Who’s “We”?

If you’re familiar with American history, you have to savor the irony of an Irish-American Catholic identifying with those who are “losing their country.” In the 19th century the Irish weren’t exactly “we.”

Forgive the ugly stuff, but I think it’s good to know where we’ve been sometime.

San Francisco : White & Bauer, [between 1860 and 1869]

San Francisco : White & Bauer, between 1860 and 1869

Thomas Nast, 1876

Thomas Nast, 1876

Thomas Nast, 1882

Thomas Nast, 1882

11 thoughts on “Who’s “We”?

  1. Our country has a wonderful history of exploiting cheap labor. Then we figured out we could improve our bottom line by exploiting labor in third world countries and sent many of our manufacturing jobs overseas, then we started sending service industry jobs overseas – (call centers, software development etc). I’ve heard that U.S. domestic airlines are sending planes to South America for major maintenance. What will they think of outsourcing offshore next?

  2. I like how the cartoonist had to label the top cartoon with 1, 2 and 3, apparently to show the proper steps to eating the competition; how the “white” guy in the middle cartoon is about 100 times uglier (because hate-contorted) than the stereotypical “black” guy; and how the bottom cartoon, near as I can tell, kinda seems to have its sh*t together (and also looks like an illustration from Dickens).

    I’ll always remind the occasional Catholic racist I meet that the KKK used to go after Catholics the same as black people. The most obnoxious bigot of my current acquaintance is a woman of 100 percent German ancestry… you know, that country we had to fight two World Wars against in the 20th Century. I like to remind her of that too.

  3. Ah, yes, No Irish Need Apply. Still, I suppose it’s not as bad as this bit by Bill O’Reilly from October 2005:

    CALLER: [It’s] because of slavery. If you take someone’s language, someone’s history, and someone’s culture, and then you just release them out into the world, you think they’re going to be successful as a people?

    O’REILLY: All right. But let me counter that, [caller], and you can comment on my comment. That’s the prevailing wisdom in a lot of the precincts, is that because blacks were in slavery in the United States, they were never able to develop an infrastructure of education and culture to compete with the white majority. That is the prevailing wisdom in lots and lots of places. Let me submit this to you, and then you can comment on it.

    My people came from County Cavan in Ireland. All right? And the British Crown marched in there with their henchman, Oliver Cromwell, and they seized all of my ancestors’ lands, everything. And they threw them into slavery, pretty much indentured servitude on the land. And then the land collapsed, all right? And everybody was starving in Ireland. They had to leave the country, just as Africans had to leave — African-Americans had to leave Africa and come over on a boat and try to make in the New World with nothing. Nothing. And succeeded, succeeded. As did Italians, as did — and I’ll submit to you, African-Americans are succeeding as well. So all of these things can be overcome I think, [caller]. Go ahead.

    Club Gitmo is a lovely resort, and the slave trade was one big luxury cruise.

  4. These are unfortunately needed reminders about our own origins. The Irish were looked on as uncultivated white trash, and white Americans though Chinese and Japanese were two foreign to assimilate.

  5. My Uncle, generally a good guy every time, a few Thanksgivings ago, went on a rant about brown people, and how whites will soon be the minority in this country. I asked him what the big deal was? This country is meant to be ruled by the majority. He starte some FOX rant, and I cut him off byreminding him that he was a Russian-born US citizen, and that we were looked upon, in prior years, as social lepers. And how ever immigration group has taken its place as “nigger’s.”
    Now, he seems cowed to speak to me. I think he knew he was wrong. If onlyh others did…

  6. The “white” guy in the middle cartoon is Irish; the Irish were portrayed as simian and ugly(sometimes with tails) and always with the hat and the boots. Also, note the two bottom cartoons are both by Thomas Nast himself.

  7. It’s also worth noting that Buchannan has been working, sometimes directly, for the same elite Republicans who’ve been actively working to shrink the economic pie for the working class, and using that insecurity to fuel their divisive racist politics in aid of their ‘class warfare’. If white, working class Americans feel like something’s been taken away from them, it’s because Buchannan and his friends have been taking it.

  8. Well being of Cuban descent I was fortunate enough to be able to pass myself off as a Italian while growing up in New York in the 50’s and 60’s. So when schoolmates told me I wasn’t allowed to swim in the East river because I’d leave rings around the piers I wasn’t upset at all.. In those days it was a higher rung on the social ladder to be a Greaseball than a Spic. I think that that stigma of social echelon still exists today but remains unspoken except for guys like Buchanan who use terms like “we” to articulate that social echelon.

    Who’s “we”?…anybody who we perceive to be on the same step of the social ladder as us.

  9. Off topic…but I can’t contain myself….Bernie’s in the big house! It does my heart good to know that Bernie is going to be doing Bubba alerts as the Director of his own Anal Security.

  10. I can’t make out the caption underneath the middle cartoon… the “Irishman’s” hat threw me; it looks kind of like a Confederate soldier’s cap. Oops… Rorschach!

    I can see now that the bottom cartoon figures are “Fritz” (on the right) and “Pat” on the left. I guess Thomas Nast was an Englishman?

Comments are closed.