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Teaching Diversity With Multimedia

Stereotypes of the Irish: Essays & Images

Many Americans are surprised to learn that there was a time in the US when the Irish were looked upon with contempt and were savagely caricatured. After the devastating Irish potato blight and resulting Great Famine (1845-1849), hundreds of thousands of Irish left the country and immigrated to the United States. Many stayed in America's urban centers, where they lived in economic competition with African-Americans. Their large numbers and Catholic heritage inspired fear in the overwhelmingly Protestant population. They were so loathed that they were almost seen as a race separate from the Caucasian race. Some Irish American stereotypes can still be found in American popular culture today.

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Last modified July 20, 2012