Acceptable Forms of Racism
Last month was Black History Month. More than a few headlines were filled with outrage over food selections that were considered racist.
This month contains St. Patrick's Day. To the left is an impossibly stupid section of ads that I pulled out of a grocery store's weekly circular (Cub Foods). How many headlines do you think this will make? The ol' stereotype of the drunken Irishman eating corned beef and cabbage on rye with potatoes?
Let's wait and see.
Updated: 19 Mar 2015
Well, the day has come and gone, and no headlines were made that I could find, just like every year on St. Patrick's Day. The closest thing I saw even relating to the issue was on Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show, which despite frequently covering topics of race, made the issue this time about LGBT Groups and the Parade in NYC!
And that's all OK. And that highlights the problem. Part of the difference in stereotyping things like the eating habits of any ethnic group that I find interesting is that not enough minorities point out the double-standard itself. I think it is avoided because a lot of people assume it undermines their case (i.e., if Irish Americans don't have a problem with the negative stereotype, why do African Americans make such a fuss?), but I say the reality is just the opposite.
It is because the Irish are a (mostly) white ethnic group that they are afforded the luxury of not being discriminated against for their bad habits, consumption or otherwise. Rather than looking the other way when it comes to St. Patrick's Day, I think it's exactly the sort of white privilege that should be highlighted. Because when you decide to behave like an asshole, it's good to be white.