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Apr 24

Us Irish are a bunch of racist scumbags

Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 in Philosophy, Something to think about

My neighbour passed by the window so fast she may as well have been a Banshee.  The doorbell rang and I hoped the sleeping taxi-dude didn’t notice but he probably did… he surfaced soon after (which is nice because there was drilling to do and I hate drilling through council-house walls, they put metal girders where they really can’t be predicted.  Nevertheless,  I’ve got to do something about that doorbell!).

What followed was a rant of epic proportions.  I like rants.  I like being the rantee, for while I’m useless and lazy about finding solutions to the strange problems of other people, I love the fact that I can be used as a buffer to cushion the emotions of the sufferer.  It’s all good by me, especially when there’s vodka involved, which in this case there was.

The rant in this case involved racism, at least I think it did.  I can say with at least three months experience behind me that my neighbour is a pretty decent woman, that I’ve gleaned a lot of spiritual and agricultural information out of her, that she’s one of those salt-of-the-earth types, but she has one problem…

…she has a very strong American accent, and in Ireland, that don’t go down too well because for the most part, we’re a bunch of shallow, narrow-minded, racist amnesiac scumbags.


The neighbour in question was hired to be a chef’s apprentice.  Being a woman of flushing age, she wanted a new challenge, something to add to her C.V., something she had a passion for.  This job was perfect.  The job in reality involved her cleaning toilets, taking on the responsibility of five people (four of which were Irish and decided to go home early) in the cleaning up of a dinner mess of sixty-five people… and the endurance of back-stabbing rumours made about her, whispering pointings and accusatory allegations, but she stuck with it for the sake of her daughter and her credit ratings until today, when she snapped.

She’s a single mother born in Ireland, returned after a long spell to find her feet, still burdened with an American accent so she’s screwed.  How’s that fair!??

A mass exodus of Irishmen to the U.S. decades ago led to a struggle for identification and pride.  That was years ago – past history… we  got over it.  Just as the Polish are now, they struggled through.  Now the Irish are revered in the United States. Got an Irish accent?  You get laid over there straight away!!!  But…

If you want to come back home?  You’re bunched.

American voices are met with scorn in Ireland.  Loud, brash, opinionated… these are the buzzwords I hear.  Therein lies my dichotomy.  I loaned my Dad’s book to this neighbour a while back and warned her of its content.  I’m the daughter of a USaphobe and while I admire my father’s gumption, I feel the need to stress that apples often roll far from the tree and that this fiction is merely ironic… a piss-take of Irish opinion.

The book still hasn’t been returned.  I’m wondering if she hasn’t burned it in an empowerment ritual to be honest.


Why am I defending my people to my people?  She’s Irish, she’s American, she’s just like my friend from Idaho that married an Irish bloke and tried to settle here with the same response… complete and total isolation.

That’s not fair.

I couldn’t think of anything else to say apart from…

“Dude, we should so join the revolution.  Another shot??”

Bring on the comments

  1. Baino says:

    Shame aint it. We don’t care much for them here either. I’m not sure why it is, perhaps George Bush screwed it, perhaps it’s that tourise in the Hawaiian shirt and sandals . . perhaps it’s their collective political arrogance. Have to say tho, my worm has turned. I know a shitload of decent American folk. Only one or two that rub me the wrong way. More shots, and Gaelige lessons are called for! God when you’re pissed we all sound the same anyway!

  2. I know an Irish man whose accent I often think sounds slightly American. I’m not sure what part of Ireland he’s from, but I remember that when I first met him I struggled to decided whether he was Irish or American.

    I’m being inane aren’t I? This hasn’t really got a lot to do with anything, I’ve just realised…

  3. K8 says:

    Top class comments so far lads!!! Delighted. Keep em’ coming.

  4. susan says:

    I concur. What a wonderful post!

    After half a life here my accent isn’t so strong anymore; and being a southerner it isn’t a strident sort of New Yorker thing either. But I learned quickly to say very few words, and say them very quietly, and I avoid like plague any Americanisms like ‘diapers’ or ‘elevator’. But the minute I do open my mouth when we’re out somewhere, I’m sure to be ridiculed or stared at or I get a sarcastic ‘top o’ the morning to ye’ or told to go home. It’s mostly young people.

    Half a life gone, and now I want to go back to West Virginia where people don’t care how the hell I talk.

    I suppose the good thing in it, is that as a mother of special needs kids, I understand how they feel when they’re picked on and feeling left out and it’s not their fault. But I don’t think I want them growing up here anymore.

  5. K8 says:

    Yet we’ve embraced the American culture.

    I don’t get it at all.

  6. susan says:

    K8, I’ll say: I spoke to a customer service rep a few weeks back who had a true-blue Chicago accent; I finally had to ask. He said he was from Naas but had never yet been to America, he “watched too much TV”. He said he wanted to go there; I said they’ll love him. Didn’t mention how damn cold it gets LOL. Maybe he’ll go.

  7. K8 says:

    I get mistaken for a Canadian a lot. Maybe it’s for the same reason?

  8. Us Canadians hate being mistaken for Americans. We have many, many accents throughout our vast country. I live on the west coast. The accents get thicker as you head up country, eh? People love to throw eh, in when they are trying to sound Canadian but they don’t say it right.
    I think Irish accents are dead sexy.

  9. I had one heck of a hard time in ’06, when I visited for the first time. In ’08 I knew a myriad of idioms and a wee bit of the different and absolutely lovely accents, so I blended in far easier. It is a damn shame that people are ridiculed because of their accents. I’m ridiculed in the Northern states, because I’m from the south. Of course, some of that may be because of my name. :)

    I met a bloke the other day in city centre that was from Frankfurt, Germany. A few days before that I met a family from Gentilly, France. Maybe it’s just me, but I do everything I can to learn from people that may have a different point of view.

  10. Nick says:

    That sort of prejudice is totally inexcusable and sick. I don’t notice much anti-American prejudice up here, though maybe I haven’t met enough Americans. It only goes to show that despite the south’s cosmopolitan veneer, and despite the treatment of the Irish diaspora in many countries, the Irish themselves can be just as bigoted and insular as any other nation.

    By a strange coincidence, I’ve just posted on bullying, which of course is what this anti-American stuff boils down to.

  11. Michael says:

    Caution: The following post may contain Americanisms and American opinions. You’ve been warned. ;=)

    You’ve got to be kidding me? I didn’t know you people were so prejudice against a persons American accent. It really is a shame. I’m an American of Irish decent. I’m proud of that fact. (Notice I didn’t say Irish-American.) The Irish and an Irish accent are accepted with open arms here. The current Boston and New York accents were strongly influenced by so many Irish settling there.

    When my ancestors first came to this country they were treated as less than human for the most part. They struggled to make a better life for themselves here and succeeded. I find it very disappointing that their descendants can visit the place of their ancestor’s birth with the possibility of being treated the same way.

    I really hope you people don’t pull that “Top of the morning” crap on gullible Americans. What movies have you been watching. Oh, that’s right American movies.

    This is just a short rant because I’m thinking most Irish don’t have this problem. It’s seems people in the minority like to be the squeaky wheel. Prejudice of any kind is usually based on fear and ignorance.

  12. Maxi Cane says:

    Yep, herself is Canadian but is often mistaken for American and the response is nearly never positive.

  13. K8 says:

    @Ms Barbara Jane- I saw Fargo! :) I love the way the accent is far subtler from what I’ve heard.. but doesn’t really have the French accent tinge that you might expect.

    @Jimmy- Open mindedness and a thirst for new culture seem to be gifts most Irishers were born without. We’ve gotten all territorial all of a sudden for no reason.

    @Nick- I don’t understand the belligerence, we’re supposed to be the place of a thousand welcomes. If only they knew.

    @Michael- Yep, it’s true, ashamedly enough. I don’t know exactly what percentage of Irish people feel this way, but I get more and more unpleasant surprises and hear shameful stories like my neighbour’s all the time. I also have to admit to telling someone from the U.S. that I owned a pet leprechaun, once, but in my defence I was pretty drunk at the time and almost believed myself.

    @Maxi- Lucky she has the Maxmeister to stick up for her and tell them what to do with their respective ma’s. That’s a huge bonus.

  14. Jo says:

    Our complete embracing of all American culture is the thing that makes it all the most ironic, I think.

    There’s a lot people don’t know or understand about the States, too – it’sa big place!

    There are so many limited, thick, cultureless people here too, though, presumably they’re are everywhere!

  15. robert says:

    I was asked by a by a tourist for directions one day who finished off his request with the words “I’m from Canada by the way”

    I replied that I gathered as much by the maple leaf pin on his baseball hat!

    Lovely people they were, turned out they live in the same town as my cousins.

  16. NaRocRoc says:

    Ya know the way Canadians staple/stitch/tattoo maple leafs on anything they have just to show they’re not American? I feel obliged to then ask them what part of America they’re from. Winds them up no end!

  17. Ian says:


    Is there such a thing as an American accent? The difference between Boston and Texas is probably as big as the difference between Australia and South Africa and California probably sounds closer to British Columbia than to Georgia.

  18. K8 says:

    @Jo- ‘Course they’re everywhere… it’s weird that they can be found in the staff rotas of popular Irish tourist attractions though. The consensus is ‘Yeah! We’ll take your money, but if you want a job here we’ll make your life a misery!’ It’s bizarre.

    @Robert- Much like going to France and stressing the fact that you’re Irish, not British. Guaranteed to get you a freebie, that is.

    @NaRocRoc- Yeah but they do that to us too! That’s Bono’s fault I reckon.

    @Ian- There sure is! You can hear it in the voices of radio DJs trying to be cool, and in teenaged kids back-chatting to their teachers. The accent in all its different types and versions is ‘cool’ but hated at the same time! Confusing or what?

  19. Holemaster says:

    I’ve been to the US a few times over the years and found them in general to be friendly and welcoming. And when they say they’ll do something, they will actually do it.

    Like Jo said too, it’s a huge place with a lot of differences but they really do pull together as one. That is to be admired.

  20. Jim C says:

    Comments have been much to mild. I have to stir pot and see if I can’t get a proper tempest going.

    We could have solved the accent issue back in the 1940’s. If we had not worked together, today they might all be German accents that you would hearing.

  21. RhodesTer says:

    I bought 72 copies of your dad’s book and built a little fort out of them to defend against Irish tourists.

    It’s quite effective.

  22. Warrior says:

    I skipped the comments. Yes we Irish are racist in the whole. Who the hell isn’t. I am reminded of a Northen Irish protestant woman in Australia. She went there age 16 as the troubles broke out. She told me ‘Racism doesn’t work on and Individual basis.’ I found out since it’s not true. It does work on the individual level. I wouldn’t worry about anti americanism in Ireland. That is a relatively new phenomenon. I remember the late 1980’s early 1990’s, if you had emigrated you were the dogs family jewels, and sod the accent. The new phenomenon is definitely anti Bush Cheney and conservative politics that basically made this economic crisis happen. If I am pissed off at the English for never acknowledging the pain they were responsible for in Ireland, it’s not racism, it’s just anger. But If I think ALL english are anti-Irish, then I am racist. I work with a black guy who grew up in Nice. Every day there are 4 or 5 or maybe more, comments about the size of his dick, the colour of his skin. This is racist and he laughs it off. But I know it’s a fake laugh. What other choice does he have. Is your neighbour responsible for what’s happening in Irak? Well if she voted for Bush second time around yes! If no, then she better speak up and claim her side of the fence. Still, it’s political, but not racist. Mind you, you had a post a while ago about a traveller kid, or a knacker as most of your readers prefer to call him….
    I admire you a lot K8. I hope some day we get to drink a pint together and talk politics, racism and parenting. You are one cool sexy mama.

  23. Michael says:

    As you all know the USA is known as “the great melting pot”. We for the most part embrace the best of other cultures. Here where I live in the northeast we have a large Italian, Irish and German influence in our own local culture and are the better for it.

    I forget that in the old European countries that you still have protectionist attitudes toward “outside influences” and are afraid of change.

    How is that for stirring the pot?

  24. Michael says:

    One quick note. I never voted for either Bush not once, not ever. That is my political viewpoint. If this is about politics and not racism I can see your point. We all didn’t vote for “W” Bush. It just may seem that way.

    Like Warrior I work with a black man that politely puts up with the same comments ,but not from me. I hate racism in any form.

  25. Tom says:

    I believe it might be the case of – let he who is without sin cast the first racist remark. We probably all have a touch of racism in us, no matter what colour or race that we are born into, it is not taking it to the extreme that is important.

  26. K8 says:

    @Holemaster- That is to be admired. Sincerely. I think it’s a crying shame that the Irish don’t get into the same group mentality for mutual support. The Irish are crap with emotions.

    @JimC- The Germans were stupid. They should’ve introduced themselves slowly and brainwashed us like the American culture did!
    I do dislike the German accent intensely though, it’s so glottal. I’m eternally thankful for the boyz.

    @Rhodester- Ha! Mind the termites…

    @Warrior- Is that a tongue-in-cheek compliment? Heheh… I sincerely would love to have a pint with you too someday! I should probably point out that yes, I do indeed club myself in with this bunch of racist scumbags I’ve named… but travellers are different. I’ve never met an American who tried to hawk illegally begotten stuffs at my door only to become volatile and belligerent when I refuse. Nor have they ever stolen my dog. Nor have they moved caravan-loads of their families into my front garden and charged me several hundred euros to move. It’s different. Entirely different!

    @Michael- You’re so right… Ireland is that close to ethnic cleansing it’s not even funny.

  27. Michael says:

    I never responded to your pet leprechaun story. If someone from any country, let alone the US, ever believed you had one as a pet then they deserve to have the wool pulled over their eyes. I mean you have to have a little fun once in a while or what’s the sense in gettin’ drunk ;=)

  28. warrior says:

    YO Mike what’s with the leprechaun bashing? Don’t be such a racist. We have lots of the little feckers running around ruining the country. We bloody elected them

  29. K8 says:

    @Tom- Sorry you got trapped! Thanks for commenting, it’s a good point you make. Not passing the attitude onto the next generation would be pretty sweet, too.

  30. B says:

    The community aspect of Irish society was always built around a hate for something or another.
    Lord if my dad didn’t exist, lord knows what the rest of the parish would be able to unite in hate for… when he got leukemia a few years back absolutely everyone in the locality fell out with each other cos they had to start being friendly to him.

    Hate for eastern Europeans with the jobs no one else was willing to do a year ago is the current one I’d say.

  31. unstranger says:

    Very good stuff K8 and an unsolvable condition too. Saints and scholars my bollix!

  32. veve says:

    i dont know that many irish, but the ones that i have met dont seem any more racist than other europeans. however, irish americans are a whole other story. ive met quite a few irish americans who have been quite racist. i dont know if its because theres a lot of irish americans in america or because they just have a racist attitude. or maybe british americans hide it better. ive also noticed that there are quite a few irish-british who are racist. there are a lot of racist problems in liverpool where a lot of the people have irish origins.

  33. […] I may have mentioned my neighbour once or twice before… since we moved here eight months ago, she’s been a huge part of this house.  Every now and then she’d bring a six-pack by and we’d talk nonsense until silly o’clock.  Other times she’d bring something sparkly or jingly for Laughingboy to play with, or a pair of fake wings for Puppychild.  We’d shirk housework together in the front garden under the sun and trapse through cowpats with our dogs, she gave me books on family herbal medicine, I gave her my ear whenever she had a gripe, which happened quite often. […]

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