The Fighting Irish
There is talk about getting rid of the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” mascot.
As an American of Irish descent and a Catholic, I would not support this move. In fact, I think it is outrageous. It makes me angry.
Yes, many Irish immigrants were forced into indentured servitude.
Yes, Irish immigrants were compared to “apes” and it was clear that no “woman of good standing” would ever consider marrying one of them.
Yes, the Irish were thought to be drunks who impregnated women and left them without financial support.
Yes, they said that our Catholic faith was “sick and unAmerican.”
Yes, the Irish were known to be prone to violence and often burnt down the buildings of their employers.
Yes, the elites in this country hated the Irish and viewed them as second- or third-class citizens.
No, the Irish could not get loans from traditional banks or get jobs with “respectable firms.”
But guess what!
The Irish ignored this bigotry and understood that while individuals are racist, our system of government is not.
They started their own banks, elected their best to public office, built great churches, and made sure that their children had a quality education.
They fought, they worked, and they spoke out against elements of their culture who were stuck to their agrarian and often lawless ways. The majority did not excuse lawlessness and disassociated themselves with criminal and violent elements of their own culture.
Their goal was assimilation, and they would not allow the barriers created by the elites to hold them back. They would break down these barriers not through changing the system, but by using it to achieve upward mobility.
By 1960, an Irish Catholic was elected President of the United States and Irish Americans were the most upwardly mobile class of people in the United States. In fact, they surpassed their former “oppressors” in average annual income and savings.
And no, we don’t want to get rid of the Notre Dame mascot and we don’t care that on March 17 of every year people celebrate what they think is our national holiday by getting drunk and wearing T-shirts that feature all types of Irish stereotypes, and we don’t need or want “reparations” either.
My Irish ancestors were fighters and they were winners. The fact that they overcame prejudice is a part of history. They did it the hard way and the right way. They did it by fighting and working and never giving up.
This American of Irish descent is not a victim and does not blame the United States of America for the past actions of bigots and I love “the Fighting Irish.”