The Story We Don’t Talk About: On Irishness, Immigration, and Race

By Maeve Higgins

Picture from the Literary Hub – 

In January of 2014, a girl who had left from Cobh in Ireland (formerly known as Queenstown) journeyed across the Atlantic, and skipped rosy-cheeked off an airplane at John F. Kennedy Airport to start her new life. That was me, compensating for my indoor ghost face with too much blush in a shade aspirationally entitled “orgasm.” In January of 1892, a girl who had left from Queenstown (now known as Cobh) skipped rosy-cheeked off a boat at Ellis Island to start her new life. That was Annie Moore, flushed with embarrassment at the unexpected fuss being made over her by the officials on the island. She was the first immigrant through the new processing center that opened its doors on January 1 of that year.

Maeve Higgins’s article comes at a time (at least in Canada) where ‘whiteness’ is seen as a collective condition wherein everyone ‘white’ apparently shares a common history and culture – not only with other ‘white’ Canadians, but with ‘the old country’.  It’s an important critique on not only what it means to call one’s self Irish-American (or Canadian) and the reality of a homeland that has dramatically changed from the idyllic vision we often have in our minds of, in this case, the hometown in Ireland.

Read Maeve Higgins’s provocative article here.

2 Replies to “The Story We Don’t Talk About: On Irishness, Immigration, and Race”

  1. I believe that were all the “white people” to suddenly vanish from the earth, the world would change very little. That is not to justify the actions of history. It simply points out that the evils of this world are not based on skin colour. The Irish in Canada were no more privileged than the oppressed in other parts of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree, and it’s important to not lump people and cultures together based solely on skin colour. My Irish ancestors were not privileged by any stretch, experiencing famine, discrimination and racism by the English and than again in Canada and the US. It’s a human reality unfortunately. You are right, evil deeds have and will continue to cross all societies and cultures.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s