This blog recently turned 5 years old, and I'm surprised at how many of my opinions have changed on topics of skeptical interest. I'm certainly not the same person I was in 2008, and I hope to be a better person in 2018.
But some opinions don't change in that time. Case in point: I still find St. Patrick's Day celebrations to be one of the most obvious manifestations of proud racism and ignorance that we happily keep alive in North America.
I first made this argument in 2005: While in University, I saw many of my fellow classmates (many of whom were supposed to be forward thinking, liberal minded young students), drink their asses off, get in fights, and get thrown out of bars...in the afternoon...on a TUESDAY! I knew people who would call in "sick" to avoid working on Mar 17, and calling in (hungover) sick on March 18, and nobody batted an eye. "Oh well, what'cha gonna do? It's St. Patrick's Day!" was the attitude.
Right, because when there is a holiday celebrating Irish culture, heritage, and contribution to society, OF COURSE the thing to do is drink your ass off!
|We're Irish! This is what the Irish do, right? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT!?! YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME?!|
Let me be absolutely clear:
If you think you are celebrating St. Patrick's Day by drinking well past the point of sensibilty, and being an arrogant loud-mouthed prick, and that this is the one day of the year that it's okay because this is essentially Be-An-Irishman Day, fuck you.
You think this is acceptable behavior? Do you go around during Black History Month yelling "Dy-no-MITE!" moaning about your 'chilluns,' and stuffing your face with fried chicken? Does your Yom Kippur entail you sporting a Star of David arm band, while bagels and money fall out of your pockets?
Hell no. Because that's terribly unacceptable behavior, and it's not 1933.
Why then do you indulge in the worst stereotypes that insult one group of people, and not another? Why do you pick and choose which ethics and morals to indulge in as readily as you would with flavours of potato chips?
Chances are, you're not an openly racist prick. Chances are, you're just partying thoughtlessly because everyone around you parties thoughtlessly, and that's just how it's done. I'm asking you to take a moment to think about the group that is at the butt of your insulting revelry.
Do you need an excuse to get drunk? Why? What is it in your character that is so suppressed that you'll happily turn a blind eye while an entire ethnic and cultural group (many of your friends probably have strong Irish roots) gets humiliated?
Do you need an excuse to fight and be an obnoxious asshole? Don't. Just don't. It's the 21st century, so smarten the fuck up.
Do you need an excuse to spend a night drinking with your friends? Why? Just call them and spend time with them!
Don't kid yourself: Canada and the US are not filled with a tolerant people. A quick glance at the gross and overt bigotry faced *every single day* by Mexicans, blacks, Jews, First Nations, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, overweight, disabled, or the elderly will give you a clue as to how closed-minded we as a people are.
St. Patrick's Day not only brags about the worst stereotypes of Irish culture, but it even makes otherwise reasonably good people forget that it's unacceptable to portray an ethnic and cultural group in such a pitiful way.
It's also a day when the truly awful people see that they have license to behave the way they feel most comfortable: like bigoted shitholes. Go to a bar on St. Patrick's day and count the number of time some jock-bro yells out, "Homo", "Faggot", "Nigger" or any other piece of bile that flows as freely from their mouth as their vomit. The collateral damage of such vitriol and hate that comes on St. Patrick's day is staggering.
Want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day like a human being who was born after 1840? Hang out with your friends as you go see an Irish band play! I'll be seeing my fiance play in the Guelph Celtic Orchestra tonight.
There's nothing wrong with going to a bar with friends and having a good time. But just make certain you're not being a racist shit while you're doing it.
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