Friday, January 25, 2013

the Irish are the niggers of Europe

"Your music should be abou' where you're from an' the sort o' people yeh come from.—Say it once, say it loud, I'm black an' I'm proud ...—The Irish are the niggers of Europe, lads." —Roddy Doyle, The Commitments

There are claims on the internet that Malcolm X said, "The Irish are the blacks of Europe!" or "The Irish are the blackest of the Europeans." I haven't been able to verify that—he talks about the Irish in "The Bullet or the Ballot", but there, he's talking about the Irish genetic connection to the Moors via Spain.

But if you know anything about the history of Ireland, you know the analogy's valid. The last large group of "white" people to be sold before European slavers confined their trade to Africa were the Irish. As many as 130,000 were sold in the 1600s.

"White" is in quotes in the previous paragraph because the first "white" people show up in the historical record around 1580. When English traders sold Irish slaves, they did think of them as another race, but their meaning for "race" was more like "tribe", a reference to culture primarily.

This post was inspired by the astonishing stupidity exhibited at why tone doesn’t matter – the white tears burden « Requires Only That You Hate. Acrackedmoon has been nominated for best fan writer, but I think she should be up for one of the fiction prizes, because she has to be doing her shtick purely for the lulz, to see how many social justice warriors she can get to agree with her.