as a German or Anglo American and therefore reject the term, White? The term White, just like the term Hispanic, purges individuals of their distinctive cultural heritage WITH THE EXCEPTION that White grants privileged status and Hispanic does not. So when whites honestly speak about their ancestors and refer to the hard times and the old countries, sociologists call it a bunch of bullshit? Because we now enjoy privilege due to being labeled as white decades ago? GTFO of here with that shit, please. The term White was created by the elite, nativist class of Anglos to pit the 'lesser' white ethnics against Blacks and 'Mexicans'....although the result created a type of privilege for white ethnics, it has also resulted in a loss of identity and an illusion that white skin means you're well off in life....FUCK