AN IRISH-AMERICAN editor has said he is ashamed of his heritage because Irish people are bigoted.
Brian J. Laline, editor of silive.com - a publication based on Staten Island, New York - writes: "I know nothing about my Irish heritage. I never wanted to know."
He claims that Irish people, historically were a narrow-minded people and were racist towards black and hispanic people.
"The reason was pretty simple, and many Irishmen and women will blast me as narrow-minded. But the Irish people in the neighborhood where I grew up - Ocean Breeze - were pretty narrow-minded, too.
"They were bigots. And sadly, that included people in my own family.
"But if you were Hispanic or black? Bigotry back then seemed an adult-only thing and centered on the color of your skin and your heritage. Didn’t much matter if you were black or brown, if you were Chinese, Korean or Italian. If you were Irish, it seemed all-of-the-above were subject to your racial/ethnic barbs.
"That wasn’t so comforting. At least for me.
"In my house, my dad was the less-than-accepting one. He was a NYPD cop. My mom was much gentler, accepting of everyone. My dad, on the other hand, was not so accepting. In church one Sunday, the priest’s homily focused on racial equality. Dad got up and walked out.
"I remember my dad talking with a cop friend, who offered this theory on finding stolen cars: 'You can always tell if a [black man] stole it,' he told us, 'You can smell them.' Or when my dad discovered I was 'going steady' - remember, I was a teen and it was the ‘60s – with an Italian girl. 'You can date her,' he told me. 'But don’t ever think of marriage.'
"If this is what it means to be Irish, I thought to myself back then, I want no part of it. I never asked about my heritage, and I’d tune out any family conversation about it. When people asked my nationality, I’d tell them, 'I’m American'."
Laline was writing in response to the news that the LGBTQ community were prevented from marching in the St. Patrick’s Parade on Station Island.