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View Diary: Who Am I?: Not So Irish After All (A Big Genealogy Surprise, Part 2) (180 comments)

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  •  Excellent diary, tipped and recced (13+ / 0-)

    One thing that I think is missing however in your otherwise nuanced history of the region--the ugliness of desegregation in Boston.  The sad reality was that much of the opposition in Boston was in the Irish Catholic (democratic) neighborhoods.  Another of the many sad cases where one minority was pitted against another.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 11:57:03 AM PST

    •  Yes (8+ / 0-)

      This went on in NYC and Philly, etc., too. I think Boston gets a bad rap since it went to court, etc. But it's true there was plenty of racism among the Irish in the neighborhoods (my grandfather's sister moved out of South Boston over this).

      Other things also were afoot, including an internecine Boston Irish struggle. People genuinely resented having their kids bussed to a hostile neighborhood while the lace curtain folks in the suburbs were not impacted. In fact the Supreme Court, in a case out of Detroit, had taken the suburbs off the table, but nobody got that and being lectured to by an Irish-American judge from Wellesley didn't play well. And the program was not implemented well.

      My view is that, because of being at the bottom of the chain for so long, in Ireland and here, people should know better. But I also think the intensity of anti-Irish feeling promoted that exclusionary attitude. It's not an accident Charlestown and Southie, the places most resistant to integration, are peninsulas where unwelcome immigrants sought refuge.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:25:05 PM PST

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      •  My wife is Chicago Irish Catholic (12+ / 0-)

        and well remembers the racist vitriol of her grandparents (and to a degree even her parents).  Its complicated, but I guess it ultimately came down to a simple thing...the anti-Irish bigots always compared the Irish to blacks.  Rather than say "what's so bad about being black", the Irish screamed "we aren't black." And thus solidarity was lost.  

        To be clear, this wasn't meant as judgement.  On my mothers side I come from a long line of southern bigots, some early slave-owners, but for the last 200 years mostly white trash, but almost all rabidly bigots.  My mothers relatives, not just her ancestors, are in the Klan...my mother fled the south, married a yankee and escaped that world.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:33:27 PM PST

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        •  Not taken as judgment (6+ / 0-)

          The desegregation is an important chapter in Boston history and a difficult one for me. There's plenty of history of Irish-Americans not having solidarity with African-Americans, but there's some history the other way too. And Daniel O'Connell, over in Ireland, was a strong supporter of Frederick Douglass.

          In my own Irish family there were not, with one or two exceptions, any hardcore racists to my knowledge. My parents in particular never would have stood for it, and I brought people from all over the world home over the years.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:49:56 PM PST

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