Aren’t Irish White?

I think it cannot be maintained by any candid person that the African race have ever occupied or do promise ever to occupy any very high place in the human family. Their present condition is the strongest proof that they cannot. The Irish cannot; the American Indian cannot; the Chinese cannot. Before the energy of the Caucasian race all the other races have quailed and done obeisance.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote those words in the late 1820s or early 1830s (Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks, Volume 12). Someone asked, in response to that quote, “aren’t Irish white?” Well, to the younger Emerson, obviously the Irish weren’t white or rather weren’t Caucasian.

Another great American luminary was Walt Whitman, a close acquaintance of Emerson. From a personal letter, he called Emerson “dear Friend and Master” and the admiration was mutual, Emerson even having penned Whitman a letter of recommendation. In the following decade, writing about Catholics after St. Patrick’s Cathedral was attacked by a Protestant mob, Whitman echoed Emerson’s attitude in describing the Irish faith as a “horrible and beastly superstition . . . dregs of foreign filth” (from The New York Aurora). Beastly! That was once a common way of speaking of the Irish, not just their whiteness but their very humanity under the severest of doubt.

They both were writing at a time when the large waves of Irish immigrants were seen as one of the greatest threats by American WASPs. Think about it. In the decades prior, there had been several Irish rebellions, all of which failed. This had led to many Irish seeking to escape to other countries, most of them ending up in the United States. The English were more than glad to get rid of them. Those of English ancestry in the U.S., however, weren’t so glad to receive them. Just because Americans had fought a revolution against the British a half century before didn’t lead them to be any more sympathetic to the Irish cause, much less the Irish people.

I know it seems strange compared to the world now. But the US once was a far different place. It’s just a fact that the Irish, Scots-Irish, Italians, etc weren’t always considered white or Caucasian. There are entire books written explaining this history. One such book is The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter, in which she discusses the above Emerson quote, and a few paragraphs on she writes that,

After the failure of the Hungarian revolution in 1848 and Lajos Kossuth’s triumphant tour as a hero in exile, Emerson found a way to view the Hungarian situation through an Irish lens: “The paddy period lasts long. Hungary, it seems, must take the yoke again, & Austria, & Italy, & Prussia, & France. Only the English race can be trusted with freedom.” Emerson pontificated against Central Europeans as well as the Irish: “Races. Our idea, certainly, of Poles & Hungarians is little better than of horses recently humanized.”

Back in the day, whiteness as an idea was mixed up with nationality, ethnicity, and religion. The Irish (and other immigrant groups) weren’t English, weren’t of Anglo/Germanic stock, and generally weren’t Protestant. Although assimilating better than later immigrants, even the Germans early on were treated differently. Benjamin Franklin was prejudiced against Palatine Germans and perceived them as almost racially other—since they were shorter and darker-skinned, along with speaking a different language, having a different culture, and being of different religions (at the time, many were Pietists or Anabaptists, separate from the Protestant tradition).

All those who weren’t WASPs were perceived as foreigners and they indeed often looked different—different color of skin, different color of hair, different attire, etc. Italians, in the 1800s, were sometimes referred to as ‘niggers’ because of their dark skin and dark, curly hair. The Irish, despite their pale skin and lighter hair, were also compared to Africans and Native Americans, portrayed as ape-like and called gorillas, sometimes referred to as savages and their children in the cities dismissed as Street Arabs (Catholicism was seen as foreign as Islam). Painter, in The History of White People, states that,

AMERICAN VISUAL culture testifies to a widespread fondness for likening the Irishman to the Negro. No one supplied better fodder for this parallel than Thomas Nast, the German-born editorial cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly. In 1876, for instance, Nast pictured stereotypical southern freedmen and northern Irishmen as equally unsuited for the vote during Reconstruction after the American Civil War.

As with the Scottish and Scots-Irish, the Irish were seen as a tribal people, not quite civilized. In early America, poor ethnics (i.e., white trash) were associated with Native Americans, sometimes seen as below them—from White Trash by Nancy Isenberg, (pp. 109-110):

“Crackers” first appeared in the records of British officials in the 1760s and described a population with nearly identical traits. In a letter to Lord Dartmouth, one colonial British officer explained that the people called “crackers” were “great boasters,” a “lawless set of rascals on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia, who often change their places of abode.” As backcountry “banditti,” “villains,” and “horse thieves,” they were dismissed as “idle strag[g]lers” and “a set of vagabonds often worse than the Indians.”

The children of Irish-Americans and other non-English ethnics in Eastern cities were regularly gathered up and put on orphan trains to be sent off West to be adopted. But in reality it usually meant a form of indentured servitude as they were often used as cheap labor. This practice that began in the 19th century continued into the early 20th century. This played a role in the Irish becoming white, as I explained previously:

WASPs, in their fear of Catholics, intentionally placed Catholic children into Protestant homes. In response, Catholics began to implement their own programs to deal with Catholic children in need of homes. One such case involved nuns bringing a trainload of Irish orphans to Arizona to be adopted by Catholic families. The problem was that the Catholic families in question were Mexican-American. The nuns didn’t understand the local racism/ethnocentrism involved and were taken by surprise by the response of the local WASPs. The “white” population living there took great offense at this challenge to racial purity. Suddenly, when put into that context, the Irish children were deemed to be innocent whites to be protected against an inferior race. This is ironic because where those Irish children came from in the big cities out East they were considered the inferior race.

It still took a long time for the Irish to become fully white.

Consider another example: white flight and ethnic succession. This was in reality a lot more complex. Different groups were escaping various other groups over time. Those deemed most inferior, undesirable, and threatening was always shifting. Early on, into the 20th century, the Irish were focus of fear and derision—Prohibitionists often had the Irish in mind when they sought to enforce social control over the perceived drunken masses. Even other minorities, blacks included, sometimes thought it best to escape the Irish. Certainly, the more well off whites didn’t want them in their neighborhoods, not until the mid-20th century when the Irish had moved a bit further up the ladder of economic class.

It demanded centuries of struggle—from political disenfranchisement and economic oppression by the English in Ireland, not unlike slavery and sometimes worse (as during the mass starvation and deportation of the artificially created Potato Famine), to finally being assimilated into American whiteness. That path toward respectability and relative privilege wasn’t inevitable and wouldn’t have been obvious to earlier generations. It wasn’t obvious to 19th century WASPs such as Emerson and Whitman, two white men who thought Irish advancement implausible and Irish aspirations threatening.

It’s sad, of course, that Irish-Americans shoved down African-Americans and Chinese-Americans in their pushing themselves up. They defied the stereotypes of the Irish Paddy and Bridget, even as they promoted the stereotypes of others. This is the story of America. If Emerson and Whitman had lived longer, the Irish might have finally won over some grudging admiration in their joining the ranks of whiteness and defending the racial order. Or maybe those early American WASPs wouldn’t have recognized this broader notion of the white race, the American mutt—it’s not the country they had envisioned as their own.

* * *

Why did the English people previously see the Irish and Scottish Celts as racially inferior?
by samj234, Reddit

The Teen Who Exposed a Professor’s Myth
by Ben Collins, The Daily Beast

The Irish were persecuted in the American job market—and precisely in the overt, literally written-down way that was always believed.

Irish-Americans, Racism and the Pursuit of Whiteness
by Jessie Daniels, Racism Review

Like many immigrant groups in the United States, the Irish were characterized as racial Others when they first arrived in the first half of the 19th century. The Irish had suffered profound injustice in the U.K. at the hands of the British, widely seen as “white negroes.” The potato famine that created starvation conditions that cost the lives of millions of Irish and forced the out-migration of millions of surviving ones, was less a natural disaster and more a complex set of social conditions created by British landowners (much like Hurricane Katrina). Forced to flee from their native Ireland and the oppressive British landowners, many Irish came to the U.S.

Once in the U.S., the Irish were to negative stereotyping that was very similar to that of enslaved Africans and African Americans. The comic Irishman – happy, lazy, stupid, with a gift for music and dance – was a stock character in American theater. Drunkenness and criminality were major themes of Irish stereotypes […]

Simian, or ape-like caricature of the Irish immigrant was also a common one among the mainstream news publications of the day (much like the recent New York Post cartoon). For example, in 1867 American cartoonist Thomas Nast drew “The Day We Celebrate” a cartoon depicting the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day as violent, drunken apes. And, in 1899, Harper’s Weekly featrued a drawing of three men’s heads in profile: Irish, Anglo-Teutonic and Negro, in order to illustrate the similarity between the Irish and the Negro (and, the supposed superiority of the Anglo-Teutonic). In northern states, blacks and Irish immigrants were forced into overlapping – often integrated – slum neighborhoods. Although leaders of the Irish liberation struggle (in Ireland) saw slavery as an evil, their Irish-American cousins largely aligned with the slaveholders.

And, following the end of slavery, the Irish and African Americans were forced to compete for the same low-wage, low-status jobs. So, the “white negroes” of the U.K. came to the United States and, though not enslaved, faced a status almost as low as that of recently-freed blacks. While there were moments of solidarity between Irish and African Americans, this was short lived.

by Michele Walfred, Thomas Nast Cartoons

The Irish-as-ape-stereotype frequently surfaces, as a popular trope, with the English in the mid-nineteenth century. But, In Nothing But the Same Old Story, researcher Liz Curtis provides plentiful examples that establish anti-Irish sentiment as a centuries-long tradition.

Dehumanizing the Irish by drawing them as beasts or primates served as a convenient technique for any conqueror, and it made perfect sense for an English empire intent on placing Ireland and its people under its jurisdiction and control. The English needed to prove the backwardness of the Irish to justify their colonization (16). When the Irish fought back against English oppression, their violence only perpetuated the “violent beast” prejudice held against them.

English artist James Gillray had drawn the Irish as an ogre – a type of humanoid beast – in a reaction to the Irish’s short-lived rebellion against England in 1798. Even before English scientific circles had begun to distort Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species later in the century, the English had favored the monkey and ape as a symbol for Hibernians.

After the Irish had made great social and political gains in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the view that they were of a different race than white people continued to persist…

by Michele Walfred, Thomas Nast Cartoons

In America, Highman distills this down to three themes that ran through nativist sentiment in the early nineteenth century: Reformation and the hatred of Roman Catholicism, fear of foreign radicals and political revolutionaries, and racial nativism, which led to the belief America belonged to people of the Anglo-Saxon race. The United States was their domain. The Irish were viewed as a different race and this belief continued to permeate long after the initial Protestant-driven nativist sentiment had considerably weakened. […]

“American writers, cartoonists, and so-called scientific experts hammered away at Irish violence, emotional instability, and contentment in squalor” (Meagher 217). In the eyes of Protestants with ancestral ties to England, the Irish were no better than animals. The Irish presented a triple threat. Their growing numbers, allegiance to strong, organized religion ruled by a foreign monarch, and political gains within Tweed’s Democratic Party, all posed a serious concern to the Protestant elite.

Protestant nativists fought for their survival and painted the Irish as “others.” They eagerly adopted and repeated the British trope of the Irish as unsophisticated, violent-prone animals, a lower being on the evolutionary scale. The Irish’s faith, and in particular their blind allegiance to a foreign pontiff, unsettled nativists. Protestants Americans remembered the hard-fought revolutionary history of their young nation. During the peak years of the potato famine migration (1845-1855) nativists portrayed the Irish in invasion terminology. Nativists predicted the American way of life would end.

By 1880, by and large, the Irish successfully pulled themselves out of their “lowlife” status in a number of ways. They gained respect through their service in the Civil War on behalf of the Union, and in New York City, through political positions awarded by William M. “Boss” Tweed in return for their loyalty and vote. With these gains in respectablility and power, the Irish emerged as a sought-after voting bloc. But politics alone was not enough to counter nativist prejudice. Most significantly, the Irish fought hard to define themselves as white. To do so meant practicing their own brand of nativism. and align with other xenophobes. The Chinese were a convenient target.

In assessing the work of several “whiteness” studies, historian Timothy Meagher asserts that self-identification as “white” went beyond skin color. “It was not clear that the Irish were white” (217).

America’s dark and not-very-distant history of hating Catholics
by Rory Carroll, The Guardian

Demagogues in the nativist movement incited fury and fear about the huge numbers of impoverished German and Irish Catholic immigrants, many barely speaking English, who spilled off ships.

Newspapers and Protestant clergymen, including Lyman Beecher, co-founder of the American Temperance Society, swelled the outcry, warning the influx would take jobs, spread disease and crime and plot a coup to install the Pope in power.

In 1844 mobs burnt Catholic churches and hunted down victims, notably in Philadelphia where, coincidentally or not, Francis will wrap up his week-long visit.

Abuse from Protestant officers partly drove hundreds of Irish soldiers to defect from the US army to the Mexican side before and during the 1846-48 war with Mexico. The deserters obtained revenge, for a while, by forming the San Patricio battalion and targeting their former superiors in battle, only to wind up jailed, branded and hanged after Mexico surrendered.

The growth of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century gave a new impetus to attacks – mostly verbal – on Catholics.

Roman Catholics and Immigration in Nineteenth-Century America
by Julie Byrne, NHC

Many members of other faiths—Jews, Protestants, and even some Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists—arrived in the successive waves of massive immigration to the United States between the 1840s and 1920s. But Catholics from various countries were the most numerous—and the most noticed. In 1850 Catholics made up only five percent of the total U.S. population. By 1906, they made up seventeen percent of the total population (14 million out of 82 million people)—and constituted the single largest religious denomination in the country.

Immigration in the 1920s

The New Immigrants were distinctive from earlier migrants in that most didn’t want to stay. These immigrants, mostly male and mostly young, hoped to earn enough money during a temporary stay in America to be able to afford an increased standard of living upon returning to their homeland. Something between 50% and 80% of the New Immigrants are believed to have eventually returned to their countries of origin. The exceptions were Jews (who mostly came from Russia, and only 4% of whom repatriated) and Irish (9%), two groups that tended to stay in America permanently because they faced religious persecution, political oppression, and economic privation back home.

Free Speech, World War One, and the Problem of Dissent
by Michael O’Malley, RRCHNM

World War One pitted England, France and Russia against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was difficult, at the beginning of the war, to determine who was the worst of the warring paries, and Americans faced the conflict with divided loyalties. For many Americans of English descent, England seemed like our natural ally. Many American political leaders, most prominently Woodrow Wilson, felt a strong sense of “anglophilia,” or love of England. But Germans and Irish were the two largest immigrant groups to the United States in 1917. Irish immigrants carried bitter memories of English oppression, while German Americans, not surprisingly, tended to favor their homeland, or at least not to regard it as an enemy.

Wilson worried about this division and regarded it as dangerous. Regarding Italian-Americans, German-American, Irish-Americans as suspect, he once declared “Any man who caries a hyphen around with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of the republic.

The Visibility of Whiteness and Immigration Restriction in the United States, 1880-1930
by Robert Júlio Decker, Critical Race and Whiteness Studies

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Western definition of whiteness underwent several significant changes. Scientific racism, understood here as the “language, concepts, methods and authority of science [which] were used to support the belief that certain human groups were intrinsically inferior to others, as measured by some socially defined criterion” (Stepan 1987: IX), provided the methods to not only construct a black/white racial binary, but also to distinguish between several European races. Scientific racism was often augmented by discourses centred on the supposed cultural traits inherent to racial composition. In Britain and the United States, Irish immigrants were racialised as putatively inferior up to the 1880s (Ignatiev 1995: 34-59; Jacobson 1998: 48-52; Knobel 1996). From the 1860s, however, the definition of Englishness slowly began to include all inhabitants of the British Isles and the term Anglo-Saxon was established as generic racial referent for this group (Young 2008: 140-187).

A “Perverse and Ill-Fated People”:
English Perceptions of the Irish, 1845-52

by Ed Lengel, University of Virginia

…the emerging racialist conception of Irish difference, which became dominant in the second half of the nineteenth century. In a sense, the products of Liberal and racialist interpretations of the Irish problem were the same. Idealistic Liberal dreams of an “intimate” marriage between Hibernia and John Bull did not challenge the essentially paternalistic and colonial Anglo-Irish relationship. Indeed, Liberal faith in the improvability of men contributed to a restrictive famine policy intended to teach the Irish to adopt middle-class standards of thrift and morality. It is worth emphasizing in any case that Liberals and racialists agreed on the basic qualities of Saxon and Celt; but while Liberals explained this difference in a gendered discourse of moral inequality, racialists insisted that the ineradicable boundaries of biology would forever separate the two peoples. In both instances, Britain would forever be the master and Ireland the subject.

Racism and Anti-Irish Prejudice in Victorian England
by Anthony S. Wohl, The Victorian Web

In much of the pseudo-scientific literature of the day the Irish were held to be inferior, an example of a lower evolutionary form, closer to the apes than their “superiors”, the Anglo-Saxons . Cartoons in Punch portrayed the Irish as having bestial, ape-like or demonic features and the Irishman, (especially the political radical) was invariably given a long or prognathous jaw, the stigmata to the phrenologists of a lower evolutionary order, degeneracy, or criminality. Thus John Beddoe, who later became the President of the Anthropological Institute (1889-1891), wrote in his Races of Britain (1862) that all men of genius were orthognathous (less prominent jaw bones) while the Irish and the Welsh were prognathous and that the Celt was closely related to Cromagnon man, who, in turn, was linked, according to Beddoe, to the “Africanoid”. The position of the Celt in Beddoe’s “Index of Nigrescence” was very different from that of the Anglo-Saxon. These ideas were not confined to a lunatic fringe of the scientific community, for although they never won over the mainstream of British scientists they were disseminated broadly and it was even hinted that the Irish might be the elusive missing link! Certainly the “ape-like” Celt became something of an malevolent cliche of Victorian racism. Thus Charles Kingsley could write

I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw [in Ireland] . . . I don’t believe they are our fault. . . . But to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not feel it so much. . . .” (Charles Kingsley in a letter to his wife, quoted in L.P. Curtis, Anglo-Saxons and Celts, p.84).

Even seemingly complimentary generalizations about the Irish national character could, in the Victorian context, be damaging to the Celt. Thus, following the work of Ernest Renan’s La Poésie des Races Celtiques (1854), it was broadly argued that the Celt was poetic, light-hearted and imaginative, highly emotional, playful, passionate, and sentimental. But these were characteristics the Victorians also associated with children. Thus the Irish were “immature” and in need of guidance by others, more highly developed than themselves. Irish “emotion” was contrasted, unfavorably, with English “reason”, Irish “femininity” with English “masculine” virtues, Irish “poetic” attributes with English “pragmatism”. These were all arguments which conveniently supported British rule in Ireland.

A British Ireland, Or the Limits of Race and Hybridity in Maria Edgeworth’s Novels
by Kimberly Philomen Clarke, Georgetown University

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as Roxanne Wheeler discusses in The Complexion of Race (2000), race was seen as mutable and had a complex relationship to religion. Racial difference was not only dependent on a fixed categorization of skin color, but also on clothing, religion, and culture.19 Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Britons defined themselves according to their Protestantism, clothing, and climate, among other characteristics, and as the nineteenth century arrived, whiteness finally became a marker of Britishness as “skin color emerg[ed] as the most important component of racial identity in Britain during the third quarter of the eighteenth century” (Wheeler 9).

Race became the determinant of culture and history, a common “principle of academic knowledge” in the nineteenth century (Young 93). The correlation between whiteness with Englishness developed in the 1720s and 1730s with the assumption that racial blackness signified one’s intellectual and spiritual inferiority (Wheeler 98). Historian Winthrop Jordan has argued that in the mid-seventeenth century, colonists in confrontation with the Other went from calling themselves Christian to calling themselves English, free, and “white,” a term that came to symbolize a moral and intellectual superiority against blackness and non-Britishness (Wheeler 74). Against this darker, inferior other among the nonwhite British colonies in Africa, the West Indies, and India, Britishness became emblematic of a white empire that would not be culturally or racially muddied by foreign influences (Colley 312).

[…] for the Irish to be British. Primarily, they have to sacrifice their symbolic blackness, that which symbolizes their peasantry class, cultural otherness, and religious differences, and particularly that which marks their contentious history and centuries long colonization by England. To forfeit this darkness symbolizing the history of suppression and difference, however, is also to surrender a part of a collective Irish identity in Britain. […]

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Irish were seen as a symbolic manifestation of a biracial, Caucasian/African hybridity. There are stereotypes that confirm the outsider status of the Irish both before and after the 1801 Act of Union, some of which continue to paint the British as white and the Irish as nonwhite, or at least not white enough to be British. Richard Lebow’s White Ireland and Black Ireland (1976) mentions the “racist attitudes toward the Irish in Victorian Britain” (14). He argues that “racist expressions were merely the age old anti-Irish prejudice couched in the jargon of the day” (15). In The Times in 1836, Benjamin Disraeli claims the Irish “hate our free and fertile isle. They hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our sustained courage, our decorous liberty, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain, and superstitious race has no sympathy with the English character” (quoted in Lebow 61). Andrew Murphy quotes Charles Kingsley, who visited Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century, writing to his wife that, “I am daunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country…to see white chimpanzees is dreadful: if they were black, one would not feel it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours” (Murphy 12). Furthermore, disgusted at Irish poverty and how it contradicts his British image of whiteness, Kingsley writes, “Can you picture in your mind a race of white men reduced to this condition? White men! Yes the highest and purest blood and breed of men” (Murphy 44). These quotations demonstrate both the racial whiteness and “otherness” or non-whiteness that Irish identity connotes in Edgeworth’s literature. Irish otherness was fueled stereotypes of racial, cultural, and intellectual differences that “the Irish” as a generalized group endured before and throughout the nineteenth century and onward. […]

Edgeworth associates Irish peasantry with physical blackness in a letter to her Aunt Ruxton in which she expresses her fears of the sort of Irish rebellion that was frequent in the late eighteenth century and which her family twice before had endured.27 Edgeworth confesses, “All I crave for my own part is, that if I am to have my throat cut, it might not be by a man with his face blackened with charcoal” (Egenolf 849-50). She later says that she “shall look at every person that comes here very closely, to see if there be any marks of charcoal upon their visages” (850). This blackness results from working with charcoal and other materials associated with manual labor. However, in these lines, Edgeworth is not commenting on Irish working class life but rather the threatening gaze of those faces blackened with charcoal and the fear that blackness represents for Edgeworth and her family as the Irish rebel, reclaiming his own agency, destabilizes the power of the upper class families in Ireland. Therefore, keeping in mind the Africanist image of the danger associated with Irish blackened faces, one may read Christy’s physical blackness as not a result of work but some inherent racial trait the Irish were thought to have and that reflected anxieties about the power native Irish against middle and upper class whiteness (859-60).

Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race
by Bruce Nelson
pp. 34-35

A month later the Bristol Mirror charged that “the Indians with their tomahawks and scalping knives are a much nobler set of savages than the murderers of Limerick and Tipperary.” 16

The comparison of the Irish with the “savages of America” was familiar enough; it dated from the seventeenth century. But there was a dramatically new development in the second half of the nineteenth century, a time when Darwinian science posited an evolutionary chain of being in which humans were descended directly from African apes. In this context, British commentators created a “simianized,” or apelike, Paddy whose likeness to the “backward” races of Africa was inescapable. Perry Curtis has traced this development in Apes and Angels. He notes that the Rising of 1798 led British cartoonists to develop images of a preternaturally ugly Paddy whose appearance was far more ominous and repellent than that of the bumptious but relatively harmless stage Irishman who had predominated for much of the eighteenth century. Some of these cartoon characters were given porcine features, but until the 1860s the cartoon Irishman remained largely human. It was with the coming of Darwinian evolution, and the reemergence of violent Irish republicanism in the guise of Fenianism, that the transformation of the stereotypical Paddy really took off with the publication of cartoon caricatures such as “The Irish Devil-Fish” (a massive octopus with simian facial features) and the even more notorious “Irish Frankenstein,” with his dagger dripping blood. According to Curtis, “In a biological sense, Paddy had devolved, not evolved, from a primitive peasant to an unruly Caliban, thence to a ‘white Negro,’ and finally he arrived at the lowest conceivable level of the gorilla and the orangutan.”

pp. 38-45

Even in regard to France, the citadel of Celtic achievement, he observed that the country’s “vast Moorish population” was “superior in all respects to the lazy, worthless Celt.” 24

Knox’s elevation of the dark-skinned Moor above the Celt is a vivid example of the slippage that often occurred in racial discourse about the Irish. Even relatively sympathetic observers resorted to characterizations of Irish Celts that linked them to darker races and, sometimes, to apes. […]

But Jackson also ruminated on the “Iberian character” of the Irish peasantry, raising the familiar specter of southern origins, Moorish blood, and intimations of darkness and savagery. Referring specifically to the peasants of the west and south of Ireland, he reported that “an absolutely negroid type has been occasionally detected by keen observers,” which meant that “inferior and non-Aryan racial elements are clearly perceptible in the population of the sister isle.” 26 Jackson’s fellow anthropologist Hector MacLean concurred and identified a racial type, also with Iberian characteristics, that was “very prevalent in the west of Ireland. . . . The stature is generally low,” he claimed, “with dark skin and complexion; the head is long, low, and broad; the hair black, coarse, and shaggy; the eyes black or dark brown, or grey, with fiery lustre; forehead receding, with lower part of face prominent.” 27 To those who were predisposed to believe them, reports of this kind served to reinforce elite and popular perceptions of the Irish as akin to “the negro,” “the savage,” and even “the ape.” […]

To locate the “real” Irish, then, one had to go to the west and southwest of the country, where there had been less immigration and therefore less mixing of blood. To be sure, in fishing villages on Galway Bay and in the Aran Islands, Beddoe found significant examples of intermarriage, and thus of racial hybridity. But for the most part, the west was the home of “swarthy” and “dark-complexioned aborigines,” many of whom had dark eyes and even darker, sometimes “coal-black,” hair. By themselves, hair and eye color did not indicate skin color, and for the most part Beddoe acknowledged that he was dealing with whites, although he did record that in the mountains between Sligo and Roscommon he had encountered “the swarthiest people I have ever seen.” He also created an “Index of Nigrescence” to measure the range of hair and eye color from one racial type to another, and like virtually all of the anthropologists of his generation, he could not help but speculate on the relationship between racial classification and intelligence and temperament. “There is an Irish type . . . which I am disposed to derive from the race of Cro-Magnon,“ he reported. “In the West of Ireland I have frequently seen it. Though the head is large, the intelligence is low, and there is a great deal of cunning and suspicion.” He also discovered a tendency toward “prognathism” among people in England, Wales, and Ireland, with Ireland as its “present centre.” Venturing onto very slippery terrain indeed, he speculated that “most of its lineaments are such as to lead us to think of Africa as its possible birthplace, and it may be well, provisionally, to call it Africanoid.” 30

Beddoe did not always follow the apparent logic of his own conclusions. He argued in The Races of Britain that “the points of likeness to the anthropoid apes are distributed variously among the different races of mankind, . . . [and] none of them can be taken in themselves to imply intellectual or moral inferiority.” But by creating an index of nigrescence, and constructing a prognathous physical type in Ireland that he identified as “Africanoid,” he provided openings for others who were far more determined to assert the racial inferiority of the Irish and to see them as a race that had not achieved the salient characteristics commonly associated with “whiteness.” In the early twentieth century, especially in response to the polarization and violence of the Irish War of Independence, a new generation of scholars and pseudoscholars was determined to portray the Irish as a people whose many negative attributes were rooted in a suspect racial past. In 1919 two Harvard geneticists claimed that the Irish were “principally the product of the mingling of two savage Mongolian tribes,” and in 1922 two equally zealous Hibernophobes found a “strain of negro blood” in the Firbolgs, or Attacotti, the ancient race that had invaded Ireland and allegedly waged a war of extermination against its “fair-haired and clean-skinned” rivals on the island. 31

These developments in the realm of science were reflected in a wider, more random discourse through which elite and popular commentators linked the Irish with black Africans and African Americans in a shared stereotype that alleged laziness, irrationality, and an incapacity for self-government as essential characteristics of both races. By the mid-nineteenth century or soon thereafter, the tendency to portray the Irish as apelike creatures who were laughably crude and lamentably violent was becoming a commonplace in the United States as well as Britain. In a meditation on the “Celtic physiognomy,” the American magazine Harper’s Weekly commented on the “small and somewhat upturned nose [and] the black tint of the skin,” while Punch characterized the “Irish Yahoo” who populated “the lowest districts of London and Liverpool” as “a creature manifestly between the Gorilla and the Negro,” a “climbing animal [who] may sometimes be seen ascending a ladder with a hod of bricks.” 32 […]

What comes through in so many of these observations is the racial “in-betweenness” of the Irish in the eye of the beholder. 34 Although Harper’s Weekly did comment on the “black tint of the [Irish] skin,” few observers were willing to argue that the Irish were “black” or “coloured,” no matter how high they registered on Beddoe’s index of nigrescence. Instead, in the age of Darwin, Irishmen and -women were portrayed as “white chimpanzees,” as “creature[ s] manifestly between the Gorilla and the Negro,” and as “more like a tribe of squalid apes than human beings.” Charles Kingsley, an Anglican clergyman and regius professor of modern history at Cambridge, was “haunted by the human chimpanzees” he encountered during a holiday in Ireland in 1860. “To see white chimpanzees is dreadful,” he confided to his wife; “if they were black, one would not feel it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours.” Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish writer and polemicist, did not doubt that the Irish had “a white skin” and even “European features,” but they were “savages” nonetheless. “The Celt[ s] of Connemara,” he wrote in the 1840s, “are white and not black; but it is not the colour of the skin that determines the savagery of a man” or of a race. “He is a savage who in his sullen stupidity, in his chronic rage and misery, cannot know the facts of this world when he sees them; [who] . . . brandishes his tomahawk against the laws of Nature.” Carlyle exempted the “Teutonic Irish” of Ulster from his censure, but he charged that the chronic laziness of the Celtic Irish, and their refusal to accept that for the foreseeable future their role must be to labor for others, made them akin to the black ex-slaves of Jamaica, for whom he recommended a return to the “beneficence” of involuntary servitude. As for Kingsley, he informed a friend that the “harsh school of facts” had cured him of any illusions about equality between the races. “I have seen,” he wrote, “that the differences of race are so great, that certain races, e.g., the Irish Celts, seem quite unfit for self-government.” 35

Other observers also believed that the racial characteristics of the Irish made them seem more like blacks and less like bona fide “white men.” When James Bryce wrote of the Negro that “his intelligence is rather quick than solid, and . . . shows the childishness as well as lack of self-control which belongs to primitive peoples,” he could just as easily have been describing the Irish as far as many readers were concerned. 36 During the Great War, it was not uncommon for those who witnessed or worked with Irish recruits in the British army to characterize them as “hardy and brave,” but also as prone to “displays of unnecessary bravado” that resulted in excessive casualties on the battlefield. Even a British officer who had “great sympathy” for the Irish troops he led confided to his wife that “his men came from ‘an extraordinary and inexplicable race’ and that Ireland must be an ‘island of children with the bodies of men.’ ” These are nearly the same terms that French observers applied to the black soldiers who were recruited from France’s West African colonies. They too displayed a “wild impulsiveness” and “fierce ardour for hand-to-hand combat” that made them ideal “shock troops.” But there were also frequent allegations that they lacked discipline and cohesion, that, like the Irish, they were a race of “children,” albeit “wonderful children, with generous hearts.” 37

For the Irish, racial in-betweenness was a condition they could ill afford at a time when European and American conceptions of race were narrowing, from the belief in a “multiplicity of nations, races, and religions” to the fulsome embrace of a simple binary division between “white” and “nonwhite.” […]

Dilke was a graduate of Cambridge, where he studied with Charles Kingsley. He was also a Liberal politician, a widely published author, and a racial imperialist whose main concern was not the supremacy of British capital but the triumph, on a global scale, of English institutions and values. The great impediment to this accomplishment, he believed, was the migration of the “cheaper races” to English-speaking countries such as the United States and Australia. “In America,” he wrote in Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English-Speaking Countries during 1866 and 1867, “we have seen the struggle of the dear races against the cheap— the endeavors of the English to hold their own against the Irish and the Chinese.” But the threat these races posed was not only to the standard of living of the Saxons and their descendants but to civilization itself. He warned of “the danger to our race and to the world from Irish ascendency.” For if the Celt, his religion, and his “fierce” temperament prevailed, then the Englishman and his way of life would be eclipsed and the “freedom of mankind” would be jeopardized. 40

In tracing the evolution of anti-Irish stereotypes and polemics, then, from the sixteenth century through the nineteenth and into the twentieth, one comes face to face with a process of racialization rooted in conquest, colonization, and Anglicization. It was a process that sometimes engendered violence on a horrific scale and one that by means of the stage Irishman, the cartoon caricature, and the condescension and ridicule inherent in the “Paddy joke” did enormous damage to Irish self-esteem. 41 We have seen how the native Irish were portrayed as heathens, savages, and even wild animals; we have seen, too, how Paddy was constructed as feckless, lazy, riotous, and, sometimes, dangerous to the peace and tranquillity of England as well as Ireland. Perhaps by way of summary it is appropriate to turn to the Kentish Gazette, which in February 1847 sought to identify the essential ingredients of the Irish character and to offer up a solution to the Irish Question. During one of the most devastating months of the Great Famine, the Gazette commented editorially that “the system of agitation, of midnight plunder, of open-day assassination, of Hottentot ignorance, superstition, idolatry, and indolence must be eradicated, removed, abolished by the strong arm of the law.” 42 “Idolatry” and “superstition” were, of course, code words for Catholicism; indolence was, allegedly, the preferred pastime of the Irish people; assassination and midnight plunder were the staples of Irish politics; and Hottentot ignorance linked the Irish to African people who were widely regarded as primitive and backward, thus completing the process of racialization.

Who Built America, Volume II
pp . 146-149

American nativism often took the form of anti-Catholicism. In 1887 the American Protective Association (APA) organized to drive Irish Catholics out of American politics and soon claimed a half-million members, all of whom took an oath never to vote for a Catholic. The APA explicitly blamed the depression on Catholics, asserting that immigrants had taken the jobs of native-born Americans. It endorsed political candidates in 1894, but it broke apart when its members could not agree on establishing a third party or supporting the Republican ticket in 1896.


by Erik Wong, Stanford University

The early part of the 19th Century was relatively quiet in terms of religious conflict in America. The religious conflict that stands out in this period involves tensions between Catholics and Protestants, culminating in violence directed at Irish Catholic immigrants. The surge in immigration from Europe during the 19th Century coincided with and influx of Catholics and the rise of activist Protestantism in the U.S. As strong Protestant values permeated the country, immigrants who were Catholic also became viewed as outsiders and undemocratic. These views are separate from, but on top of, the harsh anti-Irish sentiment that also spread during the period.

In the 1830s and 1840s, anti-Catholic violence broke out in the Northeast and elsewhere. In 1835, one incident was ignited by a speaking tour by Lyman Beecher, who published Plea for the West, a book about a Catholic plot to take over the U.S. and impose Catholic rule. After Beecher’s speaking tour passed through Charlestown, Massachusetts, a mob set fire to the Ursuline convent and school.[3] In Philadelphia in 1844, pitched gun battles broke out between “native” Americans and mostly Irish Catholics. Martial law had to be declared in order to end the violence.[4]

The Divide Between Blacks and the Irish
by Noel Ignatiev, The Root

The Irish who immigrated to America in the 18th and 19th centuries were fleeing caste oppression and a system of landlordism that made the material conditions of the Irish peasant comparable to those of an American slave. The Penal Laws regulated every aspect of Irish life and established Irish Catholics as an oppressed race. Anticipating Judge Roger B. Taney’s famous dictum in the Dred Scott decision, on two occasions officials with judiciary authority in Ireland declared that “the law does not suppose any such person to exist as an Irish Roman Catholic.”

When they first began arriving here in large numbers, the Irish were, in the words of Mr. Dooley (a character created by journalist Finley Peter Dunne), given a shovel and told to start digging up the place as if they owned it. On the rail beds and canals, they labored for low wages under dangerous conditions; in the South they were occasionally employed where it did not make sense to risk the life of a slave. As they came to the cities, they were crowded into districts that became centers of crime, vice and disease.

They commonly found themselves thrown together with free Negroes. Blacks and the Irish fought each other and the police, socialized and occasionally intermarried, and developed a common culture of the lowly. They also both suffered the scorn of those better situated. Along with Jim Crow and Jim Dandy, the drunken, belligerent and foolish Patrick and Bridget were stock characters on the early stage. In antebellum America, it was speculated that if racial amalgamation was ever to take place, it would begin between those two groups. As we know, things turned out otherwise.

How the Irish Became White
by Art McDonald, University of Pittsburgh

Ironically, Irish Catholics came to this country as an oppressed race yet quickly learned that to succeed they had to in turn oppress their closest social class competitors, free Northern blacks. Back home these “native Irish or papists” suffered something very similar to American slavery under English Penal Laws. Yet, despite their revolutionary roots as an oppressed group fighting for freedom and rights, and despite consistent pleas from the great Catholic emancipator, Daniel O’Connell, to support the abolitionists, the newly arrived Irish-Americans judged that the best way of gaining acceptance as good citizens and to counter the Nativist movement was to cooperate in the continued oppression of African Americans. Ironically, at the same time they were collaborating with the dominant culture to block abolition, they were garnering support from among Southern, slaveholding democrats for Repeal of the oppressive English Act of the Union back home. Some even convinced themselves that abolition was an English plot to weaken this country.

Upon hearing of this position on the part of so many of his fellow countrymen now residing in the United States, in 1843 O’Connell wrote: “Over the broad Atlantic I pour forth my voice, saying, come out of such a land, you Irishmen; or, if you remain, and dare countenance the system of slavery that is supported there, we will recognize you as Irishmen no longer.” It’s a tragic story. In a letter published in the Liberator in 1854, it was stated that “passage to the United States seems to produce the same effect upon the exile of Erin as the eating of the forbidden fruit did upon Adam and Eve. In the morning, they were pure, loving, and innocent; in the evening, guilty.”

Irish and Africans Americans had lots in common and lots of contact during this period; they lived side by side and shared work spaces. In the early years of immigration the poor Irish and blacks were thrown together, very much part of the same class competing for the same jobs. In the census of 1850, the term mulatto appears for the first time due primarily to inter-marriage between Irish and African Americans. The Irish were often referred to as “Negroes turned inside out and Negroes as smoked Irish.” A famous quip of the time attributed to a black man went something like this: “My master is a great tyrant, he treats me like a common Irishman.” Free blacks and Irish were viewed by the Nativists as related, somehow similar, performing the same tasks in society. It was felt that if amalgamation between the races was to happen, it would happen between Irish and blacks. But, ultimately, the Irish made the decision to embrace whiteness, thus becoming part of the system which dominated and oppressed blacks. Although it contradicted their experience back home, it meant freedom here since blackness meant slavery.

How Housing Discrimination Created the Idea of Whiteness
by Whet Moser, Chicago Magazine

Note that Irish and Germans are at the top of the list. Had Hoyt’s book been written fifty, or even twenty years before, they likely would have been lower. As Lewinnek described to me, German and Irish immigrants were relegated to the periphery of the city after the Great Fire by the “fire limits,” prohibitions on the construction of inexpensive wooden houses that effectively pushed working-class homeowners out of the city center; Chicago Germans were at the forefront of briefly successful protests against the fire limits.

Not In My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City
by Antero Pietila

Harlem exemplifies racial succession, which is the sociologists’ term for ethnic, racial and economic neighborhood transition. In the space of four decades between the 1870s and 1910s, that section of New York City went from a white upper-class community of American-born residents to one populated by recent Irish, Jewish, German, Italian and Scandinavian immigrants.

American Pharaoh
by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor
Chapter 1

If white Chicago as a whole turned a cold shoulder to the new black arrivals, Daley’s Irish kinsmen were particularly unwelcoming.

The Irish and blacks had much in common. Ireland’s many years of domination at the hands of the British resembled, if not slavery, then certainly southern sharecropping — with Irish farmers working the land and sending rent to absentee landlords in England. The Irish were dominated, like southern blacks, through violence, and lost many of the same civil rights: to vote, to serve on juries, and to marry outside their group. Indeed, after Cromwell’s bloody invasion in the mid-1600s, not only were Irish-Catholics massacred in large numbers, but several thousand were sent in chains to the West Indies, where they were sold into slavery. But these similar histories of oppression did not bring Chicago’s Irish and blacks together. Much of the early difficulty stemmed from rivalry between two groups relegated to the lowest levels of the social order.

Ethnic America: A History
by Thomas Sowell
pp. 277-279

Today’s neighborhood changes have been dramatized by such expressions as “white flight.” but these patterns existed long before black-white neighborhood changes were the issue. When the nineteenth-century Irish immigrants flooded into New York and Boston, the native Americans fled. With the first appearance of an Irish family in a neighborhood, “the exodus of non-Irish residents began,” 2 According to a contemporary, property values “tremble” as “fear spreads,” and panicky flight ensues. 3 As “the old occupants fled to the outskirts of town,” 4 in the mid-nineteenth century when immigration increased, New York City grew northward about one mile per decade. The built-up area extended only as far north as Fourteenth Street in 1840, but it grew to Thirty-fourth Street in a decade, and to Forty-second Street by I860.5

“White flight” is a misleading term, not only because of its historical narrowness, but also because blacks too have fled when the circumstances were reversed. Blacks fled a whole series of neighborhoods in nineteenth-century New York, “pursued” by new Italian immigrants who moved in. 6 In nineteenth-century Detroit, blacks moved out of neighborhoods as Polish immigrants moved in. 7 The first blacks in Harlem were fleeing from the tough Irish neighborhoods in mid-Manhattan, 8 and avoided going north of 145th Street, for fear of encountering more Irish there. 9

As the relative socioeconomic positions of ethnic groups changed with the passage of time, so did the neighborhood flight. In nineteenth-century nieghborhoods where Anglo-Saxons had once fled as the Irish moved in, the middle-class Irish later fled as the Jews and Italians moved in. […]

Ethnic succession did not end with neighborhoods. Early Irish immigrants were often used as strikebreakers and were hated and kept out of unions as a result. Later, the Irish were unionized and Italians, Negroes, and many others were used as strikebreakers, encountering in turn the same hostility and resistance to their admission to unions. Still later, the Irish were union leaders, while Jews or Italians were rank-and-file union members. Today, there are unions where Jews are union leaders and blacks and Puerto Ricans are members. Similarly, in the schools, the Irish immigrant children in the mid-nineteenth century were taught by Protestant Anglo-Saxon teachers. Half a century later, Jewish immigrant children were far more likely to be taught by Irish Catholics than by Jewish teachers. A generation later, Negro children in Harlem were far more likely to be taught by Jewish teachers than by black teachers. Few children of rising ethnic groups have had “role models” of their own ethnicity. Some of the most successful— notably the Chinese and the Japanese— almost never did.

While various ethnic groups succeeded each other in neighborhoods, schools, jobs, etc., the country as a whole was also changing. The installation of underground sewage lines and indoor plumbing in the late nineteenth century meant that no other urban ethnic group had to endure as primitive and dangerous a set of living conditions as the Irish had in the mid-nineteenth century. Subways, trolleys, and eventually bus lines made it feasible for working people to spread out and still get to work in a reasonable time. The incredible overcrowding on New York’s lower east side in the nineteenth century was never to be approached again in modern slums. Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Mexican Americans today live in crowded housing conditions, compared to their contemporaries, but in no way so crowded as the conditions among Jews, Italians, or the Irish in the nineteenth century. “Overcrowded” schools today may have perhaps half as many students per class as in nineteenth century schools on New York’s lower east side. The problems of today are very real, and sometimes severe, but they are by no means historically unprecedented.

Many of the problems of the poor and powerless remain the same, whatever group fills that role at a given time. The Jewish Daily Forward commented in 1907: “police in the Jewish quarter of New York are the most savage in America.” 19 An Italian immigrant writer complained in the early twentieth century about his experiences with the “rudeness” and “inconsiderateness” of government officials, which he found “disgusting.” 20 Many of the complaints against poor ethnic groups were also similar to those today— that “children are born with reckless regularity” among the Jews and Italians, 21 that murders are a result of “the wanton brutality of the moment,” 22 and that raising the immigrants to a decent level “implies a problem of such magnitude and such distant realization” that it can only be imagined. 23

56 thoughts on “Aren’t Irish White?

  1. Reblogged this on Illustrating Chinese Exclusion and commented:

    An excellent essay on the history of racial attitudes in America. When we discuss “white privilege” today, a term which rankles many white Americans, one can find the origin of that attitude in our nation’s immigration history. An excellent recap with a thorough list of citations and quotes! I am proud my work is included.

  2. An excellent essay! I’ve reblogged it on my site. Your presentation and analysis provides a comprehensive look at the history of our nation’s attitudes on race and “otherness,” and clearly, as we continue to struggle with race in our country, this look back is a gift to those struggling to find the answer. Thank you for the nod in my direction, or I might’t’ve missed this! One favor, I noticed a typo in mine (uh oh!) in Nativism -an extra “h” in the word “with” and corrected on my end. Could you remove it there for me on your copy?

    • I’m glad you appreciated it. This is a topic I visit on occasion.I’m not Irish or Catholic nor, as far as I know, were any of my ancestors. But American and ethnic history always fascinates me. Besides, race is a strange thing that touches upon so many other important issues.

      It’s hard for us living now to imagine race meaning something entirely different in the past. In it’s earliest meaning, it more had to do with kinship, clannishness, and ethno-nationalism (at a time when nations were typically small, in terms of both geography and population). Race as a vast general category is a fairly recent notion, not fully taking form nor popularly supported until the mid-20th century. Ethnicity, culture, and religion was a lot more important before modern whiteness came to dominate.

      As per your request, the typo has been corrected.

  3. I dunno, you know. That bit of Neanderthal skin and hair they found in that cave at Gibraltar was ginger, red hair and freckles. Could be this perceived racist schism is a hangover of a specist one, somehow a part of that old battle. That’s not serious, tongue in cheek, but it’s possibly a sort of theory as to why certain traits are viewed as animalistic. Perhaps the dominant races – whites in the west – think they’re the Homo Sapiens and assign all other appearances of humanity to the Hairy Man of our nightmares. Of course, all Sapiens would have the race memory sort of thing, we would all pit ourselves against the Hairy Man, no Sapiens takes on the Neanderthal role – but perhaps the subordinate groups are assigned it. It also contains a hint about racist fear, that the ‘beasts’ are bigger and stronger, more dangerous, thinking about it this way does seem to explain some of the more irrational claims of the racists.

    Just spitballing . . .

    • Many people have speculated about such things, going back to past centuries.

      It’s interesting that, Bruce Nelson in one of the excerpts above (Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race), discusses how earlier in history the focus was on the dark-haired and dark-eyed population supposedly in southern/western Ireland. This racial thinking perceived these people as the real Irish, the undiluted race. Appearances on average, I guess, vary from region to region.

      I’m not sure where red hair and freckles are most common or what early race thinkers thought of such features. I did notice the association some made between the Celt and Cro-Magnon. I have wondered what shared memory might exist of other hominid species such as Neanderthal. Many ancient myths can be interpreted as possibly describing other hominids.

      • Recently saw a map on the web about the frequency of red hair. If my memory is correct, Celtic lands, parts of Germany, and an area in central Russia had the greatest frequency. Red hair is so recessive that it is expected to disappear in 50 years or so. The world’s largest sperm bank in Denmark no longer accepts sperm from red headed people. One might say red heads are an endangered species and the extinction is encouraged!

        • There are tons of recessive genes, not usually limited to a single ethnicity or geographic population. Red hair and freckles can be found in a number of populations, but it is true that they historically became concentrated in certain places.

          An even more interesting example is that of the blue-skinned people who are extremely rare. I think in Appalachhia, a blue-skinned family maintained themselves over a number of generations by inbreeding. But now that inbreeding has fallen out of fashion, the blue people have disappeared. That isn’t to say that we should worry about Smurfs going extinct.

          The genes themselves don’t actually disappear and so there is no extinction. It’s simply the recessive genes get spread out into larger populations. But bring any of those recessive genes back together again and they become expressed. That is often largely neutral in terms of survival, although some recessive genes can serve a purpose or lead to diseases.

          That is what has happened throughout evolution. Genes spread out. Then they become concentrated. Some of them spread out again. It’s an endless cycle of inbreeding and outbreeding. It has been going on for milllennia.

        • Let me clarify some things.

          First, humans are a single species. The Irish and other red-haired, freckled people can’t go extinct. That is because they aren’t a race. There are no separate human races, scientifically speaking, which is the only way assertions of extinction would be relevant. The human species has some of the lowest genetic diversity among similar species, specifically the higher primates. To claim otherwise is to be scientifically ignorant and illiterate, not to mention racist. Besides, no one is stopping red-haired, freckled people from inbreeding, if they so desire. There recessive genes will remain there well into the future, in case at a later point those carrying them want to produce new generations of red-haired, freckled children.

          Second, it’s against my comment policy to allow any comments expressing racism or race realism, same difference. There is no such thing as a race realist who isn’t a racist. And there is no way to rationally debate race realism, since it isn’t a rational position. There is no real debate possible, just a conflict between knowledge and ignorance. I don’t tolerate either racism or ignorance. If you attempt to comment any further expressing these views, you will be permanently banned from my blog. But otherwise, you are free to continue commenting.

          • You carried this way beyond my intent. I simply was responding to the matter of where redheads are most frequently found. My comment about threatening species was a frivolity which you seem to have taken seriously. Please don’t.

            You claim (or claimed) to be a cynic. Cynics tend to view fellow humans in the worst light. The end of your response may be evidence of that.

            Anyone who has had their DNA tested should know that humans are one race. Because I no longer need “stuff,” my kids bought me a membership in the National Geographic Genome Society for Christmas a number years ago. All that involves is sending in a saliva sample, getting your DNA report, having the results pooled with others in an attempt to track human movement over the centuries, and getting occasional updates. Both my parents’ families are Welsh as far back as we know. Yet my DNA was only 41% Welsh. The rest was 40% eastern Mediterranean, similar to that in Iraq, Cyprus, and Greece, but most like Greek; 17% southwestern Asian, most like that found in northern India; and 2% other. The Welsh were the original inhabitants of Britain. No one knows for sure where they came from, but some Anthropologists, based on coloring and stature, believe they came from the eastern Mediterranean. The southwest Asian probably is from the early trade routes from India to Europe. Thus, from one point of view, my DNA is easily explained.

            Incidentally, in some of your posts I note you neglect to include the Welsh among the Celtic groups disparaged by the English. Some in England still consider the Celts a different race from themselves. And some historians suggest that Wales, not Ireland, was the first English colony. Both suffered but in different ways. Most of the mines in Wales were run by the English and the miners were treated no better than slaves. I may be a bit off on the dates and the exact percentage, but during 1850-1860, something like 70% of all Welsh males were in the mines, many as young as 10. An article in The Spectator a couple of years ago said the Welsh are the last people the English permit themselves to demean. Within the last couple of years, BBC had several “personalities” do so with such remarks as “What good are they?”

            Th Welsh had an easier time assimilating in the US than many because they spoke English and had a skill (mining) that was in high demand and short supply. In 1870, however, Welsh miners in Ohio held their meetings in Welsh so the bosses wouldn’t understand what they said. My dad’s father, a miner, immigrated to the US in the 1890’s to work in more favorable mining conditions. Ironically, he died here in 1912 in a mining accident.

            In addition to the Welsh, you also forgot the Bretons (hillbillies according to many French) and a group of Celts in northern Spain. The only thing I know about the Spanish Celts is that they have fewer grievances than the others. Linguistically, the Scots and Irish spoke Gaelic and the Welsh and Bretons speak Brythonic, two variations of Celtic. Welsh has survived the onslaught of English more successfully than Irish or Scots. Wales now is officially bi-lingual, a situation permitted by the English only during the last 20 or so years. The number of first-language Welsh speakers still is slowly declining, however, as is the case with Breton in France. Wales was named by the Romans. The word was a variation of the Roman word for “foreign.”

            The last time we corresponded was during October-November 2015. Your last post was quite extensive and assumed many things about me I cannot fully accept. I was not ready to respond in detail at the time and I was tired of arguing on such topics. So I bid you farewell. Awhile back, however, I felt energetic enough to respond and attempted to to so. But I forgot my password. I could not recover it because Word Press kept sending me around in circles, saying there was no record of me and then saying I was already registered and asking for my password. So I gave up and reregistered under my mother’s father’s name. My earlier posts are under my name, Derry Eynon. I can not/will not keep pace with your prolific production of detailed posts, many quite thoughtful and accurate, some not so much. In either case, I admire your depth of thought and keeping of such detailed records and references. You will receive my reply to the post noted above soon or sooner. Oh, yes. My proof reading has gone to hell in my old age. For that I apologize. If that causes confusion, I will attempt to clarify if asked.

            P.S, In my red hair post, I did not mean that the red hair gene would disappear in 50 years. It is red hair on the scalp that is expected to disappear.

          • If I misread you, I’m sorry about that. But such is life. I don’t worry about such things. I have no tolerance for racism and race realism. And I won’t apologize for not moving an inch in interpreting others generously. I spent years interpreting generously, until I realized large numbers of people on the internet were some combination of lacking in self-awareness, ignorant, or full of bullshit. I won’t speculate about how representative the internet is of the real world.

            About our interaction here, there is no doubt that the internet makes possible much miscommunication. For that reason, you should realize that I’m not a mind reader. I can only go by what you write. I gave the benefit of the doubt to your first comment. But your second comment seemed to confirm the worst possible interpretation of your first comment. You didn’t put “extinction” into scare quotes or offer any indication that your comment was intended as frivolity. Don’t assume anything in internet communication. State things explicitly or else you will likely get more responses like mine.

            Anyway, I don’t worry about people’s intentions. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And most people lack much in the way of conscious intentions. The average person simply absorbs the beliefs and biases of their culture without much thought. Complicity and responsibility for moral wrongdoing or harmful attitudes doesn’t require conscious intention. Most racists in our society don’t realize they are racist because racism is built into our society. I don’t think that is cynical. It’s true that I’ve claimed to be a cynic. Then again, I’ve claimed to be lots of things. Like most people, I’m complex. I’m a cynic and I’m a dreamer. I’m a (short term) pessimist and a (long term) optimist. I’m a moderate in terms of majority public opinion but a radical in terms of Washington plutocratic politics. I try to cover all the bases.

            I don’t mean to disparage the Welsh. It is more simply a lack of info. I’m aware of the Welsh. But in the mainstream literature (or even the scholarly literature), they are rarely mentioned and even more rarely discussed in detail. The only book I’ve come across that does cover the Welsh in the US is the British Buckeyes by William E. Van Vugt. I’ve looked at it briefly and maybe I should look at it further. The only reason I own it is because it is about Ohio where I was born. Otherwise, it’s just not that common to see info about the Welsh. And it isn’t for a lack of reading widely on my part. If you have any book recommendations, I’ll be more than happy to consider them. As for the Bretons, I’m not familiar with the them, besides having heard of the name. The only group I associate with northern Spain is the Basque. Are they related at all? I know that the Basque aren’t Celtic for they are a far older population in Europe, the oldest by some accounts. The Irish supposedly are at least partly descended (ancestrally and genetically) from the Basque, not the Celts, but they inherited the Celtic culture because the Celts were a large-scale trading society.

            Well, I’m glad you are able to look past my gruffness. I’ve dealt with so many right-wingers, reactionaries, and trolls online that my tolerance has grown thin. I don’t mess around these days. I love discussion, but I’ve learned my time and energies are too precious to be wasted. Someone commenting on my blog has to prove to me that they are worthy of my approving their comment and my giving a response. The burden of proof is on the commenter, as this is my blog and my space. I’m ultimately responsible for what I allow here and I’ve learned to be highly discerning. It’s a lesson I’ve learned as I’ve aged and learned at great personal cost. I no longer allow people to take advantage of my openness to other views.

            With that in mind, I do remember our discussions. And I know we disagreed, sometimes strongly. But I did discern that, for the most part, you were someone worth my time. I have to admit that our discussions weren’t always fruitful. But from what I recall of our discussions, I can’t imagine myself blocking you. It’s clear I did not get the gist of your unstated intentions whatsoever. It is hard to know the intentions of someone you’ve never met in real life and talked to in depth face to face. The fact of the matter is that you and I barely know each other. Discussions on a blog don’t allow for much personal familiarity. We are strangers to each other, amidst millions of other strangers online.

            Over the years, I’ve had hundreds of people commenting on my blog and most of them just come and go. The internet isn’t much of a place for developing genuine friendships or anything vaguely resembling it. Besides, I have plenty of friends in real life. I don’t come to the internet out of loneliness. I spend time online in order to learn and I welcome anyone else who wishes to join me in that process. But I don’t really expect much from anyone else online.

          • There was no “reply” option at the end of your last post, so I moved back to an earlier post for my reply. I can’t argue your point on assuming things on the web or failing to put quotes around words that should be so enhanced.

            You haven’t heard much about the Welsh because they are relatively small in number. Only about 3 million live in Wales today. Thus, immigrants were not as numerous, though a bunch went to Argentina in the 18th century. An aside: During Civil War times here, the Welsh here opposed slavery; the Irish did not, at least not enough to fight against it, though I am sure some of each did not hold the majority opinion. I don’t recall the preferences of the Scots. Another reason is that the English say very little about the Welsh in their history books while the Irish and especially Scots often have a significant presence. The English seem to know less about the Welsh than they do of the Irish and Scots. The first time I went to Wales was on a tour with my wife and her chorale which sang at various places along the way. Our English tour guide had no hesitation in telling us as we approached the border that she knew little about Wales other than it had a “funny little language,” lots of sheep and coal mines. Our Welsh bus driver muttered, “typical.”

            Don’t think there is any connection between the Celts and the Basques. Don’t recall the year, but the Bretons were British Celts (thus, the French Breton) who got tired of putting up with the Viking, Roman, Irish, Saxon, etc, invasions and moved across the channel to France. They reside in three or four (are they called Departments or such?) French equivalents to our counties in northwest France just west of Normandy. I was in that area in the 60’s and the movie theater in the town where I stayed was named the Celtic.

            There are a number of books on Wales. I find most on Welsh history quite turgid reading and get tired of the ones that rant about English oppression. One book I highly recommend is “The Journeying Boy” by John Manchip White (The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991, ISBN #0-87113-460-8). White, a Welshman, was an English professor at Tennessee who, after 20 years in the US, returned to Wales for a visit. One result was this book, the most readable history of Wales and its culture I have read, interspersed with memories of his childhood and life in Wales.

            Now that you see I look past your gruffness, maybe you can see past mine. I, too, in my old age, can become a bit harsh from time to time. More of that later.

          • “You haven’t heard much about the Welsh because they are relatively small in number. Only about 3 million live in Wales today. Thus, immigrants were not as numerous, though a bunch went to Argentina in the 18th century.”

            I always assumed it was a smaller ethnic population. Wales isn’t large geographically. Why did the Welsh head to Argentina?

            “An aside: During Civil War times here, the Welsh here opposed slavery; the Irish did not, at least not enough to fight against it, though I am sure some of each did not hold the majority opinion. I don’t recall the preferences of the Scots.”

            I also did not know the Welsh positions on political issues. Many German immigrants were anti-slavery for some reason. I think it was because war had forced many idealistic reformers, radicals, and revolutionaries to escape or seek opportunity elsewhere. Many German communal societies formed. As for the Irish, they were supposedly more anti-slavery in Ireland than in the US (Joan Walsh discusses this). Scottish immigrants were smaller in number like the Welsh. One book I have is about the Scottish affinity for Native Americans that showed up early on.

            The one early ancestor I know most about was Scottish, although the family may have earlier on come from the Netherlands. My Scottish ancestor apparently was a plantation slave owner in Virginia. Some of the family moved north and became Quakers. But my family line meandered across the Deep South, ending up in Texas. Surely, my Scottish ancestry fought for the Confederates while other parts of the family would have been in the Union forces. I don’t know what was common for other Scottish-Americans.

            “Another reason is that the English say very little about the Welsh in their history books while the Irish and especially Scots often have a significant presence. The English seem to know less about the Welsh than they do of the Irish and Scots.”

            That is odd. I wonder why that is. Wales is so close to many populations in England. Out of curiosity, on which side of the English Civil War did most Welsh fight? My Scottish ancestor may have sided with the Cavaliers, which would explain why he left around when the king was captured and why he settled in the Virginia colony. How did your Welsh family end up in the US and where did they first move?

            “Don’t think there is any connection between the Celts and the Basques”

            There isn’t any connection. That is my point. The Welsh weren’t ancestrally Celtic in the way that many people who get referred to as Greek weren’t ancestrally Greek. Celtic and Greek were trading cultures that didn’t necessarily match ethnicity as we understand it today. What connected them all was established trade routes and colonization, not always ancestry.

            In a WSJ book review (“A Family Portrait for All Humanity”), Charles C. Mann shares an interesting detail from Adam Rutherford’s “A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived.” He writes that, “Sometimes new tools of genetic reach can dispel historical myths. Mr. Rutherford devotes much of one chapter to the People the British Isles project, which in 2015 produced the first fine-scale genetic map of the United Kingdom. The maps show clusters of genetically related people—the faint DNA footprints of ancient cultures. Surprisingly, the Celts are not one of them. The Welsh, Bretons, Irish, Cornish, Scottish, and others who are lumped together as Celts are not, in fact, genetically related. The term “Celtic,” Mr. Rutherford says, “is a modern invention of a presumed people that isn’t reflected in Britain’s DNA.””

            This is seen with other populations. Some of the communities of the Amazonian Piraha originate elsewhere. They were assimilated at some point and now share the same Piraha culture. This kind of thing was seen a lot with Native American tribes. Culture gets passed on and cultural groups form in diverse ways, sometimes not involving direct genetic links.

            “There are a number of books on Wales. I find most on Welsh history quite turgid reading and get tired of the ones that rant about English oppression. One book I highly recommend is “The Journeying Boy” by John Manchip White (The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1991, ISBN #0-87113-460-8). White, a Welshman, was an English professor at Tennessee who, after 20 years in the US, returned to Wales for a visit. One result was this book, the most readable history of Wales and its culture I have read, interspersed with memories of his childhood and life in Wales.”

            I’ll keep that book in mind. I’m not sure my mind is in the right place right now. I’ve been reading more social science lately.

            “Now that you see I look past your gruffness, maybe you can see past mine. I, too, in my old age, can become a bit harsh from time to time. More of that later.”

            I don’t mind gruff. My concern is with other attributes: forthright honesty, intellectual humility, curiosity, etc. A lack of those attributes is a moral failure or else a human inadequacy. But such things as gruffness don’t mean much by themselves.

        • I really am sorry about the miscommunication. But I’m so used to miscommunication online that it is hard for me to get too excited about it. I can’t say I even get too frustrated about it. It’s just the nature of the internet. I’ve had my share of experiences in being on the other end. In normal life, I’m often humorous and silly in my interactions. The problem is much of my humor is some combination of dry and inane. It doesn’t translate well to the internet.

          There is one incident on this blog. It involved a nice guy who was hyper-sensitive. We never had conflict before that moment and we seemed to agree on much. One day, I made a comment that was a lighthearted self-criticism that was intended as self-effacing humor. But this guy thought I was talking about him and took it as a personal attack. He acted like it was the greatest offense he had experienced in his life and he never commented again. Even though I apologized, I doubt he ever returned to read it. I felt quite sad about it because I thought he was a nice guy. I was just being humorous in a mindless way and had no desire to cause bad feelings.

          I’ve learned to shrug off misunderstandings. I hope you don’t have hard feelings toward me. I understand you intend well, now that I know who you are. It’s just I’ve spent too much time around race realists that I’ve grown overly tired and frustrated with it. I used to try to reach across to race realists, until I hit my breaking point. I want to assume people mean well. Even though admittedly I can be cynical at times, I don’t want that to be my default mode. My problem is that, with depression, I have limited psychic energy reserves. There are certain things I simply have to avoi for the sake of my mental health and race realism is one of those things.

          I must admit that you had me going. Your impersonation of a race realists, even if unintentional, had a certain persuasive quality about it. I’ve met plenty of race realists who have made comments like that. You might see it as frivolous. Just realize there are those who could say the same thing with and mean it literally, not frivolously. There are race realists genuinely fearful of European ethnicities going extinct, in the sense of the passenger pigeon went extinct.
          They don’t take it as humorous whatsoever.

          • If my post ends abruptly, it’s because of a technical problem for which the window must be closed and opened again to continue. So this may have several installments unless it becomes too problematical in which case I will try again later.

            Hope you got my post suggesting a good book on he Welsh. Your immediate reply to my last post had no reply icon (?), so I went up the thread to reply. Now I can’t find it. Shall I repeat?

            I mustered the courage and energy to reply to your long-ago-post of attack which covered so many points we should need at last two or three lunches or evenings to get through them . But that’s not possible so I will try to avoid veering off topic (in your view), boring you or obsessing with irrelevancy (in your view) or, worse, irritating you. Succeeding at any of these is not guaranteed. Nonetheless:

            “I was born into an age of disappointment.” “I have been disappoint for long time.” Alert: Gruffness ahead.
            So this makes you different? Special? A victim? I was born at the absolute bottom of the depression when there were doubts about the survival of the country. My later childhood years and early teens were overwhelmed by WWII. In fact, I recall wondering what could newspapers write about if there was no war? My folks lived in 2-room + bath place. Later, they moved to a 4-room + bath up-and-down duplex. They never owned property and didn’t own a car until I was 16. We never were poor by our standards but I was responsible for all spending money save for food, clothing and shelter from the 4th grade on. My dad was an alcoholic. He pretended to work. Our income went up when he died. My mother was the breadwinner. My folks were gone when I left for and returned from school.
            2.”You lived in a white supremacist, patriarchal society.”
            Maybe not so much. In addition to my mother, nearly all of the adult women in my family worked at some sort of job (my dad was the youngest of 12, six of whom died in infancy). I assumed women working was normal. In school no male authority figures appeared until junior high school – and my first was a surprise. My parents never disparaged anyone based on skin color, country of origin or religion – ever. In fact, my mother had several black friends. I went to school with at least several black kids from 7th grade on. And, believe it or not, I never heard anyone in person use the n-word until 9th grade and it stopped the conversation dead in its tracks. While my dad’s parents immigrated here in the 1890’s, my mom’s family was here since before the Cvil War. She grew up in an Ohio Appalachian coal county (population today less than in 1840 thanks to action for the greater good toward coal) which was a pro-Union county and had at least two underground railway stations. The county has had a small black population as long as any living person I knew could remember and the schools never were segregated. In fact, the hotel and theater in the county seat were owned by a black man for many years back in the early 1900’s. I had a great, great, great uncle who was president of a small college in the area (became defunct in 1922) which as a “hotbed” of the abolitionist movement. And, generally, the Welsh were strongly anti-slavery, unlike the Irish of the time.
            “You had advantages most American lacked . . . . . you never knew a moment in your life when you lacked them.’
            I grew up as a minority among eastern European Jews, Slavs, Romanians, Serbs, Slovenes, Slovaks, Poles, Italians, Greeks, and others. There also were a few so-called Arabs, a few blacks and the inevitable Irish. Nearly half of my high school was made up of first generation Americans whose parents and grandparents often held old-world prejudices toward other ethnic groups and religions. Most were Catholic. We weren’t. Their children more often that not were not allowed to date outside their ethnic group/religion. So I was the wrong religion and the wrong ethnicity. As such, for the most part, I was excluded from many social activities and school groups. There was great deal of active prejudice of whites toward whites. Whiteness was not always a guarantee of privilege.
            “Now, as an older person, your privilege has been revoked . . . you experience this loss . . . your sense of freedom was inseparable for your former greater privilege.”
            The revocation, such as it is, is not missed. In a sense, at 84 I am freer than I have ever been because I am only responsible to and for myself and wife and barring major medical issues, am financially at ease (we always lived below our means and saved from the outset). The losses I regret are small and personal. All my friends (as opposed to acquaintances) are dead. No blood relatives left of my generation. That’s real disappointment. And I ask, why am I the last one standing? Also miss not locking my door or car, gas stations that are “service” stations, passenger trains and steam engines, small farms, mechanical stuff I could fix rather than mysterious electronic marvels, mom-and-pop stores, movies without ceaseless cussing, and kids whose friends span generations. Oddly, I think I miss Life and Look and pulp magazines
            5, “You could get away with a lot more because of your status in the social hierarchy . . . people were are forgiving toward you than they were (toward the “others).”
            What do you mean by “getting away with”? My school system practiced corporal punishment (for males) through 10th grade. The rules were clear. The number of swats for violation was clear. There were no exceptions, The penalties were imposed in front of a class with male teachers. You were more scared of crying than of getting paddled. The latter hurt. The former was embarrassing. There was not much of a discipline problem. After that, I can’t, off-hand, think of anything. Maybe shoddy work? I was fired for mouthing off at my boss when a dishwasher. I did get away – after being threatened – with not joining the union when working at a warehouse one summer while in college. The dues would have eaten up my paycheck. I survived because all the guys in the warehouse came to my defense (probably because I was not replacing anyone – I was one temporary extra hand) and talked the local union rep into leaving me alone. Oh, yes, After laving one employer, I was told I didn’t get a promotion because the boss thought my last name looked suspiciously “foreign” – i.e., not Anglo-Saxon.
            A few other personal points:
            a. When I showed up at the city school in 4th grade I did not know how to write (I could print) or do adding and subtracting very well. Yet the class was beyond multiplication and into division. I did poorly and believed I was stupid. Not until my 30’s did I begin the realize I was not dumb, simply poorly prepared in and for math. As a consequence, despite my curiosity, for many years I thought was not bright enough to take advantage of a number of opportunities and was most uncomfortable dealing with people who by position or my assumptions I thought were smarter than I was ( I now know many weren’t).
            b. Decided to go to college after working on a non-union factory production line (where the first language was Lithuanian) because, despite my wage being more than double the minimum, I thought I would go insane if I did this for very long. Lasted 6 months. Worked my way through college (had two jobs at one time and a full load). Was helped by an elderly man with whom I had become friendly who, called to to come to his death bed where he gave me $100. Also received $25 from my grandmother. Those sums were greater than they seem today. Tuition at Ohio State then was $75 a year. Incidentally, graduation from an accredited Ohio high school was sufficient then for admission. All you had to do was apply. That was ended during the late 60’s or 70’s because haled the freshman class would flunk out and all that processing for such short-timers was expensive. By the time I graduated from college, I worked as a newspaper carrier, grocery delivery boy, printer’s helper, janitor, factory production line worker, farm laborer, dishwasher and plumbing supply deliverer.
            c. Whiteness doesn’t always work. In 1954, before interstates were common, I rode from Fort Sill, OK to Cincinnati with two blacks, I needed a ride. They could use some cash. I was the front man to determine where its was “OK” to get services. My whiteness was of no value. I became black. On my first job out of high school, I was the only white on a crew of blacks. My whiteness was a disadvantage in dealing with young, native northern blacks and fresh-from-the-South blacks. I got along with the older blacks, several of whom took me under their wing and with whom I corresponded until their deaths. Blacks were guests in my parents’ home. They have supped in my home and I in theirs. All of them are dead, too.
            d. One other point, which, given your depression, you may appreciate in principle, though not necessarily in the specifics.
            I was a sickly child from what turned out to be a complex allergic situation. Allergy only was fully accepted as a physiological , as opposed to a mental dysfunction, after doctors were required to use gloves when touching patients, including surgery. At that time, only Latex was used for surgical gloves and many physician lost their careers to allergic reactions to Latex. So Latex was a good deal for me. In my youth, I was told by two doctors that my incapacitating asthma was due to the well-known emotional instability of red headed people (does that ring a bell?).
            Spent much time in my younger days trying to figure out what I could do to “fix” my mind. At age 34 when nearly totally incapacitated, I finally found a doctor who figured out my problem, literally saving my life. Am not totally free of issues, but have managed a reasonably normal life since. Yet that problem has defined what kind of work I could do (none of which were high on my “want to do” list), where I could live (both geographically and structurally), where and when I could travel, where I could eat and a few other things. Lost many so-called “friends” who simply could not deal with my limitations. Too complicated.

            So where does that leave us? There is enough truth in what you say for someone who sees everything as a duality to accept 100%. Yes, there is white privilege, except where there isn’t. Could there also be yellow, red, brown privilege in other parts of the world? Seems to me it may be as much of a majority/minority problem as it is a white problem.
            And why are whites (Westerners) most reviled for it? Several reasons.
            – Europeans, especially the English and Spanish, were seagoing people who spread around the world in places with people who were different so they tended to benefit from greater opportunity to be the bad guys.
            – We know our own history best, so it seems worse than anybody else’s. Slave trade is still active in the Middle East, Africa and the Orient. And it is not run by white folks. You might find the book ” In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians” by John Dougill (Tuttle Publishing, 2012, ISBN 978-4-8053-1147-9) of interest. It was illegal at one time to be a Christian in Japan (as it was in Columbia, South America until the 1950’s and is quite dangerous to be today in parts of the Middle East). The Japanese had a small military cadre whose job was to search out Christians and execute them unless they publicly denounced Christ. Many of the executions were by crucifixion on beaches where high tide would drown the victims if they survived that long. You mentioned that the bombing of Japan was the most act on humanity in history, Ukrainians might think otherwise. Soviet Communism, in terms of the millions of people killed quickly or slowly, has the highest tally of deaths imposed upon humanity. The Japanese murder and rape of China in the 30’s, the various Chinese regimes’ treatment of their own people. The list of such inhumanity to humanity is endless. Whites are not the only oppressors and privileged.

            The last things I can think of today is this (the “you” is collective, not personal):
            – The world will not live up to your expectations or mine or anybody’s I’ve known. Failing that understanding, risks being disappointed to an extreme.
            – If you only focus on the dark side of humanity, of which there is plenty, you only will see the dark side. There is are great number of positive things in the world and life.
            – If you don’t learn to accept who you are in all aspects and learn to manage or cope, one can become angry and bitter.
            – Life is a gift. And you get it only once. To waste it in anger, bitterness or by seeing only the disappointments is, in a way, a reaction of life itself, of that gift.
            – Anger, bitterness, negativity are the result of allowing external events, conditions, opinions to control you. If one is in control of themselves, while acknowledging and working as best one can to change the negative external things, all that negativity is put in perspective as the assured imperfections of life over which you do not directly have control.
            Controlling or managing what you can control or manage strikes me as very positive things which enhance life.

            I guess my conclusion sounds pretty preachy. But I have come to find life is a hell of lot more enjoyable when when I don’t obsess about and hate the world for all its failings. That doesn’t mean I ignore them. But put into perspective, the injustices, problems and, yes, horrors around me have existed all my life. Yet in many ways, we are better off than we were or could have been than during my childhood.

            My wife is subjecting me to a call that supper is ready. So I must end this. I assume you will have a few more words on this soon. (The last several paragraphs have not been proofed. I have my fingers crossed.)

          • I have sent two posts, I think last Sunday, one in response to your request for a good reference on Wales and a few related thoughts and a lengthy post promised in response to your post back in Oct-Nov 2015. Both have disappeared. Did you get them?
            If not, I guess I will have to rewrite them. Any guess as to what went awry?

          • I found them. They were mixed up with a bunch of comments in the trash. For some reason, wordpress likes to randomly throw comments into the trash. It’s a bit irritating. I forget to regularly check it for comments that shouldn’t be there. Sorry for the delay.

          • First, couple of corrections from my lengthy post that might cause confusion:
            Under Last things I can think of: After 4th dash (ie, Life is a gift), sentence should read “a rejection of life itself” not “a reaction.”
            Under a few other points:
            b. line 14: should read “because half the freshman class” not “haled”.
            Caught a few others but they should not be a major problem.

            Now to a few of your questions about Wales.
            Population: About 700,000 of the 3 million now living in Wales were not born there. Thus, the “Welsh” population is close the 2.7 million. But the total of 3 million is roughly the same as Albania. Other populations in the British Isles are England @610 million, Scotland @17 million, Ireland @5 million and Northern Ireland @2 million,

            Read a book about the three countries of North America some time ago which noted Mexico is a culture, the US is an idea and Canada is not the US. Many claim Wales is a state of mind. A UK Jewish comedian, born and raised in Wales, once claimed when in England, he didn’t know if he was being beaten up because he was Jewish or because he was Welsh. I think it was Elizabeth Morris in The Spectator who suggested the British ignorance of and antipathy toward the Welsh may be because England never had a defining end-point with Wales as it did with Scotland and Ireland. The Welsh and English fought for several centuries before England finally overpowered and annexed Wales in 1534. The Welsh, for the most part, continued to quietly fight the English behind the mountain barrier between the two nations, never leaving yet never really joining. That created, she said, a degree of discomfort about the Welsh, enhanced by the clinging to their native language, something neither the Scots nor the Irish did with the same determination. There also is the fact that the Welsh are the original inhabitants of Britain while the English really are Germans. (An aside: Prince of Wales is an honorary English title which really has nothing to do with Wales itself.) Then there’s Offa’s Dyke, built to clearly mark the separation of the two people. Twenty five years or so ago I ate lunch at a place in Bristol, England, for all practical purposes a long bridge across the Bristol Channel from Wales, where you placed your order, then they called your name when the order was complete. They had no idea how to pronounce my name. Yet in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, only 50-60 miles away, there were enough Eynons to fill more than a page in the phone book. Wales is the only place in the world where I never had to spell my name.
            Some English phrases:
            To Welsh on a deal is to not keep your word.
            A Welsh cricket is a louse.
            A Welsh pearl is a fake.
            A Welsh mile is interminable.
            A Welshman’s hose is twisted.
            A Welshman’s hug is an itch.
            Giraldus, a Roman who visited Wales in the 12th Century, noted the Welsh did not sing together like they did in other countries. They way they sang later became known as harmony.
            There are more harp players and castles in Wales than any other country in the world.
            A major “sport” in Wales is competitive choral singing.
            If Wales was an independent country, it would be the poorest county in the EU if it were a member.

            Two hundred Welsh immigrated to Patagonia in Argentina in 1861. They left because of a depression in the coal fields and their expectation that the English would successfully destroy the Welsh way of life. They chose Argentina because the government there agreed to allow them to retain their language and culture without interference. By 1875, the Argentine government granted the settlers official title to the land. Thanks to other coal field depressions, 500 more settlers arrived that year, during the 1880’s and as late as 1912. By this time, irrigation projects turned the arid Patagonian fields into one of the most productive agricultural area in Argentina. In 1915, the Argentine government reneged on many of its promises and assumed direct control, ending the speaking of Welsh in governance and schools. Welsh, however, continues to be spoken in homes and churches to this day. As was the case in Argentina, the largest immigrations to the US occurred before 1900.

            I don’t know the degree of involvement of the Welsh in actual Civil War fighting, I suspect there were quite a few who fought for the union as most Welsh immigrants during that time came to mine coal in northern states. A great, great, great uncle lost a leg for the union. I have his discharge papers.

            Genetics. I’m generally familiar with the DNA points you made. The most recent study (Oxford U) I know divided Britain into 17 tribes with distinct genetic features to varying degrees. The geographical areas in which they are found reflect the lands occupied by ancestral tribes and numerous minor kingdoms in 500 AD. Curiously, the Welsh are the most genetically different from all other people and groups in Britain with DNA ancestry that can be traced back to the first Stone Age people to arrive in Britain, making the Welsh assuredly the first Britons. The Welsh remained more isolated from other British people because of the geographic location in the far west of Britain and the country’s inhospitable, mountainous regions. The only other group in the world with which the Welsh share DNA similarities are the Basques. WOW! I didn’t know that! It is thought the ancestors of the Welsh and Basques were the main European Stone Age people before farming arrived. The uniqueness of the Welsh DNA is NOT shared by other Celtic people, though there are some links to the Irish. And no trace of Roman or Viking genes were found in the English (as also was the case in Wales and Scotland which largely escaped the Roman conquest).

            If you like satire, you might Google “The Uncyclopedia – Wales.” Good exaggerated history of Wales and its culture. The author knows Welsh as all the words and names in Welsh are real.

            So much (at last!) for now. A few more things later.

          • Dang! That is a long comment. Not that I can complain. I love to write long comments.

            But I must admit I have little desire to defend myself. I am who I am. I doubt I’m going to change at this point, any more than Trump is likely to suddenly become the next FDR. The reality of my existence is that I have long-term severe depression. I can be negative and irritating. Just be glad you’re not me. Imagine having such a bad attitude and never being able to escape it. At least, I know how to laugh at myself. To be honest, I don’t think of myself as ‘special’. Not in the sense I get from your comment. The only way I’m special is in being abnormal, from having a learning disability to various psychiatric conditions. I literally used to go to a special ed teacher. And I’ve been in the psychiatric ward of a hospital after attempting suicide. I’m not exactly right in the head, according to ‘mainstream’ society. I’ve not only been diagnosed with depression but also with some kind of mild personality or thought disorder, which was why I was on an anti-psychotic med in the past. I don’t think like most other people, whether or not that makes me special.

            The context is broader, of course. When I stated that I was “born into an age of disappointment,” it implied no claim of being special. Every American in my generation was born into that age. And that age was a period of declining optimism and opportunity for the country as a whole. From the year before I came into this world and steadily into the present, most Americans have experienced stagnant or declining wages. Before that moment, most Americans had been experiencing increasing wages, along with growing economic mobility and growing middle class, as inequality shrunk largely because of progressive taxation. Now inequality is growing again as it did before the Great Depression. None of this makes me special for it has been a nation-wide phenomenon. Sure, my life is shitty in certain ways. And that exacerbates the social conditions and public mood of the historical moment I was born into. Even so, I’m one of the first people to admit that my suffering is nowhere near as bad as what can be found in much of the world, including much of the US.

            I was born into a not insignificant amount of privilege. It may not be the privilege of vast wealth. But my parents were economically well off, relatively speaking, even though I always had to work for my own money from childhood. I didn’t worry about basic needs or fear for my safety growing up. Being born in the US as a white guy, that alone gives me immense privilege that most people don’t experience. Consider my learning disability, which I was diagnosed during a period when my family was living in a wealthier suburb and so gave me access to help that few kids ever get. That said, both of my parents grew up in working class communities in factory towns. White privilege certainly assisted my parents and grandparents to move up in the world, from poverty to upper middle class over a few generations, although I personally helped to regress the family’s status back down to working class. The point is that I don’t come from wealth. I spent some of my own childhood in factory towns and I always went to public schools. Still, that doesn’t lessen the reality of being born a white guy in the wealthiest country in the world that was was built on long ongoing legacies of imperialism, colonialism, genocide, racism, Jim Crow, sundown towns, redlining, environmental racism, and on and on.

            If I had been poor, especially a poor minority, I wouldn’t have been so lucky (and keep in mind that suburb was known as a ‘sundown town’ because it had a record for excluding minorities). Even a poor white kid in the US is better off than a poor minority. And most poor people in the US are better off than most of the rest of the world. Privilege is always relative. The fact of the matter is that you and I did have more privilege than most minorities in the US and more privilege than most people in the rest of the world. That is no small thing. Besides, there is no conflict between acknowledging some have more privilege than you while also realizing that you have more privilege than so many others. And it would be absurd to claim we didn’t grow up in a patriarchy. A partriarchy is not simply about female employment status. It’s about the larger social order. In a patriarchy, fewer women work and those who do work have fewer opportunities and are paid less. That would be true of the women in your life. Like you, I took women working as normal. But I also took patriarchy as normal because it has been the continuous ruling ideology of our society for millennia. A vast record of public data and social science research (of which I’ve written about endlessly) proves beyond any doubt the pervasive and continuing biases of race and gender in our society. Prejudice and privilege exists all throughout the US, even or especially when it can’t easily be seen by white men. This can’t be denied.

            Racism is deep and complex, in ways that few understand. In this town, it’s similar to most towns. Few overtly express racism. There never have been segregated schools. I grew up with some minority kids and never thought much about it, as no one used racial slurs. And some blacks can be found in the respectable class, such as business owners and professors. But the structural and systemic racism is still seen in the numbers. The county here has something like the second highest racial disparity in drug arrests, even though whites are more likely to use, carry, and sell drugs. Also, a while back, when a drunk white guy attacked a black guy and a cop intervened, it was the black guy who was shot to death and not the aggressor. Yet outwardly this is one of the least racist and most liberal cities in the country. Multiculturalism and equality is praised here. Anti-racism is proclaimed and celebrated. The good liberals of this liberal community worry about such things. Yet racism has been shown to persist. That is how most racism operates in the US, no matter the kind of community. Overt bigotry has become rare, beyond a few small hate and supremacist groups. And most prejudices are overlapping, in the way explained through intersectionality, with the combination factors creating a more powerful effect than any single factor taken alone.

            Below are some books I’d suggest. The kind of info found in reading them isn’t what Americans typically ever learned in their formal education or in mainstream society, back when most Americans were growing up. This kind of thing certainly was unknown decades later in my childhood. And it’s still probably rarely taught even today because of how contentious these issues remain. All of these books were written in recent years, as our understanding of how racism operated and still operates is fairly new. Of these, I’d particularly recommend the books by Ira Katznelson, Cybelle Fox, Michelle Alexander, and Richard Rothstein — for they show how racism is structured where private practices and government policies work hand in hand. But maybe the most hard hitting are the last two books about environmental racism, since there is something so concretely undeniable about the impact toxins have on human biology and neurocognitive development, especially considering how entire communities (disproportionately that of poor minorities) are literally poisoned because of classism and racism which is happening at this very moment.

            Hitler’s American Model by James Q. Whitman
            Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon
            Sundown Towns by James W. Loewen
            Buried in the Bitter Waters by Elliot Jaspin
            Blood at the Root by Patrick Phillips
            Red Summer by Cameron McWhirter
            Whistling Vivaldi by Claude M. Steele
            Dog Whistle Politics by Ian Haney López
            Racism without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
            Revealing Whiteness by Shannon Sullivan
            White Like Me by Tim Wise
            Revealing Whiteness by Shannon Sullivan
            Racecraft by Karen E. Fields
            Reproducing Racism by Daria Roithmayr
            The Possessive Investment in Whiteness by George Lipsitz
            When Affirmative Action Was White by Ira Katznelson
            Three Worlds of Relief by Cybelle Fox
            The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
            The Color of Wealth by Meizhu Lui, et al‎
            Family Properties by Beryl Satter
            Not in My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila
            The Hidden Cost of Being African American by Thomas M. Shapiro
            Black Wealth / White Wealth ed. by Melvin Oliver & Thomas M. Shapiro
            How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America by Manning Marable
            The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist
            The Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
            American Apartheid by Douglas S. Massey & Nancy A. Denton
            More than Just Race by William Julius Wilson
            The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
            Toxic Communities by Dorceta Taylor
            Toxic Inequality by Thomas M. Shapiro

            You spoke of having, “mustered the courage and energy to reply to your long-ago-post of attack which covered so many points we should need at last two or three lunches or evenings to get through them.” I wasn’t sure which long-ago-post you’re referring to. You offered two quotes and I didn’t know the source. I did a search and found the post that had the comment you responded to:
            Reading through the comments there, I have the context to what you’re writing about here. I noticed that my comments in that discussion thread were already thorough. I’m not sure I added much new by writing this comment. But it never hurts to restate what has been said before, specifically when the issues are so important. I don’t know that I have any new insights, though. What I’m speaking about has been well established for a while now, even as some new data and analyses further strengthen the argument.

            About your ‘preaching’, I really have no opinion. I’ve heard it all before. I grew up in positive thinking religion (New Thought such as Science of Mind and Unity Church). I don’t dismiss positive thinking. I remain a possibility thinker to this day. It’s just I’ve learned to see all possibilities, not just Pollyanna dreams and utopian ideals. Truth comes first for me and truth doesn’t have a value easily construed as positive or negative. Is knowing that you’re diagnosed with cancer good or bad when the knowledge makes possible treatment and increases your chance of survival? Most people would say cancer is bad, but most people would also say being cured of cancer is good. The trick is not avoiding the negative just to make oneself temporarily feel better for the long term consequences of denial can be harsh and permanent. It’s better to know reality for what it is and face up to the facts. Then and only then is possible constructive action based on clearly seen options. The problems of the world won’t go away by focusing on the positives. What many don’t understand is that the only way to increase the positive is by directly facing the seeming negative. It’s based on this that I’m a short term pessimist and long term optimist.

          • A reply icon hasn’t appeared after several of your recent comments, so I keep backtracking to reply. Thus, our posts are getting out of sequence. Another of the world’s imperfections!

            I have a very rudimentary appreciation of your mental issues for I have known a few people with chronic depression during my life. My wife’s very best friend suffered from it and eventually succeeded in killing herself. My daughter discovered a mutated gene from my dad’s side which runs through the male line and prompts a variety of asocial, antisocial, anti-authoritarian and autistic-and-its-variations-like characteristics. My dad had it, I have it, my son has it, and my two grandsons have it. Fortunately, the severity seems to diminish over time if we work at it. My son and I have the consequences pretty much under control but my dad failed completely. My grandsons are under a variety of procedures and therapies to deal with it. Since they are but 11 and 7, it’s too early to predict the long run, but they seem to be making slow progress. Despite your “brain problem” you impress me as an exceptionally intelligent person with a profound capacity for organization, integration and analysis of a vast range of information. In a way, that’s why I sometimes find my disagreements with you so frustrating, I don’t always feel I am up to the task of creating a clear understanding of what I am trying to say. On the other hand, it’s possible that I, indeed, do that, yet you still deny the validity of some of my points. So be it.

            I guess a basic difference in our viewpoints is that I tend to see more of the goodness in people whereas I think (correct me if I’m wrong) you focus more constantly on what’s not so good. I also see a greater notion of what strikes me as simple dualities in some of your political and social comments. I used to be that way. Eventually concluded it wasn’t helping relieve much of the darkness, but was making me miserable and hampering my ability to cope with the realities of my personal world. That was a key point in turning myself into a person who was able to do some good works which enabled me to accomplish far more in my life than my early expectations ever considered.

            In any event, for the most part, I don’t really disagree with the substance of many of your points. Where I differ is that I see exceptions and change, changes never thought possible when I was a kid. Having done some overseas traveling at one time as part of a job I had, I also have seen problems in other cultures, bigotries that we rarely see or are even aware of and such. I believe there is no perfect political or economic system (I have attempted work in several), that inequities will be with us always, that no matter what is done, somebody will screw up at least a portion of it, and that most solutions beget new problems. That does not mean one accepts all these imperfections. It means as one works to improve circumstances, understand that there are serious bumps along the way and certain solutions that seem so rarified on paper may not work very well or at all in reality. I also know what works in one situation may not work in another. Classic example often cited is the work to improve the health of indigenous tribes in South America. One very simple solution is to boil water before using for cooking or drinking. But one tribe believed that fire indicated the presence of its version of the devil. As a result, the tribe never was convinced of the value of boiling water and continued to suffer a variety of health problems.

            In sum, we may have different definitions of what being a realist means. I have a few more comments/sources on that which I will save for another time. Wrote another post for morning which I don’t see on this thread. Maybe WordPress is trashing my stuff again. Maybe it, too, disagrees with some of my remarks? More later,

          • There is a reason you don’t see a place to reply in the later comments in a comment chain. I intentionally limited how long a comment chain can get. I used to have it set at a higher number, but that led to comments so narrow that they were impossible to read. Just go up to the nearest ‘reply’ icon and hit that. It will still leave the comments in proper order of response.

            As for the rest, I’ll briefly mention some points. But I’m not in the mood for offering a really long response. For my first point, I’ll repeat that I may be ‘abnormal’. But then again, I suspect ‘abnormal’ is more common than portrayed in mainstream media. Even being ‘abnormal’ isn’t necessarily all that ‘special’. That is because mainstream media plays the role of promoting social norms, whether or not those social norms match human reality on the ground for most people. Those social norms are based on the narrow demographic in control of mainstream media (i.e., the WEIRDest of the WEIRD – Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic). Our cultural sense of ‘normal’ is clearly skewed. Maybe our whole damn society is ‘special’ and so maybe we Americans need some collective ‘special ed’ to help normalize us according to the rest of humanity.

            Now for a more immediate concern. You and I do come from different backgrounds, despite our having a number of things in common as I’ve elsewhere noted. The main difference, from my view, is the combo of my being raised positive thinking and, following that, having experienced decades of severe unipolar depression. My sense is that I’m both more optimistic than you and more pessimistic than you. To put it another way, scratch a cynic and you’ll find an idealist. I’m one of the most idealistic and wild-eyed dreamers you’ll ever meet. But I don’t go around flaunting it, as few appreciate it. I don’t cast my pearls before swine, no offense intended toward present company. I’m highly guarded in certain ways. I understand the confusion for some, as in other ways I can be completely open. There is a false sense of familiarity I give to some people in how I can share some personal details about my life (e.g., my suicide attempt) because in my mind those personal details mean little. The heart of my heart is hidden from the world and no one can touch it.

            In my own mind, my idealism goes without saying. It’s just there as an ever present personal reality. Every seeming criticism I make comes from this place. For example, it’s only because I have a clear sense of what democracy could mean that I’m sensitive to the failure, betrayal, and/or lack of democracy — whereas most people simply appear to be oblivious to even what democracy could mean, as they lack the radical imagination to see the infinite possibilities. I’m not joking when I say that I’m a possibility thinker. My monkey mind is in permanent possibility mode, jumping from one possibility to the next but always circling a central theme, an unseen point of gravity. Only a fellow extreme idealist could discern the source and motivation of my style of thought and communication. More narrowly optimistic people have a hard time perceiving the optimism in me, as my optimism spans across generations and centuries, spans across worlds. I’m a big picture thinker with near infinite curiosity. A bubbling sense of wonder about the universe and humanity is what fascinates and drives me. But admittedly I find it challengin to communicate this sense with those who don’t share it.

            This is because of my own background. It’s hard for me to explain what it is like to have been raised in the New Thought tradition, some of the most idealistic and optimistic religions in the world. That mentality of positive thinking was driven into the core of my being, which was multiplied a thousand fold because I’m a Myers-Briggs INFP (dominant Fi and the most idealistic of all the personality types). I latched onto positive thinking… hook, line, and sinker. Positive thinking haunts me, in the way that original sin haunts those raised Catholic while fire-and-brimstone haunts those raised Southern Baptist. My religious faith taught me from a young age how to dream and envision possibilities with all my heart and soul. It was actual training I received, specifically in the Unity Church which is sometimes called practical Christianity for this training, although the ‘practical’ part has to be understood in line with the worldview.

            I was raised with no conception of sin, hell, or damnation — none of which are part of New Thought theology. Such ideas weren’t even mentioned in order to deny them for they were simply meaningless and non-existent. The faith I internalized was that of Pure Goodness, Absolute Perfection, Universal Love, and Infinite Abundance with the Divine as Friend and Confidant. The Church camp I went to for years of my youth blew my mind in how it demonstrated the real world possibility of compassion and kindness. When depression creeped up on me in late high school, it hit me like a ton of bricks. A darkness fell upon the world of light I had glimpsed. The ‘hell’ I then experienced was all the more personal for lacking any theological background. The one thing my religious upbringing did not prepare me for was the despairing depths and long-lasting suffering of the dark night of the soul.

            If you want to get a taste of what I’m talking about, read the book “Bright-Sided” by Barbara Ehrenreich. But even that book doesn’t go fully into what it means to grow up in that worldview. It’s a mindset that is beyond the imaginings of the average person. It is far from a ‘normal’ upbringing.

          • There is nothing necessarily good or bad about most upbringings, assuming an individual wasn’t abused and neglected. I can fairly say that I wasn’t abused and neglected. My parents grew up in traditional Christianity and, like most people, only came to positive thinking as adults. It’s far different when you grow up fully within that worldview. I don’t meet many people who had a similar upbringing, as Unity Church and Science of Mind isn’t common and their congregations tend to be small.

            My experience of growing up with that only to develop chronic depression maybe is comparable to fundamentalists losing their faith, sometimes becoming the harshest critics of fundamentalism for knowing it in such intimate familiarity and thorough detail. But in my case, I’m maybe more like former fundamentalists along the line of Robert M. Price and Daniel Everett who, when they lost their faith, didn’t fall into the polarized opposite of angry atheism. I don’t hate my upbringing. Actually, I value it greatly, as it includes some of my fondest experiences in life. There is truth to that way of being in the world, but it left me tragically unprepared for the harshness of life. I was once a New Thought true believer. And now I struggle with the dark shadow such a bright light cast upon my psyche.

            I don’t see it as a dualism. New Thought theology doesn’t include dualism. For me, my optimism and pessimism are inseparable for they are integrally part of the same experience of reality. It’s hard for me to understand those who attempt to separate them. I always see the positive, even when I don’t express it. That is simply what was ingrained in me from childhood, the default position. When I have criticisms, it’s as much a response to that aspect of myself as a response to the world. So, that may be the background to my thought that isn’t so apparent to you. That is true for most anyone. We all have backgrounds that shape who we are in ways rarely understood by others, except those who have long known us on a personal level.

            The part of your comment about your own situation piques my curiosity. You wrote that, “My daughter discovered a mutated gene from my dad’s side which runs through the male line and prompts a variety of asocial, antisocial, anti-authoritarian and autistic-and-its-variations-like characteristics.” I’ve never heard of such a mutated gene. Do you know the name of it? I’d be interested to look up info about it. Maybe its uncommon. Genetics can play a role in all kinds of things, although our present understanding of genetics is so limited.


            I don’t know about genetics. But there does appear to be depression on both sides of my family, although mostly undiagnosed and untreated. And there seems to be some learning disabilities on my mom’s side. It’s not certain that is genetics, as behavioral patterns and environmental conditions also get passed on from one generation to another. Epigenetics and biome get passed on as well. We inherit a whole mess of stuff from prior generations. I’ve always been closest to my mom and, I might add, she has become more cranky and critical as she has aged. Some of my thinking tendencies do come from my mom, such as an obsessive and non-linear focus.

            None of us fully knows why we become who we find ourselves to be. It’s a long winding path to adulthood and we drag a lot of baggage behind us. This is why I am so adamant about intellectual humility. I’m a militant agnostic (i.e., I don’t know what I don’t know) and a radical skeptic (i.e., zetetic). Strong claims on shaky grounds hits me in the wrong way. I’m an anti-dogmatist in that my doubts know no bounds, the flipside of my insatiable curiosity.

            This mindset is built on intellectual dissatisfaction. I can’t accept easy answers, no matter how comforting the lie or convenient the narrative. That may not make me a happy person nor make me popular with others, but it is who I am. To dedicate oneself to a sense of truth can be a harsh task. That is essentially the form my New Thought upbringing has taken as I’ve aged. I’m a zealot for Truth and I will sacrifice anything at that altar. As I see it, the greatest satisfaction in life is having a sense of meaning and purpose greater than mere personal happiness. Maybe that is a bit self-serving, in that I’m not overly talented in the happiness department. So be it. LOL

            Everyone has to follow their own path. But sometimes our paths clash. We each are who we are, for reasons we will never fully understand. Anything you say or I say could be true (or not), but it doesn’t change the fundamental issues at the core of our respective beings. What could be deemed as most important, considering that, is for all involved to be as clear as possible about who they are and where they are coming from. Then maybe such interpersonal clashes might be fruitful to some extent, rather than merely two people bashing their heads together and blaming the other for the headache that results.

          • It’s the MTHFR mutated gene. My daughter found out about it as a result of tests done on her son. I firmly believe that various characteristics are passed down through generations. Simple examples are eye and hair color and physical appearance. My grandmother on my mom’s side had red hair as did her brother and two sisters. I had red hair (now naked scalp and gray). My mother and daughter was/is a dark brunette with auburn tones when the light hits it just so. My son was born a blonde, then became a dirty light brunette with a bright red beard.

            Thanks so much for exposing yourself as you did. Helps understand some of your comments/perspectives better. Mentioned some time ago that I thought you could write an interesting book correlating your self-insight with some of your broader philosophical notions and analysis. On the other hand, such a project could become a burden you’d rather avoid.

            My duality comment was a reaction to what I saw as an absoluteness in several of your points on the whiteness issue. Will give you a rest from my ramblings for a bit so this thread has at least a pause, but I do have some thoughts on “whiteness” for which I would appreciate a reaction when I manage to write them down.

            One last point before I close for now. Yes, our upbringings appear to be quite different. My parents were not active religionists. Don’t ever recall any really philosophical discourse from either. I always felt loved, despite our difficulties.
            As a kid, was pretty much a free agent and very much a wanderer and an explorer of my environment by foot, bike, trolley and bus starting about the sixth grade. Didn’t have many limits, much guidance, support or lack of support for what I did as long as I avoided trouble. An extremely introverted child, I usually did whatever I did by myself. Thus, learned many of life’s lessons the hard way. Curiously, had more older people as “friends” than people my own age. I enjoyed hearing stories of their lives and of the past.

            More in awhile. Thanks again for your last post.

          • My post answering your gene question (sent Saturday or Sunday, forget which) with a few other brief responses is not in sight, so maybe WordPress has trashed it. Maybe it disfavors some of my views!!

          • Your comment has been retrieved from the depths of the intertubes. When one of your comments doesn’t show, just remind me to check the trash. I’m always forgetting to do that.

            Once you know a bit about me, my personal variety of craziness starts to make sense. Combine New Thought upbringing, INFP personality type, early learning disability, mild thought/personality disorder, and chronic unipolar depression. Mix them all up for several decades.

            My condition, such as it is, appears to be untreatable. I’ve been to numerous therapists and been on meds. And I’ve tried to deal with my own problems and failed utterly. I’ve learned to accept myself because, for the moment, it seems like a better option than suicide. As my West Coast New Agey grandmother used to say, everyone is doing the best they can for where they are at.

            I am what I am. You are what you are. Either two people get along or they don’t. I realize I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. And that is fine. I often admit that I can be an asshole. At least, I’m honest about it. I try to balance it with some positive traits. I apologize for my failings and hope that you might see past them to what is of value.

            I did a brief skim of info on the MTHFR gene, apparently with multiple variants. It looks interesting. There obviously is a lot of debate and disagreement about the research that so far has come out. But it looks like potentially useful knowledge to have for those impacted by it. I’ve never had full genetic testing. The only test my family had done was through National Geographic which only shows the origin of maternal and paternal lines.

  4. You know, reading Anglo North American history…
    LMAO Anglos are some of the most insecure and easily threatened people ever

    Also alt righters have skin that makes tissue paper look thick

    They treated french and Ukrainians like shit but they treated the asian migrants way worse. They wanted to assimilate the french and Ukrainians and other white ethnics and were prejudiced against their culture but the Asian migrants and Mexicans were killed, expelled, excluded, segregated away, etc.

    And why? Because despite the cultural and language differences all of these groups have, the Asians and Mexicans are the ones that look more obviously different

    Fuck humanity, da?

    Hey, Anglos invented the idea of race based on skin color and the one drop rule and exclusion of anyone who failed it. Other cultures were ethnocentric but moden racism, social Darwinism, eugenics, one-drop, was Anglo made

    The southern euros in Latin America and French colonists were shitheads in a different way. Mainly they had the same white supremacy hierarchy but they lacked the one drop rule, “purity” idea that excluded anyone who happened to be born a different skin tone. Instead the different skin tones were made to marry in and assimilate.
    Shitty in a different way

    • The other group that Anglo-Americans have always feared is Eastern Europeans. The prejudice against Slavs is much greater than toward the Catholic Irish and Southern Italians.

      Even today, because of the memory of the Cold War, Eastern Europeans are looked upon as different and associated somewhat with Asia. But before the Cold War, Slavs were always questionable as being white in the Anglo sense of the word. I’m not sure how well later generations of Slavic-Americans are able to assimilate. Do people who look stereotypically Slavic experience prejudice? I’ve never heard of any research about it. Along with Arabs, Eastern Europeans are regularly used for the role of stereotypical bad guy in American entertainment, even though both Arabs and Slavs are technically Caucasian.

      The other groups that have always been treated a bit differently are those of French and Spanish descent. They are both European groups, but like Southern Italians they also tend toward darker skin and darker hair. Being European doesn’t automatically mean being perceived as white or as fully white. It’s odd how those of Spanish descent aren’t thought of as being European by Americans, maybe most especially Anglo-Americans.

      Assimilation does happen, although sometimes slowly. Slavic-Americans and Spanish-Americans will eventually be assimilated entirely into generalized American whiteness. I think even Asian-Americans will be assimilated, as interracial marriages become more common. As for the French, at least in Canada, they haven’t assimilated to Anglo culture and maybe neither Anglo racial identity.

      Many part Asian actors are already perceived as white (or else as black). Keanu Reeves father is mixed race (including Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, and English) and, even though Keanu is seen as white, his ethnic ancestry is far from clear. Racial perception of whiteness and blackness tends to overpower any Asian characteristics. As Asian-Americans intermarry more with whites and blacks, their descendants won’t be seen as Asian-American.

      That is how assimilation happens. But in the process, what people think of as ‘white’ is transformed to mean something new. What goes for white today would not be thought of as white in the past. And possibly what will go for white in the future would not be thought of as white in the present. Whiteness is a vague and shifting category. Like porn, people simply know it when they see it and yet it’s hard to precisely define. It’s about subjective perception, not objective reality.

      In the American racial order, there is only one group that can’t ever assimilate. That is blacks, those of supposed African ancestry, although one in twenty blacks have no detectable African genetics. Whiteness isn’t defined by anything specific. It simply means not being black. That is why Asians and Hispanics will inevitably be assimilated into whiteness. Give it a few generations and the discussion we’re having right now will seem strange, as that assimilation would already have happened and become normalized.

    • Assimilation is strange.

      I have maybe a tiny percentage of English ancestry in me. My ancestry is mostly Prussian, German, Palatine German/French, and Scottish. Those are the main ethnicities and ethno-nationalities in my family tree. I have to go back a couple centuries to find an individual who might have been of English ancestry.

      Yet I’m perfectly assimilated into Anglo-American whiteness. I have the advantage that my immigrant ancestors have been in America for a long time, many family lines going back to the colonial era.

      My family has had the time to assimilate. Most Irish-Americans at this point have also had the time to assimilate, as the main wave of Irish immigrants happened mid-19th century.

      But other European immigrants arrived in more recent history and so probably are less assimilated. I wonder how well assimilated are, for example, Eastern European immigrants who came after the fall of the Soviet Union. Or consider Spanish refugees from Franco Spain. Another example are the often light-skinned Cubans who escaped revolution.

      Are such people perceived as ‘white’ Americans? Do they think of themselves as white or do they still primarily identify with their ethnicity/nationality?

    • Here is another interesting example. The Spanish Basque.

      They’ve been in North America, the present United States territory, in many cases for longer than the British colonies existed. In the past, they thought of themselves as a distinct people (their genetics show that they are unique from other Europeans, sharing some genetics with the Irish) and they have been proud of their Basque ethnicity.

      They originally came to the Americas because of the Spanish Empire. But would most Anglo-Americans perceive them as ‘white’ American or Hispanic other? And how do they perceive themselves?

  5. Iirc the redhead, freckled look occur at a higher frequency among celts (Irish, Scottish) than English. Especially redhead and freckles combined.

    Slavs do look different, with different facial structures. “Slavic babyface” is a real phenomena :p But today my dad had to pick up two russian grad students he never met from convention and he easily picked them out from a sea of white faces, lol. Their facial structure is different from Western Europeans, perhaps. But in my experiences Russians are easy to spot.

    And yeah, southern euros look different, sometimes they pass for middle eastern or Hispanic. Actually, you’re right. Just look at abbey d’agostino. That’s not a wasp! Still from my POV, I’m used to seeig that “look” as ‘white’ which in hindsight is somewhat weird since these people are often literally “not white” in complexion. But it dosent change that today, the “Mediterranean” look is included in white.

    Rita Hayworth was a half Mediterranean, born margarita cansino. She dyed her dark hair red and went by her mom’s Anglo surname to appeal to mainstream Americans at the time.

    Still, dosent change that mediterreaneans and slavics never had laws passed against them, and anti-miscegenation laws never applied to them. Much of their separation was cultural rather than institutionally mandated like (legal segregation, Jim Crow, anti miscegenation laws, etc)

    • I would make several points.

      First, I was putting the quote in context. At the time Emerson was writing, there were English laws politically disenfranchising and economically oppressing the Irish. Some Anglo-Americans sought to create such laws in the US as well. But most prejudice in the US was private, systemic throughout Anglo-American society. It wasn’t primarily laws that forced so many early ethnic immigrants to the frontier and other rural areas, as they were escaping private prejudice that made life extremely difficult for them.

      In the decades following Emerson’s writing of those words, millions of Irish would die of starvation and millions others escape only to find yet more prejudice and impoverishment in countries like the US. It wasn’t a good time to be Irish. The specific point being there was a historical context for why so many English and Anglo-Americans didn’t perceive the Irish as white or as fully white.

      Second, I was never arguing that Asians didn’t face worse oppression. That is irrelevant to the quote. Emerson wasn’t writing about Chinese. To someone like Emerson, the Chinese were far less of a threat than the Irish, if only for the simple reason there were fewer Chinese in the US and specifically on the East Coast.

      Chinese weren’t a particular threat to Anglo-American whiteness, in the way that the Irish were. Before the ‘hordes’ of Irish (as they sometimes were described), there had never before been such a mass wave of ethnic immigration to the US. All of a sudden, it became a clear possibility that the majority population of the US could become that of non-English ancestry.

      Most of the oppression against ethnic whites was private. The Second KKK was mostly in the North and mainly targeted ethnic European-Americans, not blacks or Chinese, although they also targeted those as well. Prohibitionists were also mainly targeting ethnic European-Americans. Like the earlier Whiskey Tax, Prohibition was primarily about those ethnics who weren’t Anglo-Americans and so whose racial position was questionable and threatening. So, there were laws involved, including immigration restrictions later on.

      “The first federal law in U.S. history to limit the immigration of Europeans, the Immigration Act of 1921 reflected the growing American fear that people from southern and eastern European countries not only did not adapt well into American society but also threatened its very existence. […]

      “According to federal officials scattered throughout European consulates, literally millions of Europeans hoped to emigrate to the United States in the aftermath of World War I (1914-1918). Some of these would-be immigrants could be considered as coming from the “desirable” classes of western and northern European nations, but it appeared that the vast majority of the potential immigrants would be coming from southern and eastern Europe.

      “Many Americans held the perception that individuals from southern and eastern Europe could not be assimilated properly into the culture of the United States. Their languages, customs, and religions were thought to be too different from those of preceding generations of immigrants for fullscale integration into American culture. The fear was that these newer immigrants would always be “hyphenates,” or citizens who would call themselves, or be called by others, by such hyphenated names as “Polish-Americans,” “Greek-Americans,” and “Italian-Americans.” […]

      “Based on the 1910 population figures, the bill effectively limited emigration of northern and western Europeans to approximately 175,000 individuals. As this figure reflected almost precisely the numbers of immigrants from these regions during the years leading up to 1921, the bill had little impact on northern and western European immigration. The bill imposed no limitations on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. […]

      “The bill was intended to be in effect for only a single year; however, it was not replaced until 1924. The significance of the 1921 bill lies in the fact that it was the first time Americans had actively and legally sought to limit European immigration.”

      “In operation, the quota system “materially favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe because the great waves from Southern and Eastern Europe did not arrive until after 1890.” Congress enacted the quota system in the wake of passing the literacy test in 1917; this test excluded “[a]ll aliens over sixteen years of age, physically capable of reading, who can not read the English language, or some other language or dialect, including Hebrew or Yiddish.” In operation, the test, as intended, restricted the immigration of non-English speakers, including Italians, Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Greeks, and Asians. […]

      “The racial hierarchy endorsed by proponents of the national origins quota system was entirely consistent with the academic literature of the day, which viewed the “races” of southern and eastern Europe as inferior to northern European ones. In effect, southern and eastern European immigrants, commonly thought of today as white ethnics, were “racialized” as non-white, and therefore unworthy of joining the national community. […]

      “Despite persistent criticisms, including claims that it adversely affected U.S. foreign policy interests, the Anglo-Saxon, northern European preference in the immigration laws remained intact until 1965. […]

      “In sum, the national origins quota system reflects this nation’s preoccupation with its ethnic balance. The system was based on the desire to limit the immigration of inferior “races” from southern and eastern Europe. Domestic discrimination accompanied the exclusion in the laws. Long-standing anti-Semitism, as well as prejudice against other immigrant groups, existed in the United States.

      “The life of the national origins quota system spanned a period when domestic racial minorities enjoyed some improvements under the law. While domestic minorities gained formal legal rights, noncitizens at best remained in the same rightless place in American society. Many noncitizens lost rights with the INA, which besides maintaining the quota system, also included some draconian provisions punishing noncitizen political minorities in the name of fighting Communism.”

      “Proponents of the Act sought to establish a distinct American identity by favoring native-born Americans over Jews, Southern Europeans, and Eastern Europeans in order to “maintain the racial preponderance of the basic strain on our people and thereby to stabilize the ethnic composition of the population”. Reed told the Senate that earlier legislation “disregards entirely those of us who are interested in keeping American stock up to the highest standard – that is, the people who were born here”. Southern/Eastern Europeans and Jews, he believed, arrived sick and starving and therefore less capable of contributing to the American economy, and unable to adapt to American culture.

      “Some of the law’s strongest supporters were influenced by Madison Grant and his 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race. Grant was a eugenicist and an advocate of the racial hygiene theory. His data purported to show the superiority of the founding Nordic races. Most proponents of the law were rather concerned with upholding an ethnic status quo and avoiding competition with foreign workers. […]

      “In the 10 years following 1900, about 200,000 Italians immigrated annually. With the imposition of the 1924 quota, 4,000 per year were allowed. By contrast, the annual quota for Germany after the passage of the Act was over 57,000. Some 86% of the 155,000 permitted to enter under the Act were from Northern European countries, with Germany (including Poles; see: Partitions of Poland), Britain, and Ireland having the highest quotas. The new quotas for immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe[where?] were so restrictive that in 1924 there were more Italians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, Greeks, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Portuguese, Romanians, Spaniards, Jews, Chinese, and Japanese that left the United States than those who arrived as immigrants.”

      • It limited white ethnic immigration, but barred Latin American, asian, and non white immigrants entirely.

        Even in that hierarchy, southern and Eastern European immigrants were still above non-whites

        • I’m just not a fan of victimization Olympics. It’s utter bullshit to argue about who suffered more.

          In order to gain the benefits of white privilege, would you choose to change places with a severely impoverished white in rural Appalachia, with an unemployed homeless white in a post-industrial inner city, or a disadvantaged white in prison? Of course not. Almost anyone, if somehow given the choice, would rather be a middle-to-upper class minority than a lower class white.

          It simply sucks being poor in a class-obsessed society like the US. Both liberals and conservatives are telling poor whites that at least they aren’t minorities, but that is little comfort when dealing with the real problems of desperate poverty. Such desperate poverty isn’t simply a thing of the past, such as the Irish in the 19th century. Most poor Americans and most incarcerated Americans are white, and their white privilege means almost jack shit.

          Sure, the poor will seek anything to be take pride in. Poor whites take pride in being white, just as poor blacks take pride in being black. When you poor, you have to take what you can get as there is little to be proud in when the rest of society looks upon you as the scum of the earth. Even so, I doubt poor whites actually feel much pride in being white or pride in much at all. They’re too busy simply surviving to worry about pride. Besides, they already know society considers them worthless and many come to believe it about themselves.

          About the topic of this post, it wasn’t exactly an easy life being an Irish in the 19th century, whether back in Ireland or in the US. The only advantage to having been a poor white at that time was that you had lots of company surrounded by vast numbers of other poor whites. It didn’t make you any less poor or your life any easier. You still were forced to work yourself to an early grave, if you were lucky enough to find work at all. I guess you could count your blessings that at least you weren’t enslaved, but that is like counting your blessings that you have potentially treatable cancer instead of AIDs.

          White privilege is awesome, when combined with class privilege. Otherwise, it doesn’t do poor whites much good.

          • I am speaking historically; not in modern day or current cases. Historically poor whites occupied high position than poor nonwhites, who were pretty much the only minorities

            In past minorities who climbed the ladders were also often backlashes against and usually by poor whites as well. See: Tulsa race riots.

            In modern day, it is relatively new phenomena to see minorities “rising up” while many whites are falling behind, or feel as if they are.

            Gentrification is often seen as wealthier whites replacing poor minorities for example, but cases of nonwhites replacing whites who were poorer than them are increasing

          • In my post and many of my comments here, I was also speaking historically.

            It utterly sucked being Irish in the 19th century. Sure, it also sucked to be black and Chinese at that time in America. But that doesn’t change the historical reality that many English and Anglo-Americans didn’t consider Irish to be white or fully white. Nor change the historical reality that this led to political disenfranchisement, military oppression, indentured servitude, economic disadvantage, severe poverty, and even mass starvation.

            The early protests that were put down (Shays’ Rebellion, Whiskey Rebellion, etc) were directed at poor whites, typically non-English. Daniel Shays was Irish and his movement was put down by George Washington, a rich white Anglo-American. The rich white response was to disenfranchise those poor whites which was why they replaced the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution, leaving only a few percentage of white men with the right to vote or run for office.

            Emerson’s quote expresses a common view of the time, whether or not you can comprehend it with your 21st century racial thought. This entire post and the comment section was in response to that quote. Victimization Olympics remains bullshit and doesn’t change that historical reality.

            I seriously doubt you’d have wanted to have been one of those poor Irish whites in the 19th century. If you escaped with your life from the potato famine and violent oppression and if you found yourself in near hopeless poverty in America, it wouldn’t be much comfort to think that at least you weren’t black or Chinese. Poor whites at the time had few rights and little political representation. They often found themselves doing the hardest and most dangerous work, right alongside other disadvantaged groups.

            Judging such historical underprivileged populations as you’re doing from your position of relative privilege in the present is a pointless activity. Your life as an Asian-American right now is amazingly better than the life of an Irish-American even a century ago. And some of the poor whites right now who are living worse lives than you could ever imagine are part of families that have been severely poor continuously for centuries or longer.

            Be humble in your judgments and have some compassion. It sucks to be poor and disadvantaged, no matter your race and ethnicity. Meaningless games of identity politics aren’t helpful. I’m really not in the mood to play such games.

          • I’m sorry to respond that way. It really does put me in a bad mood. Identity politics is one of the worst things about US politics. It’s just so inanely stupid.

            I write about poor minorities as much as I write about poor whites. But ultimately suffering and struggle are the same. No one with a lick of sense would think that poor whites or poor anyone have been fortunate in any kind of way. The average poor white in centuries past were lucky to live past childhood. It was a harsh, often short life with little hope of betterment. Most poor whites in past centuries died as desperately poor as they were born.

            It was not a good life. But I’m sure you understand that. I know you mean well. And I know so much about American society sucks, including the treatment of Chinese-Americans. My point is simply that one horrible thing doesn’t lessen another horrible thing. It isn’t a competition, a zero sum game of suffering, as if we are forced to ignore some people’s struggles in order to focus on the struggles of others.

            That kind of divide and conquer politics depresses me to no end. It’s why I despise partisan politics and mainstream media, along with so much standard identity politics activism. I just can’t participate in it. If the only positive thing I can do is refuse to participate, then that is what I’ll do. The one and only thing that matters to me is taking everyone’s suffering seriously and treating it with compassion. I mean that with the utmost sincerity.

            Suffering in the world bothers in me to an extent I can’t begin to express. I will never dismiss the suffering of another. We live in a shitty world and few people have the opportunity to do much with their lives beyond just getting by. I honestly don’t care who a person is. Suffering doesn’t give a shit about demographics. Poverty, imprisonment, mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness, etc—it all sucks. Suffering has a way of overwhelming people.

            The only thing that matters in the world is what lessens suffering in the world.

  6. Well, Latino isn’t a race as you know and come in all “races”

    But Hispanics are literally western. They are mostly Christian / catholic, and speak a European language. Many have European ancestry, some predominantly or completely so.

    I think Latinos will “become white” before Asians due to their closer culture and many Latinos being partially to fully white themselves. However I suspect this “becoming white” May only tend to white-passing and the lighter mixed ones, rather than the very Amerindian or African looking ones. Basically Colorism: which is endemic in Latin America anyway. Latin America dosent practice one drop rule but it does favor more European look

    I suspect the USA may relax one drop rule a bit in future. However “whiteness” remaining on top of hierarchy may remain .

    • Race is a meaningless category. Technically, black and whites aren’t races any more than Latino. Race only exists in the imagination, demented and distorted by bizarre ideology. It seems pointless even trying to have an intelligent discussion about a topic that is inherently non-rational.

      In terms of the racial imagination, I agree with you. Latinos will become white fairly quickly. Many Latinos already can pass as white without Anglo-Americans noticing. Whiteness has already expanded quite a bit. The fact that dark-skinned, dark-haired Italians and Sicilians have mostly assimilated has paved the way for Latinos, as they’re all of Southern European ancestry.

      For Asians, it will require more continued immigration and intermarriage. It will be a slower process, but it probably is inevitable. The change could happen quite quickly, once the older generations die and their older notion of whiteness die with them.

      Colorism will become the bigger issue. It won’t be as simple as race and ethnicity. There will be a process of negotiation in how dark is too dark to be considered white. That has already shifted fairly far toward the dark end, as those darker-skinned Southern Europeans have been assimilated to whiteness. White-passing over time simply becomes white.

  7. I was thinking, ever notice that most Scandinavians and Germans themselves don fit “nazi Aryan” ideal that well? Facial structure I mean.

    • I hadn’t thought too much about it, actually. It does make sense. There is a fair amount of diversity of appearances in most countries and regions. Northern European taken as a whole includes a great mix of populations, including a variety of genetics.

      I have much German and related ancestry. I can’t say that I or anyone in my family particularly fits the “nazi Aryan” ideal. I was quite blonde as a child, but I now have brown hair like the rest of the family. There aren’t any blue eyes in the family, as far as I know.

      What exactly is the basis of the “nazi Aryan” ideal? Where did that come from? Why was it the ideal? Simply because it was perceived as the opposite of Southern European and African appearances?

  8. There is lots of distrust among poor Americans based on race. Many poor blacks for example distrust poor whites due to history. They often see them as liking to punch down at them historically, see the MLK quote.

    I suppose in a fantasy world poor should be united in sticking I to the man, but in reality that’s been somewhat hard. And everytime it looks like a movement like that rises up, it seems to get quashed

    • Even among minorities, they will punch down.

      Middle class blacks punch down at poor blacks, just as middle class whites punch down at poor whites. Heck, if you go far enough up the class ladder, minorities also will punch down on poor whites, since class privilege can trump white privilege.

      US-born Blacks punch down at Latino immigrants, as immigrants have always been a favorite target for Americans.. As such, Latino US citizens often will punch down at undocumented immigrants.

      Punching down is easy and so attractive, allowing for an easy way to manipulate populations by those above. Many people in every demographic group identity will look for those who are perceived as below them. It’s a sad part of human nature.

  9. “I lived in the Midwest and this place truly encompasses the American culture of lazy, ignorant, and entitlement.
    The stereotype about Chinese being rude / uncultured, the white trash behavior overshadows that by far. These Chinese “nouveau riche” came from a poor background so often they are not very educated. The older generation of peasants had to go through Cultural Revolution. They are starving all the time so I am sure they care more about having their basic needs fulfilled. Developing proper social etiquette would be the last thing on their mind. Last week I was in this Chinese Buffet, some old fat white guy complained and bitch to the poor waitress for a whole 20 minutes about wanting to sit in a table that was already reserved, despite plenty of other seats, because he wanted be closer to the food stations. What excuses do these white trash have? I am sure he had an easier life growing up compare to my parents and most likely have the opportunity to attend college, and thus should be far more educated, but it sure as hell didn’t make him more cultured.
    The complain about China and India polluting the environment, pretty sure that the US emits a lot more per capita. The lazy fat fucks here drive to get to anywhere. If you bitch about pollution from China you better start walking, like most people in Asia. Not to mention the pollution problem is partly due to demand of cheap goods from Western nations. Dumb fucks here don’t wanna pay more than $70 for work boots but constantly complains about cheaply made Chinese goods. They are more than welcome to support made in the USA but most of them are too cheap to do so.
    I worked as a resident engineer on many construction projects throughout the Midwest. My overall experience dealing with laborers that are mostly red necks is just terrible. There was a study done on Asian American and leadership roles and how many people don’t see us as leaders. This absolutely corroborate with my experience. I always got the feeling that, from their passive aggressive comments, they are not too happy about having to take orders/ being supervised by an Asian. Also they seem to be more willing to listen to my white coworkers. Apparently having a degree in engineering, being a licensed professional engineer, and years of experience don’t mean shit. I can tell the animosity comes from having to work back breaking labor while some China man isn’t really doing anything but just supervise. It’s not my fault that you couldn’t get a better job because you have no formal education. You have a 200 year head start in this country. If you managed to fail in this white centric society don’t even dare to blame that on someone else.”

    • A comment like that seems to be responding more to what is seen on mainstream media than what is of concern to most Americans.

      About poor white Americans specifically, I doubt the vast majority of them care or have ever voiced much of an opinion about Chinese anything in their entire lives. It just has so little to do with their everyday living. They honestly don’t care where cheap products are made, just as long as they’re cheap enough that they can afford them with their meager paycheck. And it is irrelevant what pollution is happening in China or even in the next town over.

      These aren’t the type of things most poor whites think about. Poor whites have too many basic problems and struggles to worry about other people, especially in other countries (e.g., poor whites are less supportive of wars than wealthier whites). The typical Fox News viewer and Trump supporter is average to above average in wealth and education, part of the shrinking middle class, not of the poor white demographic.

      Don’t blame poor whites for any of this. You can blame poor whites for other things, but blame them for they are actually responsible for.

    • Don’t remember what it was called, Out West or something – Twain’s travel book for his journey west. He spoke well, debunked that stereotype himself, although he called them “Chinamen,” which I guess, as racial slurs go, is pretty generic at least. But he judged the Chinese from his lofty white perch as civilized and learned . . . suggested that many whites could learn a thing or two.

  10. It is divide and conquer. But also reality.

    I’ve written about how identity politics blows, that ts just a “pragmTic evil” because it seems the only realistic way to fight. Everyone else is fighting with fire, bringing in water often isn’t realistic so many think they must get their own fire and join in

    Punching Down is shitty aspect of human nature, but so is tribalism. So is selfishness. People ted to care about themselves.

    • Even as I criticize identity politics, I do see it as both an inevitable outcome and necessary evil. It is human nature. Humans are inherently social creatures. We need group identities of some sort: kinship, tribe, ethnicity, nationality, race, socioeconomic class, sports team, partisan politics, ideological labels, etc.

      It almost doesn’t even matter how people are divided up, just as long as there are group identities to be latched onto or else forced onto people. Research has even shown that when people are arbitrarily put into groups they immediately begin forming a group identity, sometimes even when researchers create bizarre reasons for categorizing people.

  11. I find identity politics disillusioning these days, mostly because I see how easily identity politics, and many liberal social justice philosophies, are VERY easily appropriated by reactionaries. I think this stuff is good to the extent that it serves as a pragmatic way of advancing a disadvantaged groups interests into equality, but beyond that, I find it weird and frankly, divisive. It often can do more harm than good in some ways.

    I am well aware of this and I think being asian often allows me to view it this way because Asians are so ignored (at best) by both “sides.” There is distinct perception of socialjustice groups not caring for Asians and minimizing and demanding asian voices that don’t conform to conventional liberal rhetoric, I mean. To put it shortly, I see that neither side is really “good.” That it’s all a mess.

    I think recent events have shown that ultimately everyone is just out for themselves, whether it’s Trump supporters, OWS, BLM, feminists (including womanists and intersectional feminists) etc. That’s pretty much how I feel about it. We all say a lot of nice sounding fluff but most of us don’t have the ability to fight for real equality between all groups. It goes against the selfishness and tribalism that is human nature. That’s why I think we all have to check each other. I am a fan of the proverb “A man shows his true character not while he is a slave, but when he becomes the master.” And it’s true.

    Ultimately, this human conflict is petty, even if rooted in our instincts. Humans really are running on outdated software, so to speak. We are really, hairless apes at the end of the day.

    • “I find identity politics disillusioning these days, mostly because I see how easily identity politics, and many liberal social justice philosophies, are VERY easily appropriated by reactionaries.”

      I’ve come to the conclusion that there is less distance between liberal politics and reactionary politics than I’d prefer. One easily becomes the other. Social justice philosophies seems to make liberals prone to reactionary views.

      “There is distinct perception of social justice groups not caring for Asians and minimizing and demanding asian voices that don’t conform to conventional liberal rhetoric, I mean. To put it shortly, I see that neither side is really “good.” That it’s all a mess.”

      That fits my own sense of things. There is complicity from all sides. It’s not a problem limited to a single group, as it is fully a systemic problem and we are all a part of the same system. The system is rather limiting, many people experiencing the demand to conform.

      “I think recent events have shown that ultimately everyone is just out for themselves, whether it’s Trump supporters, OWS, BLM, feminists (including womanists and intersectional feminists) etc. That’s pretty much how I feel about it. We all say a lot of nice sounding fluff but most of us don’t have the ability to fight for real equality between all groups. It goes against the selfishness and tribalism that is human nature.”

      I understand what you say here. And I partly agree. But the problem I see is that the way we group ourselves seems unhelpful. Maybe if we found better ways to socially organize, we’d find better ways of relating. My sense is that we don’t even understand human nature, instead trying to force it into false ideologies. Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought have gotten many things right but also many things wrong.

      “Ultimately, this human conflict is petty, even if rooted in our instincts. Humans really are running on outdated software, so to speak. We are really, hairless apes at the end of the day.”

      I’ve been wondering what humans are. I keep having this sense that we are far different than what we’ve come to believe. It seems we are extremely confused and that leads to endless suffering, as we blindly thrash about hitting one another. Humans, at least in our present state, are ignorant and this is not a blissful ignorance.

    • It probably depends where you live.

      If you were raised to think of Slavs as being a geographically, culturally, and genetically distinct people, then you would indeed think of them as a separate race. You would learn to look for and emphasize the differences in terms of physical features, clothing, dialect, etc. In perceiving Slavs as different, you would literally see them as being different—even if to someone in another society the differences might seem minor and insignificant.

      Are Israelis and Palestinians different races, even though both are Semites (along with Bedouins) and share the same ancestry? I bet most Israelis and Palestinians have learned to see the differences. Certainly, they aren’t embracing each other as kinfolk, despite the fact that Palestinians are simply the Jews who chose to remain and convert to a new religion.

      • That is an interesting example. In the Western imagination, the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis resonates with the conflicts of both East/West and Black/White.

        I’ve never come across any Westerner who knew that the Palestinians and Israelis were genetically and ancestrally the same people. In the mainstream media and mainstream politics, the two populations are portrayed as societies entirely alien to one another, as different as the perception of races.

        It is odd that two populations of the same people could be seen as so different. It’s quite possible that Palestinians and Israelis are more genetically similar than Irish and English. It helps us moderns understand why seemingly minor differences in the present were thought of as so vast in an earlier era.

        That demonstrates the power of mind in filtering perception and shaping thought. We literally see what we believe is real. And through social and political means, we enforce our beliefs onto reality.

  12. This page is a hive of historical misinformation. There’s too much here to respond to (and not worth the effort), but I would alert other readers to consume this information with extreme caution. The author selectively quotes intellectuals and then claims they were representative of the average person’s opinion (about the Irish) without actually demonstrating the link (it’s all, “Emerson said this, and therefore this is what people thought). What’s worse, the author writes in a very unnuanced fashion, conflates religious bigotry with racism, and makes no effort to differentiate Irish immigrants by class, religion and region. Irish migration to the US has a long history stretching back into the 17th Century (16th if you count Spanish Florida) rather than beginning in the mid-19th Century as implied here. These immigrants were highly differentiated and included both Protestants and Catholics, wealthy and impoverished immigrants, English and Gaelic speakers, and so on. Their experiences were also highly differentiated based on when they arrived in the US and where they settled. But the author here has lumped them all together under a single category and has made sweeping generalizations about their social experiences which, in most cases, cannot be sustained by the evidence

    The author claims that the racial status of Irish people as “not white” in the 19th Century is “a fact” (it’s not), and then selectively quotes scholars like Curtis and Ignatiev. If the author had read through the historical literature he may have come across historians like Sheridan Gilley and Gary Peatling, who have discredited much of what Curtis has written, and Kevin Kenny and Timothy Meagher, who have poked many holes in Ignatiev’s ever popular but historically uninformed “How the Irish Became White” book. In fact I would recommend Kevin Kenny’s lectures on Youtube if anyone is interested in a more serious treatment of the subject of Irish-Americans and race in the 19th Century, by an actual expert.

    Finally, the author omits Irish-American involvement in plantation slavery and colonialism which further calls this theory into question. The cherry-picking of content and sources is rather amateurish and almost painful to follow.

    • As stated above the comment box, “Please read Comment Policy before commenting.” Because of a response that wasn’t civil, courteous, considerate and respectful, we do not expect the possibility of honest and fair, worthy and meaningful dialogue by interacting with this commenter. So, this individual, Jonathan C. Fitch, is permanently banned from the blog. But we won’t silence this one comment and, instead, we’ll respond… and do so with good intentions, in hope of clarifying what is and is not at stake.

      The issue, of course, is complex; and it was never indicated otherwise in the above post. Proto-racism began in the ancient world, while there is much debate when it became full-blown actual racism (i.e., biological essentialism and determinism) as has been seen since earlier last century. Certainly, it was taking clear form in the pseudo-scientific rhetoric of the 19th century. Yet it’s also true that at the time a few intellectuals, if far from all or even most, had relatively more nuanced views of ethno-cultural differences across populations.

      That wasn’t what L. Perry Curtis was writing about, though. Rather, he was referring to the overall culture and public opinion as expressed and shaped by the news media of the popular press, particularly the caricatures portrayed in political cartoons. Furthermore, the debate between Curtis and his critics more had to do with a disagreement over British society, not American society. What I wrote about here focused specifically on the United States, even as the larger frame of Anglo-American thought was used as a backdrop.

      Interestingly, Peatling counters that his argument was misunderstood. He asserts that he was never suggesting that anti-Irish racism wasn’t real and influential in English society. His main contention with Curtis, as he claimed, is that of a difference of emphasis. It’s not that racism was not centrally important, but that there were other important factors. He simply preferred to avoid what he perceived as reductionist thinking in too narrowly focusing on racism alone. That is a reasonable position to take or at least worthy of scholarly debate, albeit Curtis would consider reductionism to be a mischaracterization. Yet that is far from how Fitch falsely interpreted the disagreement.

      Besides, in terms of mischaracterization, Curtis never made a broadly sweeping truth-claim that anything and everything could be explained by racism alone. So, this ends up being a straw man argument. He never dismissed other explanations or claimed they were irrelevant or insignificant. All he did was offer one particular angle of understanding. What he wrote about is undeniably true, if various scholars may disagree about the details and what they add up to beyond any single factor.

      As for Sheridan Gilley, he complained that Curtis got wrong the definition of ‘race’, which as already noted has been a diverse and shifting social construct. That is part of the complexity of the topic and worthy of debate. As such, we feel no need to dismiss various critics of Curtis. But on the other hand, we’d note that insight can be gained using racism as a lens without any requirement of a singular, coherent, consistent, narrow, and agreed upon definition of ‘race’; much less dismissing other ways of understanding. In this light, of what Fitch mentions, there isn’t necessarily anything of great substance to argue about. The fundamental issue Curtis elucidates remains without refutation or alteration.

      For additional context, consider the alternative theory offered by some critics that it was class (and religion, etc), not race, that distinguished these ethno-cultural populations and the conflict between them. That is largely meaningless and moot. In earlier thought, it was nearly impossible to separate out the two. Proto-racism in the Middle Ages was often defined as caste-like differences of socioeconomic class where peasants and aristocracy were portrayed as separate breeds of animals. This carried over into modernity with, for example, Jews (often impoverished, ghettoized, malnourished, and sickly) in being perceived as an essentially (i.e., genetically or biologically) ‘tubercular’ race.

      It ends up seeming like a conflict between those who are accepting and those who are uncomfortable about the amorphous, shapeshifting nature of racism in Western history and continuing into the present. It relates to how many on the right and in the mainstream still resist acknowledging how racism can operate unconsciously, systemically, and subtly. This is why one can sense a reactionary defensiveness (dressed up as intellectual critique) in comments like that of Fitch, a non-rational dismissiveness toward the very possibility that the Irish one time might not have been fully ‘white’, as many Anglo-Saxon Protestants understood it.

      A Response to the Commentators
      by G. K. Peatling

      “I reject the reduction of racism to chromatism and at numerous points suggest that concepts of racialization have been and can be fruitfully applied to historical analysis of British perceptions of Ireland. […] It is not my view that racialization, or anti-Irish prejudice, did not exist or had no political influence in those periods.”

      The Simianization of the Irish:
      Racial Ape-ing and Its Contexts

      by Steve Garner

      “First, racialization neither exclusively concerns bodies, nor solely bodies not racialized as white. It usually does entail a jagged and messy bouillabaisse of identities (culture, class, religion, nationality, gender, etc.). Thus arguments that because we are examining racialization – in which race is the key concept – we are ignoring, culture, class, religion, etc. are a priori invalid. As I have argued elsewhere, race has always fused the notions of embodiment and culture, and it is not necessary for bodies to be marked by difference for difference to be invoked or conferred on them in representations.

      “Second, this is not a field which can be understood as a formula of the sort x-y=z, where x is racism, y is anti-racism and z is what remains when you subtract y from x. The mass responses to racialized ideas are difficult to accurately gauge. If some critically engage with dominant ideologies and favour anti-racist counter-narratives, this does not mean Perry Curtis’ argument about the representation of the Irish in nineteenth-century cartoons in his classic Apes and Angels, is one-sided. Yet the core of the critique made of his work by other historians of the Irish experience is that he ignores evidence to the contrary, and exaggerates the influence of the simianized visual discourse. Curtis’ reading is therefore deemed partial.

      “I find this a confusing debate. Anti-racist critique of racist practices and ideas does not necessarily detract from the latter’s potency or prominence in people’s minds. There is not one logical, perfectly balanced viewpoint that would summarise a necessarily uneven set of social relationships. Moreover, in relation to this chapter, historians involved in the 2005 roundtable discussion of racialization, Irishness and whiteness in the Journal of British Studies claim 1) that the Irish were not consistently held as a lower branch of civilization than Anglo-Saxons throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; 2) that they considered themselves white and never anything else; and 3) that relying on race as an explanatory factor does not cover the complexity of the Irish experience.

      “These are points of debate but not strictly relevant to this story. The last one is a
      straw man. Neither Curtis nor I claim that ›race‹ is everything. However, the argument that race is ›not everything‹ is scarcely a rebuttal of the counter -argument that race is something. That is the departure point for this exploration of the simianization of the Irish. The objectives of this chapter are first, to locate the practice of simianizing representations of Irish people in an historical context, in order to, second: establish the functions of this practice.”

      The Eternal Paddy: Irish Identity and the British Press, 1798–1882
      reviewed by Simon Potter

      “Michael de Nie’s book, The Eternal Paddy: Irish Identity and the British Press, 1798–1882 is a significant new contribution to the debate. It differs from other studies in the breadth of primary material on which it is based: whereas previous work on British attitudes towards the Irish was rooted in a relatively thin sampling of the periodical press, de Nie has grounded his arguments in a remarkably extensive cross-section of British newspapers and periodicals. […]

      “To some extent, de Nie seeks to occupy a middle ground in the debate over the nature of British attitudes towards the Irish. While emphasising the importance of stereotypes, he agrees with Gilley and Foster that British attitudes to Ireland were shaped in particular ways at particular times by contemporary crises and debates. Thus, for example, he argues that British press responses to 1798 were influenced by British ideas about revolutionary violence in France, as well as by British beliefs about the gullible and savage nature of the Irish. Similarly, while stressing the importance of Victorian thinking about race in shaping British attitudes, de Nie argues that we should also acknowledge the inexact nature of that body of thought. For de Nie, race was a Victorian ‘metalanguage’ that also encompassed those issues of social status, religion and political violence emphasised by Gilley and Foster.(5)

      “However, while thus at times mildly critical of aspects of Curtis’s argument, in most respects de Nie is clearly on the side of the Apes and Angels. Crucially, he shares with Curtis the same general approach to the use of the press as a source. Admirably explicit about his methodology, de Nie questions how closely newspapers can be tied into the history of party politics. This reflects, perhaps, his experience of reading significant numbers of provincial papers, which generally maintained looser political affiliations than their metropolitan counterparts. While acknowledging that the British press never spoke with one voice, de Nie nevertheless downplays the significance of the differences between the approaches of various newspapers, and instead emphasises underlying similarities. He argues for the existence of ‘a number of dominant trends, opinions, and beliefs that crossed or blurred partisan lines and collectively informed a “British” view of Ireland and the Irish people during the nineteenth century’ (p. 28). Essentially, the press is viewed as an indicator of national opinion, revealing and entrenching widely held stereotypes. Following Curtis, de Nie argues that cartoons are particularly revealing, as humour provided an alibi that allowed the artist to express prejudices in their baldest forms.

      “Indeed, despite his attempts to occupy a middle ground, in some respects de Nie goes even further than Curtis in stressing the enduring nature of stereotypes. For while Curtis focussed on the simianised Paddy as a caricature with a finite historical lifespan, emerging during the 1840s and becoming increasingly rare by the 1890s, de Nie argues that certain stereotypes enjoyed greater longevity.”

      Richard McMahon: The Races of Europe. Construction of National Identities in the Social Sciences, 1839-1939
      reviewed by Ian Stewart

      Author’s Response
      by Richard McMahon

      Curtis and post-colonialism

      “Stewart correctly notes that L. P. Curtis’s 1968 book, Anglo-Saxons & Celts: A Study of Anti-Irish Prejudice in Victorian England (1), which I use as an important secondary source on racial representations of the Irish, has been heavily challenged in subsequent literature However the criticisms of this and other works by Curtis, which stimulated lively historiographical controversies in the early 1990s and again in 2005, raise fascinating issues about the political use of race and how historians study it. These issues are central to my own book, which therefore contributes to the historiographical controversy surrounding Curtis and the racialisation of the Irish. I attribute much of this controversy to both sides disputing it almost entirely within a post-colonial framework. This reflects the very understandable interest of scholars in the roots of current concerns surrounding race. However I argue that the racial classification of the Irish also requires contextualisation in the related but distinct project of racially narrating national identity, which is the subject of my book. The Races of Europe also offers a useful perspective by focusing on society’s preeminent race scientists rather than just the most publically prominent racial identity narratives.

      “Central issues in the critiques of Curtis by writers such as Peatling (2) and Sheridan Gilley (3) concerned whether 19th-century British representations of the Irish were racialised and whether the Irish experience of racialised oppression can be compared to that of ‘nonwhite groups’. Curtis supplies evidence for the ‘internal colonialism’ thesis of Michael Hechter (4) and others. This links the political and scientific domination of imperial European powers over weaker neighbouring peoples and over overseas colonial subjects. Curtis’s critics counter that prejudices towards the white Irish and people of colour were of an entirely different order of magnitude. Curtis strenuously denies that he sought moral equivalence between anti-Irish and anti-black racism but continues to defend his 1968 argument that the Irish were narrated in racial terms.(5)

      “I, like Curtis, would be one of the historians that Peatling accuses of drawing ‘substantive connections’ between the situations of the Irish and non-white subject peoples.(6) My research certainly found that less powerful European peoples like the Irish were cast as racial inferiors. In this sense, they can be placed on the same spectrum of oppression as non-whites in the 19th century, if by no means at the same point on that spectrum. As Curtis notes (7), British race anthropologists frequently linked the Irish with overseas colonialism by locating them on a continuum of what one of their number, John Beddoe, called ‘nigrescence’ (8), or dark pigmentation. Race scientists identified a population of inferior racial Iberians or ‘Black Kelts’, especially among the poor of Ireland’s west and gave them ‘Africanoid’ origins, via the Berbers of North Africa.(9) In eastern Europe, the scientifically dominant Germans and Swedes tended to connect Slavs and Finns to non-Europeans by a different route, attributing ‘Mongoloid’ racial connections to them.

      “Historiography itself creates another substantive connection between Ireland and former colonies outside Europe. In both cases, the defence of nationalist and post-colonialist or internal colonialist theses against ‘revisionism’ has long been a touchy and contested subject.(10) The debates about Curtis and the 19th-century discussion of Irish racial identity can both therefore be framed within a centuries-long controversy about the narration of Irish identity and who has the right to discuss it. G. K. Peatling thus legitimately accuses Curtis of reproducing the nationalist reasoning of a century ago (11), though this does not, as Peatling claims, invalidate Curtis’s arguments.(12)

      “By bracketing race accounts of the Irish with the classification of other politically and scientifically weaker European peoples, such as the Basques or Finns, research like mine may offer an escape from what Daniel Wilson calls the ‘competitive victim culture’ (13) of comparing the oppression of the Irish and of non-European subject peoples. My book emphasises that the project of investigating the national identity, national history and national character of Europeans was at least as important in race science as colonial anthropology was and had a significantly different character. Its primary aim, like that of much contemporary historiography and the emerging social sciences, was knowledge of one’s own nation. This meant that race scholars racialised themselves. Irish authors of various stripes engaged with race accounts to define Irish national identity (14, 15, 16). Even the Iberian racial origin theory drew in part on Irish myths of previous centuries which asserted Mediterranean racial origins in order to claim roots in ancient civilisation and kinship with Continental Catholic allies against England. This exemplifies the complexities of Irish identity narratives that Stewart’s review highlights.

      “Rival nations were certainly belittled, but unlike in the representation of non-white people, this was restrained by the need for transnational collaboration in a pan-European scientific project. Whereas race ideologues like Robert Knox (17) represented the Irish Celts as an alien Other therefore, against which to define the Anglo-Saxon British, other British writers, like Malcolm Arnold (18) and John Lubbock (19), saw them as an important strand of British racial identity.

      “The role of the Irish in influential Aryan race narratives can similarly be contextualised in both colonial and European terms. Some narratives bunched the Irish with the Basques as pitiful vestiges of native European primitives, conquered and driven to the social and geographical margins by the prehistoric invasion of superior Aryans. The parallels with colonial hierarchies are clear. However my research also found very European entanglements between class, race and national identity narratives. Anthropologists identified small dark pre-Aryan racial inferiors among both the English urban working class and the Irish. This partly answers Roy Foster’s criticism (20) of Curtis for emphasising racial over class tropes in anti-Irish prejudice (21).

      “Skin colour differences are therefore by no means a prerequisite for racism. The Irish certainly suffered racial discrimination. Michael de Nie argues (22) that Curtis’s critics do not recognise this because they project the current largely biological definition of race back onto the 19th century. Race then had the broader meaning that the term ‘ethnicity’ still retains. My focus on nations, which were then widely seen as bodies of both cultural and biological descent, underlines the flexibility of this early definition of race.”

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