I ways back there was a strange debate on my Facebook post. I was backing a petition to help get the Cleveland Indian’s Chief Wahoo logo removed.
For those who don’t know, the Chief Wahoo logo is one of three main logos for the Cleveland Indians baseball team. It is a “red sambo” like figure. The kind that they stopped making in racist cartoons and comics years ago. He has crimson red skin, a ridiculous smile, a crooked nose, giant misshapen eyes and the kind of offensive face headdress that would just completely piss off Nightvale’s Cecil Palmer.
But I met some odd opposition in the form of a long time friend. It was strange. Despite a wave of my friends explaining why it was offensive, my old friend kept saying that it wasn’t. And even after posting links to articles about Native Americans that had come here to protest it or the incredibly racist depictions that the local papers did when the logo came out, he was 100% convinced there was no racism in play and that no one was offensive.
Clearly he was a bit brainwashed. But that’s the thing, we still have a lot of racism in our society and it’s mostly impart to the fact that it’s been around so long that we don’t even see it unless you actually look.
And Chief Wahoo isn’t the only thing where it’s like that. Take Saint Patrick’s Day, for example.
Every year I’m angry about it and my friends just either ignore me or tell me I’m being silly.
Let me just state my point clearly and briefly and then I’ll elaborate.
Saint Patrick’s Day is hella racist.
First, let’s look at some quick facts.
Saint Patrick’s Day was an American born holiday. It was created by the Irish people who came here to achieve a level of solidarity. To have something that was their own. That is clearly something no longer respected.
The colors are blue (not green) and a harp (not a shamrock). That’s clearly not respected.
And the celebration is a dry holiday. Meaning you respect the day by not drinking. That’s INCREDIBLY not respected.
So, where did the drinking come from?
In the 19th Century, more and more Irish were coming to America. And, like America tends to do, we panicked.
First was the “No Irish Need Apply”. Many jobs started running this in their adds. Discouraging the Irish from setting up in their area of town. This often lead to a lot of Irish living hard and, at many times, being homeless and jobless.
But it didn’t stop there.
The media had a field day with them. Creating a massive wave of stereotypes against them, alcoholism being the front runner.
Even Richard Nixon stated once that “…the Irish can’t drink. what you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”
That was our president stating that.
But not only that, magazine’s like Harper’s Weekly (a major publication that ran for about 50 years) would actually publish “scientific” articles detailing the “proven” reasons why the Irish were genetically inferior and why it is bad to have them around.
As for the green and the shamrock?
There was a weird legend that St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explaining the Holy Trinity. No proof exists of him ever doing it though. None.
And the green came mostly from the fact that in a lot of racist depictions of the Irish, they were likened to a mythical creature from their country. The leprechaun. That mixed with the weird shamrock legend, basically screams green to racists.
So, when you go out on Saint Patrick’s Day, and you done green and you get drunk in the street, remember, you’re not celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day, you’re celebrating a long running, racist tradition and supporting the attempts people over a hundred years ago made, of trying to keep the Irish down.
In fact, when you’re celebrating, you’re basically saying, “I’m not being a drunken idiot, I’m just pretending to be Irish.” Nice one.
And finally, FYI, Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish, he was English.
So yeah, that’s another piece of racism that just seems burned into our society. That we, in this case, quiet literally, done beer goggles for.
It’s sad that we can’t open our eyes to this. I know that even the people that defend the holiday can’t possibly not see that it’s racist. But we’re so stuck on defending tradition we wouldn’t possibly get rid of it.
So how do we get stop it? How do we clean up our act? I honestly have no idea. Have we degraded ourselves too far as a society?
Speak up in the comments.