Tuesday, October 02, 2012

We're all downtrodden...even if we believe we're not...

An interesting point is made in the NY Times recurring talking head series "Room for Debate" by one Hastings Wyman, in this case, on why the South is more right-wing than the rest of the USA.  Well, actually he could have made it slightly better, so I'll make the slightly better version:

There were two ethnic groups alone in the South, and pretty much nobody else, unlike pretty much the rest of the country.  The native Americans were largely exterminated or ethnically cleansed.

So there weren't really Irish to realize that in their being picked on by the WASPs,  they were in solidarity with Germans,  Jews,  Poles, Italians, and,  yes, African Americans and Latinos.

I think it's one of the cases where if we can see our common state of dukkha, we're a bit better off; a smidgen of suffering is transcended right there.

1 comment:

Barbara O'Brien said...

Being something of a history nerd -- it so happens that Irish immigrants made up 10 percent of the Confederate army in the Civil War. There were a lot of Irish living in the antebellum South. Germans, not so much. Germans had been immigrating in large numbers to the upper Midwest before the war and were big supporters of the Union.

Other European ethnic groups such as Italians and Poles generally didn't move here until after the war and tended to stay in the North, yes, because it was easier to get jobs there. However, there was not much in the way of solidarity with African Americans, and in fact the big waves of European immigrants that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought about a huge setback for African Americans. African Americans were pushed out of manual labor jobs, and a lot of the new labor unions organized by immigrants were white only. A lot of the later immigrants were, arguably, more racist than the whites who had been living in the U.S. for a few generations.