‘St. Pat’s Drinking Team’: Taking On Irish Stereotypes

Sign Our Petition Taking On Irish Stereotypes

“Irish I Were Drunk” -- huh?

Sadly, you can readily find these words emblazoned on merchandise at a retailer near you!

It’s nearly March, and, once again, open season on the good name the Irish have burnished through centuries of hard work and enterprise worldwide.

It’s no accident that the tens of millions of Irish around the globe, borne from a small island nation on the fringe of Europe, have been credited by many scholars with saving Western civilization. Irish surnames populate the pantheon of heroes of the scores of democracies they helped build, most notably, perhaps, the United States. Irish philanthropies have traveled far and wide in their effort to create a fair and just global society. Irish artists -- filmmakers, novelists, poets, creatives in nearly every field of endeavor --  are beloved, with their work translated into dozens of languages.

Thus we at The Wild Geese find it particularly ironic, and despicable, that marketers -- driven by purely mercenary motives -- feel free to undermine the hard-earned good name of the Irish with facile slogans adorning caps and tee-shirts, suggesting not only that being Irish offers cover for overindulging, but that it is a precursor for this excess.

Even more pernicious are these retailers’ targeting of young people worldwide with the message that it is enjoyable, as well as acceptable, to don a pseudo-Irish identity and celebrate Irish culture by means of public intoxication.

Among the most egregious demeanors of the bona fides of Ireland and the Irish worldwide is Spencer’s Gifts. The defaming items for sale online and at Spencer’s stores include a hat with the phrase “Irish Girl Wasted,” “St. Pat’s Drinking Team,” “Drinking Other Bitches Under the Table,” and another shamrock-emblazoned shirt proudly announcing “Drunkest Bitch at the Bar.”

We applaud and support the The Ancient Order of Hibernians’ ongoing campaign against Spencer’s and other marketers using slurs to cash in on Ireland’s national holiday, a holiday extraordinarily universal and beloved, with parades taking place in more than 100 cities, villages, and hamlets worldwide, drawing in hundreds of thousands of marchers and many more millions of cheering spectators.

Irish or not, we ask that you sign our petition, to help make it clear to marketers that people of good faith -- drawn from the entire world’s vast ethnic mosaic -- are watching and won’t support businesses who trade on cultural stereotypes, as we celebrate what is both unique and praiseworthy in us all.

 

Petition:

We the undersigned take issue with marketers who diminish the hard-earned good name of the Irish with glib messages adorning caps and tee-shirts, suggesting not only that being Irish offers cover for overindulging, but that it is a precursor for this excess.

We particularly regret -- and condemn -- these retailers’ targeting of young people worldwide with the message that it is enjoyable, as well as acceptable, to don a pseudo-Irish identity and celebrate Irish culture by means of public intoxication.

Offending phrases are numerous and readily found on merchandise available both online and in stores, and include  “Irish Girl Wasted,” “St. Pats Drinking Team,” “Drinking Other Bitches Under the Table,” and “Drunkest Bitch at the Bar” on a shamrock-emblazoned shirt.

We hereby post notice that we will not patronize Spencer’s Gifts, nor any marketer whose products demean Ireland and the Irish worldwide, as we ask them to present a positive image of one of the most accomplished ethnic groups on God’s green world.


Media Mentions:
Irish World-- March 19, 2014

To learn more:

“The Irish Character?” -- a discussion here amongst The Wild Geese

“Me and My Bitches will Outdrink You” tanktop from Spencer’s Gifts

“St. Pat’s Drinking Team” t-shirt from Spencer’s Gifts

The Irish worked too hard to be ridiculed by Spencer Gifts T-shirts, by Joan L. Krajewski

“Offend Me, I’m Irish”, from IrishPhiladelphia.com

Views: 3491

Tags: Community, Intellect, News, Opinion, Petitions, Racism, Stereotypes

Comment by Gael Murphy on February 26, 2014 at 9:33am

Ryan, you are mistaken about the deep scorn still felt for Black people in the U.S.  It is not just silly watermelon jokes.  It is hatred, and fear. There IS real oppression here! And if you think that the worst thing that the many anti-Semites say about Jews is a mild rebuke about 'frugality', you don't live in the U.S.  Blacks and Jews are commonly despised in the U.S.  The Irish are teased and ribbed a bit.

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on February 26, 2014 at 10:10am

Gael, I realise it's not just watermelon and fried chicken jokes.  Yes, there is indeed real hatred on the part of some whites for blacks -- just as there is real hatred on the part of some blacks for whites.  I lived in the U.S. for the first 33 years of my life, and I'm well aware of what goes on ... it's not all one direction, no matter how much some people may want us to believe that it is.  I have experienced it myself.

My point, again, is that there is precious little difference between the off-colour stereotypes perpetuated about blacks / Jews / hispanics and the ones told about Irish folks.  And yet, the way those stereotypes are viewed by the masses is starkly different.  I'm not distraught over it, but it's a laughably hypocritical situation.

Comment by Gael Murphy on February 26, 2014 at 10:20am

My point is that in the U.S. the Irish are no longer the underdog.  The jokes have no teeth because they are not born of fear, hatred, or scorn.  

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on February 26, 2014 at 10:48am

Fair enough, Gael.  It's clear that you're okay with this particular double standard, and you're certainly well within your rights to have that opinion.  For my part, I absolutely despise double standards of any kind as they are the very definition of injustice.  Yes, this is a relatively minor injustice in the scheme of things ... but as a relatively minor injustice it can be so easily rectified ... so why not rectify it?  I believe that's what this petition is attempting to do, and that is why I proudly signed it.

Comment by Kelly O'Rourke on February 26, 2014 at 11:37am

That's what I'm saying...unlike child labour or entrenched oppression, this is so EASY to fix.  Let's do it!  We get so bogged down by all the BIG problems in the world that we don't do what we can to fix the small ones.  We're not bringing about world peace, but a little human decency could go a longer way than you think.  Come on guys...take 10 seconds to put you voice behind an itty bitty bit of goodness!

Comment by Gerry Regan on March 7, 2014 at 6:19am

I'm not easily offended, and, candidly, I find these stereotypes simply stupid. But my concern here is driven by those individuals, especially impressionable young people, who are encouraged to feel that being Irish, especially around March 17, provides cover for alcohol abuse. And this further erodes yes the beauty of Irish culture, but in a broader sense of all ethnic cultures. Ignorance is fertile ground for ethnic bias, even enmity.

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