St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Friends and descends of Éire around the world celebrate Irish culture and the legacy of one of the greatest Catholic saints in history. Perhaps more than any other holiday, St. Patrick’s Day also celebrates the legacy of immigration to the United States and the rise of an oppressed and marginalized people to the mainstream political and economic power. At its best and noblest, this is a story of perseverance, strength, and generosity. One look at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City and the dozens of participating institutions—from universities to police departments—and the legacy of Irish Catholics to US culture becomes very clear.
The Sin of Irish Racism
But the history of Irish Americans in the United States also has a negative side that must also be told on St. Patrick’s Day. While we have…
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