Friday, March 17, 2017

The Irish Diaspora, Donald Trump, and Race Matters: We. Must. Talk. About. Race.

Travis Gettys, "'Irish Slaves': Historian Destroys Racist Myth Conservatives Love to Share on Facebook":

The myth [that there were Irish slaves in the new world] essentially equates indentured or penal servitude with racialized perpetual hereditary chattel slavery, [Limerick historian Liam] Hogan said. 
Racists claim the Irish slave trade began in 1612 and was not abolished until 1839, and they insist "white slavery" has been covered up by "politically correct" historians. 
"The various memes make many claims including (but not limited to) the following: that 'Irish slaves' were treated far worse than black slaves, that there were more 'Irish slaves' than black slaves, that 'Irish slaves' were worth less than black slaves, that enslaved Irish women were forced to breed with enslaved African men and that the Irish were slaves for much longer than black slaves," Hogan said. 
"This is then invariably followed up by overtly racist statements," he added. "For example, 'Yet, when is the last time you heard an Irishman bitching and moaning about how the world owes them a living?'" 
Hogan hasn't isolated the myth’s first appearance on social media, but it's been a common trope on the white supremacist website Stormfront since at least 2003 and has been trotted out as an argument against reparations for slavery and to attack the Black Lives Matter movement. 
He pointed to a 2014 post on Alex Jones' Infowars website that attacked both Black Lives Matter and reparations by promoting several falsehoods about "Irish slavery."

Charles Pierce, "Why Irish Immigranats Illustrate American Redemption": 

There are a lot of children of the Irish diaspora setting cruel and stupid policies for this administration, which cannot tell a Nigerian poet from an Irish one. There's Mulvaney, of course, but there's also Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, and there's Steve Bannon, senior White House counselor and sole heir to the House Harkonnen. All of them now are combining to make arguments that echo through the history of their people back to 1847. I wonder how many Mulvaneys, Ryans, and Bannons died belowdecks in the coffin ships?

As Charles Pierce says, these descendants of Irish immigrants who came to the shores of the United States in the 19th century seeking refuge from poverty, hunger, and oppression are now behaving, in their defense of the draconian attack-the-poor policies of Trump's administration, precisely the way the English behaved towards the Irish in the period of the Great Hunger. One hangs one's head in shame for them, as they so egregiously betray the experiences and memories of their immigrant ancestors.

Jeff Guo, "President Trump Won Big in These Places. Now He Wants to Eliminate 3 Agencies Dedicated to Helping Them": Guo focuses in particular on Appalachia, a heavily white region of the nation, historically impoverished, many of whose people have roots tracing back to Northern Ireland. The unavoidable question that makes many Americans so uncomfortable to ask: what causes white people in impoverished regions to vote — over and over again — against their economic self-interest, as they elect to office people whose avowed intent is to continue exploiting those very same white people and creating misery for them?

We. must. talk. about. race.

Steve Mufson and Tracy Jan, "If You're a Poor Person in America, Trump's Budget Is Not for You":

If you’re a poor person in America, President Trump’s budget proposal is not for you. 
Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.

Lance Williams, "White Nationalist Richard Spencer Gets His Money From Louisiana Cotton Fields—and the US Government": 

White people built America, insists Spencer, who has benefited from $2 million in farm subsidies. Two weeks after the presidential election, white nationalist Richard Spencer held forth on a cable news show about how white people built America. 'White people ultimately don't need other races in order to succeed,' he told the audience of the black-oriented program, NewsOne Now. . . . 
Spencer, along with his mother and sister, are absentee landlords of 5,200 acres of cotton and corn fields in an impoverished, largely African American region of Louisiana, according to records examined by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. The farms, controlled by multiple family-owned businesses, are worth millions: A 1,600-acre parcel sold for $4.3 million in 2012. 
The Spencer family's farms are also subsidized by the federal government. From 2008 through 2015, the Spencers received $2 million in US farm subsidy payments, according to federal data.

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