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Thread: Irish Stereotypes From American View

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Travel_Writer's Avatar
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    Smile Irish Stereotypes From American View

    Hi there,
    I am doing an article on stereotypes and need help from the American point of view.

    How to the Americans view the Irish?

    What are the usual stereotypes that Americans have on the Irish?

    Views and stereotypes of Ireland as a country, place etc

    Just need the honest opinions and stereotypes only please

    Thanks in advance

    Geraldine

  2. #2
    Often ignored by muses Cabinscribe's Avatar
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    My grandparents came from Ireland in the 1880s or so.

    In my experience, America, in general, perceives the Irish as fighters and drinkers, and as talented storytellers and musicians.

    Somehow, I married a man whose parents were in England. We tease each other about our heritage; each one of us has kidded with the other about our ethnic stereotypes.

    For example, before we were married, we rented an apartment, and I wrote the check for our security deposit. A year later, the landlord sent a 1099 form reflecting the interest I had accrued on the deposit, so I could report it on my income tax return. However, they sent it to my husband, in his name.

    I opened the envelope, making snide remarks about sexism; how they sent it to him because he's a man, etc., and he said,

    "No honey, they saw our last names, saw that you were Irish, and figured, she's probably drunk and will just lose it, so we had better send it to him."

    To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make. - Truman Capote



  3. #3
    Inappropriate Charmer Saanen's Avatar
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    Drinkers and fighters, but in a scrappy, positive way. In the city where I used to live (southern U.S.), there's a Catholic high school whose football team is known as the "Fighting Irish," which I've heard in other places too. Also, policemen have traditionally been seen as Irish here, although I think that stereotype has faded in the last several decades.

    People in the U.S. are generally very proud of our various heritages, and a big percentage of people on the east coast are direct descendents from Irish immigrants. I can't recall ever hearing a really negative stereotype about the Irish.

  4. #4
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    Are you primarily interested in stereotypes of the Irish today, or also of the past?

    The stereotype of the typical Irishman in the 1800s was not a very good one.



  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Travel_Writer's Avatar
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    Smile

    Thanks to all of you who have posted so far this is exactly what I am looking for. I am interested in Irish stereotypes of the present and past

    Great Stuff

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Nuoddo's Avatar
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    Irish Stereotypes

    I would say the most common is that Irish are drinkers. This stereotype has actually been somewhat substantiated by my two Irish friends (who recently moved to the UK) who could absolutely drink me under the table...but then, I'm just a lightweight chick and they've also got a decade of experience on me...

    Other common associations are that all Irish people love St. Patrick's Day....that they believe in Leprecauns and pots of gold and four-leaf clovers....probably because of the American "Lucky Charms" commercials.

    There is the conception that all Irish people hate Scottish people. I don't know if that's true or not, but I don't like any all-encompassing assumptions. I am an American mutt myself--English, Irish, Scottish, Danish, Polish, French, and German (yes, I'm very white)--and sometimes I will joke that my Scottish and Irish blood mean that, theoretically, I should be kicking my own a**. Maybe that's why I'm indecisive?

    I've also heard that some Americans think Irish men aren't considered that attractive? I'm not sure the best way to say that... but there is the saying "As ugly as a red-headed step-child"...Personally, I haven't found that to be true, but I have heard some women say that Irishmen with black hair and blue eyes are attractive (tall, dark, and handsome) but men with red hair and freckles are "homely". And, I hope I'm not getting too raunchy here, but I've heard some girlfriends make comments about Irish men being well-endowed. I wouldn't know myself.

    My brother-in-law is 100% Irish, so all four of my little nieces are georgeous red-heads. They have beautiful white skin without a freckle....often times people will come up to them and comment on their skin, as if they expect them to have a face full of freckles. People also seem to assume that they will burn easily...but they don't actually.

    Others have mentioned in this thread the "brawler" stereotype. I've heard this, too. Redheads and Irish people are stereotyped by some as hot-tempered, quick-tempered...

    I can't think of anything else at the moment. Hope this is along the lines of what you were looking for....
    nuoddo

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  7. #7
    Midnight Reading MidnightMuse's Avatar
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    My experience of Irish stereotypes are that of people who take life by the horns, wrestle it to the ground, then go drinking and tell tall tales of the deed.

    Hard drinking, hard fighting, gusto-getting people who are loyal to a fault and very genuine.

  8. #8
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    From reading Thoreau and other writings of the 1800s, I get the feeling that "Irishman" was almost a synonym at that time for someone who drank too much; was a bit shiftless and undependable; and, on the whole, never did too well (since many of them were poor at the time).

    Today, some stereotypes (fairly or unfairly) are that the Irish do drink a lot (and are proud of it); are a bit rowdy but also good-natured; are quick to fight but quick to forgive (at least another Irishman); that they have a close-knit family and community; have an artistic temperament; and like to talk and wax poetic ("the gift of Blarney").
    Last edited by alleycat; 07-19-2006 at 03:18 AM.



  9. #9
    Scribe extraordinaire JudiB's Avatar
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    Hey - let's not forget Irishmen and their sense of humor. My father was from Ireland (Ards Peninsula) so I'm probably giving you info based on him, rather than stereotypes. He was an avid - and loooong - storyteller. He loved to make people laugh. And BTW, he did not like St. Patrick's Day, but he was from Northern Ireland and Protestant.

    Judi

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Aesposito's Avatar
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    Like everyone else said (scrappy fighters and hard drinkers)...plus there have always traditionally been lots of Irish cops and firefighters in America. Not so much now, although there are still plenty in the bigger cities.

    As for American perceptions of Ireland, lots of green, fairies and shamrocks, young men in caps and vests, and lilting accents....pretty much what we see on Masterpiece Theater, LOL....

    Audrey

  11. #11
    Robert Toy
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    This is not a stereotype but a fact at least here in Europe, where the Irish constantly use the words f**k, f**king, which have an entirely different context than in the US. In the US where we would use the phase “You’ve got to be kidding me? Or “No way!” would be sprinkled with the f word if spoken by someone from Ireland. This goes for both sexes and nobody even pays the slightest bit of attention to its use.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW littlewriter's Avatar
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    hi, i am not american but i agree with the others.

    when i was in america last year, alot of the people i met assumed i was a heavy drinker, assumed i smoke alot, assumed i swear too much and assumed i wasn't the sharpest tool in the box. Alot of people also thought we basicly had bomb shelters in our back yards due to the "troubles". that one made me laugh.

    by the way, i only swear when i am in a bad mood or when i stubb my toe, and i can't hold my drink either! and i hope i'm not stupid!
    "How can I believe in God," asked Woody Allen, "when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?"

  13. #13
    I have plans... C.bronco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saanen
    Drinkers and fighters, but in a scrappy, positive way. In the city where I used to live (southern U.S.), there's a Catholic high school whose football team is known as the "Fighting Irish," which I've heard in other places too. Also, policemen have traditionally been seen as Irish here, although I think that stereotype has faded in the last several decades.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saanen

    People in the U.S. are generally very proud of our various heritages, and a big percentage of people on the east coast are direct descendents from Irish immigrants. I can't recall ever hearing a really negative stereotype about the Irish.

    "The Fighting Irish" -University of Notre Dame, IN



    "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  14. #14
    Seanachie johnnysannie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Toy
    This is not a stereotype but a fact at least here in Europe, where the Irish constantly use the words f**k, f**king, which have an entirely different context than in the US. In the US where we would use the phase “You’ve got to be kidding me? Or “No way!” would be sprinkled with the f word if spoken by someone from Ireland. This goes for both sexes and nobody even pays the slightest bit of attention to its use.
    This is also true among some Americans of Irish heritage (like myself). I would and do say "You've got to be f**cking me" instead of "kidding" and the f-word is one I've long known.

    Some of the stereotypes I have encountered as someone with a partial Irish heritage include the notion that all Irish are Catholic (which I am but all aren't), that we have huge families (which I don't), that we don't practice birth control, that we're all drunks, that all Irish are brawlers, and that Irish make poor housekeepers!
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  15. #15
    I want to write what I want to write Kentuk's Avatar
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    Heritage
    I had no idea I was about seventy percent Irish until I traced the ancestors. Was always told about the Scots, English, German and Welsh. The last wasn't just more Irish. The hiding of the truth was a sort of multigenerational thing.
    We have no Catholics in any branch of our family in living memory. As near as I can tell they all did a quick conversion on getting to America.
    In the past anti Irish bias was very strong. Much of it was for the same reason Californians despise newly arrived Mexicans. The Irish were dirt poor, had little education and had been 'land bound' meaning they couldn't afford to leave the potato plot.

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