Monday, March 15, 2010

The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Irish

St. Patrick's Day is almost here, and The History News Network has a post about the deeper meaning of that enjoyable, yet rather curious, cultural phenomenon of the St. Patrick's Day parade (see The Wearing of the Green).

According to Christopher Shannon, an Associate Professor of History at Christendom College:

Scholars of Irish American history who bemoan the reduction of Irish culture to the worst of nineteenth-century, stage-Irish stereotypes might do better to sit back and wonder at the simple, and almost miraculous fact of the continued existence of the St. Patrick’s Day parade—a private, ethnic religious holiday whose public celebration dwarves those of most official national state holidays.

Why the paucity of academic attention? Shannon's bottom line is that Irish-Americans have spoiled the fun for scholars of ethnicity by failing to conform to their preconceived ideas of what constitutes ethnic identity.

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