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The Toxicity of Taxonomy- Stereotyping the Irish

February 24, 2017

Padraig Colman

One of my favorite quotations is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “All generalizations are dangerous including this one”.

The most dangerous generalizations are those about race.

Can’t you take a joke, you Irish thicko?

A very dear friend of mine keeps sending me e-mails with titles like “You’ve got to love the Irish”. These e-mails are compilations of “Irish jokes”.  My secondary response, after the initial “racist bitch” was: “Why have you got to love the Irish?” Her reply was: “Because they are so dumb”.

I patiently explained to her that, although the jokes did indeed illustrate elements of  stupidity, they were actually made-up stories and were not evidence of stupidity in the real world.

Call me literal-minded, pedantic if you must. “Political correctness gone mad” some will cry.

My very first (and very mild) comment on an Open Salon  post over three years ago caused the poster to call me…

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