‘Not MY Grandma’ : Community BBQ, Saturday, December 9

    Hat tip : Shane

In response to ‘The Great Australian Bikini March’ the Islamic Information and Support Centre has called for a community BBQ and mosque open day against racism and sexual assault from 1pm on Saturday, December 9, at 19 Michael Street, Brunswick.

‘she’s not my grandma: aussie values, racism and sexual assault

‘The Great Australian Bikini March’ was called as a protest against recent comments by the Sydney-based Sheik Hilaly regarding sexual assault. It was planned for Saturday December 9, the anniversary of the Cronulla riots. The official spokesperson for the march describes herself as a veteran bikini-wearing grandma. The key demands of the march are for the deportation of Sheik Hilaly, and also of Keysar Trad (Hilaly’s spokesman), and Melbourne’s Sheik Omran. As well, they are calling for ‘urgent citizenship legislation’ to ‘weed out extremists.’

The march was to start at Clifton Park in Brunswick and end at the Islamic Information and Support Centre, which is headed by Sheik Omran, on Michael Street. According to the organisers, the march has been postponed to ‘Australia Day’ (January 26) in the city. White supremacist groups are still calling for people to march on December 9 regardless.

In language reminiscent of the Cronulla riots, the group has been calling on ‘average Australians’ to show up to demonstrate their support for women’s safety, which, they argue, is under threat from ‘extremist Muslim attitudes’ towards women and sexual assault. They say “We must now stand together on this issue, regardless of what other issues we might have, to ensure Australia’s wives, mothers, daughters and sisters feel safe in their own country.”

The march’s organisers are attempting to perpetuate the myth that sexual violence is imported into Australia by Muslims and other ‘foreigners’. Islamophobic portrayals of Muslim men as threats to the ‘nation’ and rapists of white women makes sexual violence within ‘Australian’ society invisible. In particular, it denies and excuses the sexual and gendered violence endured by Muslim women at the hands of white men. The depressing reality is that rape is endemic to Australian society, and most rapes are perpetrated by family, friends and acquaintances. Even more depressing is the widespread denial and indifference that is the overwhelming response of ‘Australians’ to this epidemic. In the last ten years state and federal governments have massively defunded sexual assault services and education programs.

Sexual assault is often made the butt of jokes or even defended in public ‘Aussie’ culture. Prominent representatives of Australian society have often made particularly revealing comments about social attitudes to sexual assault.

Some comments you may not have heard:

    “Some of the boys love a ‘bun’. Gang banging is nothing new for our club or the rugby league.”

    — A Canterbury Bulldogs player commenting on gang rape allegations made against team members

    “Our domestic violence policy could be called ‘the things that batter’.”

    — Then Liberal Party Leader Alexander Downer‘s version of humour while promoting the Liberal Party‘s The Things That Matter campaign

    “My belief is that this was not sex abuse. There was no suggestion of rape or anything like that. Quite the contrary, my information is that it was, rather, the other way around.”

    Peter Hollingworth, then Australian Governor-General, commenting on the case of a priest who had sexually abused a fourteen year old girl. The Governor-General felt it was appropriate to suggest that the teenage girl was the more likely sexual predator [See also : Governor-General: Fit to Govern?, Sunday, February 17, 2002; following a public outcry, over a year later, Hollingworth resigned on May 28, 2003]

    “If every man stopped the first time a woman said ‘No’, the world would be a much less exciting place to live.”

    — [New Zealand] High Court Judge Morris in 1996 rape case [See also : Myths and Realities of Sexual Violence, NSW Rape Crisis Centre; Judicial vision : rape, prostitution and the ‘chaste woman’, Jocelyn Scutt (PDF)]

To date none of these men have been deported.

The controversy around Hilaly’s comments regarding sexual assault have been used as a justification by the group. However, their demands have nothing to do with preventing sexual violence, or challenging its causes. For instance: through education programs, or the restoration of the funding slashed for sexual assault support services. Rather, the appeal to a defence of ‘Australian values’ is about intensifying the persecution of Muslims and glorifying a ‘beach culture’ which is deeply misogynistic and racist.

This statement was produced by ‘Not my Grandma’ and is not affiliated to the Islamic Information and Support Centre.

Please also note :

Civil Rights Defence is holding a rally as part of an International Day of Action to call for the immediate release of David Hicks and his repatriation to Australia. The rally will take place at Federation Square on December 9 at 2pm. The event is held in co-operation with Amnesty International and Liberty Victoria.

David Hicks has now spent five years interned in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. During this time he has been held in solitary confinement for months on end, been interrogated countless times, suffered various forms of torture and sensory deprivation, and has been denied the fundamental right to a fair trial. The Australian government is entirely complicit in this human rights violation. John Howard, Philip Ruddock and Alexander Downer have refused to call for Hicks to be released, instead going along with the Bush administration’s phoney military commissions, which violate the Geneva Conventions and which are condemned by the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and the British government among many others.

Come along on the 9th and show the government that torture is unacceptable and that David Hicks must be released now.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anti-fascism, Sex & Sexuality, State / Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to ‘Not MY Grandma’ : Community BBQ, Saturday, December 9

  1. gnwp says:

    Not related, but still news;

    Protests as Dutch decorate Srebrenica peacekeepers

    “They gathered in the Hague to express their disgust. Over a decade after Srebrenica, demonstrators have slammed the Dutch government. They are outraged that peacekeepers have been honoured by the state, despite failing to prevent Europe’s worst civilian massacre since the Second World War.

    When Srebrenica, a UN safe haven, was overrun by Ratko Mladic’s forces, Dutch peacekeepers stood by, and even helped to separate women from the men and boys – over 7,000 of whom were killed by the Bosnian Serb troops. Four years ago the Dutch cabinet resigned after the government was blamed in an independent report for failing to prevent the massacre.”

    You can send a postcard to their govenrment with pictures of victims of Srebrenica from here:

  2. Boofhead says:

    Hey, Andrew Moran you [sexy] red scum bag, ever seen clips of Theo van [Gogh]\’s documentary done with Islamic women in Holland called Submission about the brutality and total sexism the [D]ark [A]ges religion born of blood that you are praising so much?

    Shut your trap you moronic p[ie]ce of [sexy] red filth.

  3. Dr. Cam says:

    I like Ben’s new feminist stance. It wasn’t too long ago that he was a member of a fiercely anti-feminist neo-Nazi group.

    Has this change of heart come about as a result of you embracing your Jewish heritage, Ben?

  4. @ndy says:

    G’day Boofhead!

    Q. Have I seen “Submission”?
    A. Will Mick ‘Belsen’ Sanderson be missed?

    Your English-language skills really aren’t the best, are they Boofhead? On that note, I really think you oughta consult with your friend. You know, the Melbourne academic? The one who wrote so incisively about the protest outside The Birmy last month? Failing that, I’m sure one of your *other* imaginary friends might be able to help.

    In any case, thanks very much for helping to sabotage ‘The Great Australian Bikini March’. I mean, I’m not sure that we needed it, but every tiny little pea-brained effort on your part helps. (Hey, did you know that local fascists have dubbed you King-Midas-in-reverse? Y’know, on account of how every single thing you touch turns completely to shit?)

    Have fun in Brisbane, and mind you don’t run into any ‘muds’. I hear that neo-Nazis up in that neck of the woods have a stwong tendency to wun and hide if they spot any scawy-wooking people.

    Big fat antifa hugs ‘n’ kisses,


    PS. Does this mean I’m no longer invited to your birthday party?

  5. Boofhead says:

    Answer the question scumbag, have you seen any of said movie?

    The day that your wife/girlfriend/daughter or someone close to you is raped by one of the backward and hostile Islamic males you defend oh so dearly will not even be the day when you wake up as you are such a deluded [but nevertheless sexy] POS [\’person of substance\’].

    For that day, I bid you all the best.

    Yeah, I WILL have fun in Brissy, thanks, it\’s not a secret that I am going there as I advertised the exact dates of my being there on the internet for ALL to see.

    Oooh, what a scoop you have you scum sucking arse fiddling [sexy] red scumbag.

    Next stop, Brunswick, Melbourne, mate.

  6. @ndy says:

    G’day Boofhead!

    But I did answer yr question silly! Will Mick ‘Belsen’ Sanderson be missed? Here’s a clue:


    Worksop man remanded in murder case

    A Worksop man has appeared in court this morning charged with the murder of MICHAEL JOHN SANDERSON on Sunday.

    John Pakulski, 54, of Carlton Road, went before Retford Magistrates Court at around 10.40am this morning.

    He will now appear before Nottingham Crown Court on 7th March 2007, he has been remanded in custody until then.

    Pakulski was wearing a white t-shirt and sporting a goatee beard and short cropped hair.

    He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

    It emerged yesterday that victim Mr Sanderson had been a member of extreme right-wing group ‘Wolf’s Hook’, but police say his membership of this group is not a factor in the murder investigation.

    A 37-year-old woman who was yesterday being interviewed by police in conection with the incident has been released without charge.

    The 42-year-old, from Cotgrave in Nottingham, was found stabbed on Turner Drive in Worksop just after 3am on Sunday 26th November. He was taken to Bassetlaw Hospital but died later from his injuries.

    A post-mortem carried out on Sunday revealed that Mr Sanderson died from a single stab wound.

    He was a member of the ‘Wolf’s Hook White Brotherhood’ group, who preach the ‘preservation of white racial purity’, police say.

    The Wolf’s Hook White Brotherhood was formed in Great Britain in 2004 by ex British National Party activists and have members in numerous parts of Great Britain and a ‘large presence’ in Germany.


    Yr heartfelt concern for the health and well-being of my wife/girlfriend/daughter/some other female close to me is touching, and I don’t mean to upset you any further — you sound a little under the weather as it is — but I’m not entirely sure that yr feelings are reciprocated.

    Inre yr visit to Brunswick: if you would like me to prepare a welcoming committee, I will require notice, as well as a detailed itinerary. (Feel free to publish this on yr blog.)

    Will you be saying hello to yr academic friend too?

    Love and wet, sloppy kisses,


  7. Dr. Cam says:

    Oh, I am ever so looking forward to your little visit, Benny! We can have a sleepover and do your face up and everything!! MAKEOVER PARTY!!!

  8. Mick Reyfield says:


    I understand, and respect your position on this rally — but, please, understand ours.

    Some comments you may not have heard:

    “Some of the boys love a ‘bun’. Gang banging is nothing new for our club or the rugby league.”

    – A Canterbury Bulldogs player commenting on gang rape allegations made against team members

    …and you wouldn’t guess – those particular “Bulldogs” were Lebanese (look it up).

    Peter Hollingworth, then Australian Governor-General, commenting on the case of a priest who had sexually abused a fourteen year old girl. The Governor-General felt it was appropriate to suggest that the teenage girl was the more likely sexual predator [See also : Governor-General: Fit to Govern?, Sunday, February 17, 2002; following a public outcry, over a year later, Hollingworth resigned on May 28, 2003]

    If every man stopped the first time a woman said ‘No’, the world would be a much less exciting place to live.


    We already know about those ‘filthbags’!

    You will notice that he has resigned over that appalling statement he made.

    However, we are talking of a culture that is promoting hate towards White Australians. If White Australians are victims of racial discrimination, then we should have the right to solidarity against bigotry — commited by Non-Europeans — and why is it when the victim of a racial attack is White, the Left-wing groups either seem to ignore it — or [are] glad that the victim was White? It seems to me that this “Anti-Fash” movement is discrimination in itself.

    Andy, I applaud you for being the only ‘Lefty’ to never resort to “He’s a Fash F!ck” to combat my input. I also know that I have gone a little off-topic, but these questions [puzzle] most who think of the situation like I do.

  9. @ndy says:

    G’day Mick,

    “Ours”? Who’s ‘we’, paleface?

    Re Hollingworth: he resigned over a yr after his initial appointment. Without going into details — they’re avail online — he only did so after a massive public outcry. Further, his resignation was not made on the basis of that statement alone, but his role in the alleged cover-up of a series of sexual crimes committed during his tenure as Archbishop in Brisbane…


    ‘Hollingworth: the true scandal’
    Muriel Porter
    The Age
    May 3 2003

    The Governor-General did not only fail in his duty to victims, he supported the perpetrator, writes Muriel Porter.

    American scholar of Scripture Luke Timothy Johnson has denounced the churches’ tendency to cover up cases of sexual abuse to protect their reputations. The true scandal is not public shame or bad publicity, he writes in a recent edition of the English Catholic magazine Priests and People. Rather, it is the churches’ willingness to “protect the predators who destroy the lives of children”.

    Johnson reminds his readers that, for Jesus, those who harmed the vulnerable were “scandalous”, and deserving of God’s condemnation.

    The inquiry into sexual abuse in the Anglican diocese of Brisbane has exposed a deeply disturbing case of the church seeking to protect a pedophile priest and the church’s good name, despite the protestations of his victims.

    John Elliot was allowed to continue as rector of a parish during the 1990s by the then archbishop of Brisbane and now Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth, even though Hollingworth was aware the man was a pedophile. Last year, Elliot was jailed after pleading guilty to multiple sexual abuse charges from the 1970s, before he became an Anglican priest. In February this year his jail sentence was extended after he pleaded guilty to the abuse brought to Hollingworth’s attention in 1993.

    The Governor-General has admitted he made a “serious error of judgement” in allowing Elliot to continue as rector of the parish of Dalby, and has apologised to the family involved for his handling of the issue. But a close examination of the Brisbane report reveals that the bald fact of allowing the priest to remain in office is only part of the problem. It can be construed from the report that Hollingworth allowed him to stay to protect the priest’s financial interests and to safeguard the church’s reputation.

    The report’s authors – Melbourne QC Peter O’Callaghan and Adelaide academic Freda Briggs – have dismissed Hollingworth’s insistence that he believed the abuse to have been an isolated incident. They argue that there “was not the slightest basis for him to have that belief”. Hollingworth’s recollection “is, to say the least, suspect”, and “demonstrably faulty”. The abuse had in fact continued over four years, between 1978 and 1981, while Elliot – then a lay person – was bursar at a prominent Anglican school and leader of a parish youth group.

    Certainly, as Hollingworth has maintained, he imposed restrictions on Elliot’s ministry. But allowing Elliot to remain in a parish posting at all was against the advice of a psychiatrist, who had warned Hollingworth that the priest’s “problem” was “something which keeps recurring and is likely to happen again”.

    Elliot was allowed to stay on because Hollingworth argued that, as Elliot was now close to retirement, “the disruption and upset that would be caused to the whole parish as well as to him and his family would be in nobody’s best interests”.

    Elliot remained at Dalby until his retirement in 1998, after which Hollingworth permitted him to exercise locum ministries because of his impoverished circumstances.

    Hollingworth’s refusal to remove Elliot from Dalby parish in 1993 was also motivated by a desire to protect the church from adverse publicity. A “sudden termination” would have caused “unwarranted concern” in the parish and been “very difficult to explain publicly”, Hollingworth’s lawyers told the inquiry.

    Even when the original abuse was raised by the diocesan insurers in 1999, Hollingworth allowed Elliot to continue in public ministry, again out of compassion for the abuser. He even told Elliot he was concerned about putting him in danger of “further risk of exposure and complaint”, but he appreciated “the difficult state” of his family finances. He urged him to keep a low profile, because of the “potential for legal action on the part of the aggrieved individuals, some of whom may feel it is now open season to do so”. Hollingworth thanked Elliot for his “happy and fulfilling” locum work: “I am sure it was valued by all,” he wrote. In return, Elliot thanked him for his “understanding and thoughtfulness”.

    To the victims and their family, however, Hollingworth preached forgiveness and reconciliation. In 1995, replying to one of the brothers who had denounced Hollingworth’s support of Elliot, he insisted Elliot was “profoundly penitent” for what he had done: “God’s last word is one of forgiveness for those who are truly sorry for their sins.”

    But the family was devastated, as much by the church’s response as by the original abuse. Their lives had revolved around the church, they told the inquiry, but “now our perceptions and expectations of the church we loved have been crushed”.

    The victims’ continuing anguish is the true scandal confronting the Governor-General and the Anglican Church today.



    Now, on the basis of the Sheikh from Sydney’s comments, you’ve hopped, skipped and jumped to making assertions regarding “a culture that is promoting hate towards White Australians”. What culture is this, precisely? As far as I’m aware, White Australians, like non-White Australians, have access to legal remedies upon suffering racial discrimination (should they wish to make use of them). Further, you seem to be confusing racial, national and religious categories. For example: I’m a ‘White Australian’; I’m also ‘non-European’ (never even visited the fucking place); many Whites are non-European; some Muslims are White.

    In addition:

    1) “Why is it when the victim of a racial attack is White, the Left-wing groups either seem to ignore it” — they do? Who are ‘they’? Which Left-wing groups? I’m a member of none — “or [are] glad that the victim was White?”. Huh? Mate, I speak for myself. So please feel free to indicate where I’ve stated that I’m ‘glad’ a White person was subjected to violent racist assault.

    2) “It seems to me that this ”Anti-Fash” movement is discrimination in itself.” OK. But please be mindful that just because to you something ‘seems’ to be the case, it ain’t necessarily so. But as someone who is opposed to fascism — in particular its organised form — I’m more than happy to admit to ‘discriminating’ against it.

    Cheers and beers,


  10. Weerheym says:

    A joke Andrew, you are a joke, nothing more, nothing less.

  11. @ndy says:

    Adolf Hitler is speeding through Germany with his chauffeur at the wheel on his way to an important address.

    Driving down a country road, the chauffeur (who is distracted, looking out the window at the countryside) doesn’t see a pig walk out onto the road, and he hits it with the car.

    Stopping the car, he jumps out, and Adolf climbs out also to see what is going on. The chauffeur, very distressed by what he’s done, asks Hitler what they should do, and Hitler tells him impatiently that they’re in a hurry and they should move the pig to the side of the road and go to the address and worry about it later.

    All the way to the address the chauffeur, who is a fairly good-hearted person despite his employer, is worried about the family who owned the pig and wondered how they’d react to discovering the pig, so when they arrived he asked Hitler whether he shouldn’t drive back to the farm and let them know what happened.

    Hitler agrees before hurrying to the podium, and the chauffeur hurries back down the road.

    Four hours later, stumbling down the road, his arms full of sausage and bread and his breath smelling of liquor, the chaffeur returns.

    Hitler, in a rage, demands to know what has happened to him, and the chauffeur explains, “I did what I thought was right. I went to the farm where I killed the pig. When I went and knocked on the door and gave them the news, they gave me this
    sausage and bread, fed me the best ale I’ve ever tasted, let me have my way with their beautiful nubile young daughter, and then sent me on my way.”

    Adolf seemed confused by this and asks his chauffeur, “Well what exactly did you tell them?”

    To which the chauffeur replied “I really can’t understand it either, all I did was tell them “I’m Hitler’s chauffeur, and I killed the pig.”

  12. Mick Reyfield says:


    I hate to inform you, but Ol’ Man Hitler is no more then a shadow of his former self — if that was anything…

    In fact, that brings up another point, but it has nothing to do with The Great Australian Bikini March, so I won’t go down that track unless you create a thread on it.

  13. Mick Reyfield says:


    I’m also ‘non-European’ (never even visited the fucking place); many Whites are non-European; some Muslims are White.

    To clear things up, what I mean by “European” is someone [with] white ancestral roots. Going down the path of “some Muslims are White”… well this is more of a cultural issue.

  14. @ndy says:


    1) Yeah, Hitler the genocidal dicktator and incestuous coprophiliac is dead: try telling that to a neo-Nazi but.

    2) On ‘Whiteness’, see, by way of illustration, Noel Ignatiev, ‘How the Irish Became White’ (Routledge, 1996).


    Q: What exactly do you mean by your book’s title, Race Traitor? How did the Irish become white?

    A: In the epilogue to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley tells a story about being with Malcolm at the airport when they saw a plane landing from Europe. The east European children getting off the plane were dressed in their traditional clothing. Malcolm turned to Haley and said, “Pretty little children. Soon they’re going to learn their first English word: nigger.”

    What my book is about is how an earlier group of immigrants, the Catholic Irish–the first non-Protestant, non-Anglo group of European immigrants to arrive, at the beginning of the 19th century, around the period when industrialization was beginning to take place–learned the American racial set-up and found their place in it.

    When I say that the Irish “became” white what I hark back to is that in Ireland the Catholics were victims of a kind of discrimination which in many respects was parallel and analogous to what we, in the United States, call racial discrimination-although there’s no visible, physical type difference between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Notwithstanding this, if there were any people who were racially oppressed in Ireland it was the Catholics, who then came to the United States and found a new situation in which there was a color line–something they weren’t familiar with, something they had no experience with. It was something they had to learn. They had to learn what it meant, how it operated, and how to find their own place in it.

    So what I’m really talking about is how the Irish went from being members of an oppressed race in Ireland to being members of an oppressing race in the United States. The period that the book covers begins in the 1790s and closes in 1877, but the real heart of the book is the 1830s and 1840s, when I think the decisive elements fell into place.

    Q: In the book you compare the situation of the Irish prior to their emigration to that of black folks in the U.S. during the same period. Just how oppressive was it for the Irish in Ireland?

    A: Ireland was governed by the penal codes for most of the 18th century and into the period where my study begins. Catholics were not permitted to vote or serve in Parliament or hold public office of any kind; they weren’t allowed to practice law or serve in the military or civil service; they couldn’t open or teach at a school, or serve as tutors; they weren’t allowed to attend universities or send their children abroad to school; they weren’t allowed to manufacture or sell arms, newspapers or books, or possess them; they couldn’t own a horse worth more than a few pounds; they were barred from apprenticeships in most of the trades; they were limited in the kind of land they could rent; they had no inheritance rights (a Catholic could convert to Protestantism and disinherit his father, in fact his entire family); priests were not allowed to travel in Ireland; Bishops were banned from the country; and the list goes on.

    I suppose it can be captured best by citing an 18th century Anglo-Irish Protestant judge who said that “the law presupposes no such person to exist as an Irish Roman Catholic”–which is parallel, of course, to Judge Taney’s dictum in the Dred Scott case that “a Negro has no rights that a white man is bound to respect.” In all important respects, the Irish Catholics were treated as an oppressed race in Ireland. This is the background they were coming from when they arrived on American soil.

    Q: You describe in the book how this background provided a context for interaction between the Irish and the blacks they encountered in America. But things changed dramatically from the Irish initially identifying with black Americans and their situation to later violently dis-identifying with them. What was responsible for this shift?

    A: During the period I examine in the book, from the 1820s onward, the Catholic Irish who came over here came from the poorer classes. Not necessarily the poorest and most desperate-that emigration didn’t really begin until the famine in the mid-1840s. But they certainly came from the poorer classes of society, and when they came they were, in the words of Mr. Dooley–the old Chicago columnist Peter Finley Dunn–given a shovel and told to start digging the place up as if they owned it.

    They were used for dangerous, brutal labor on the railbeds and canals, sometimes working alongside black laborers. In the South, they were sometimes used in dangerous situations where it didn’t make good sense to risk the life of a valuable slave. As one person put it, “Let the paddys do the work–if one of them gets thrown overboard or breaks his neck, it’s nobody’s loss.”

    As they moved into the big cities, they were thrown into the same districts with free black folks in the North, and in the South–New Orleans, the Irish channel, the rookeries. And there they socialized. They fought each other, they fought with the police, they fought with everybody–eve-rybody fought with everybody. That was the American city of the 1820s and 1830s: a war of each against all.

    In a lot of respects they developed a common culture, as well. There was some intermarriage. And there was a kind of “life among the lowly.” In the early minstrel stage, along with the stock black characters Jim Crow and Jim Dandy, there were the Irish characters Pat and Bridget–objects of scorn and ridicule.

    Q: You point out that at one point the Irish were known as “white Negroes” and black people were referred to as “smoked Irish.” What did those terms reflect?

    A: They reflected the scorn and disdain with which both were regarded by the better situated, by the leading elements of American society. There was speculation that there would be some “amalgamation,” that is, that Irish and black would blend into each other and become one common people. That didn’t happen; in fact, the opposite happened.

    Q: What exactly happened?

    A: Essentially what happened was the Irish became white. That is, rather than [joining] with black people–free and slave–to overthrow the system of slavery and racial oppression which prevailed in the United States, they chose, by and large, to find a way to gain for themselves a favored position within it.

    In 1841, the Irish political leader (in Ireland) Daniel O’Connell–he was something of a combination of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, the most popular figure among Irishmen throughout the world–issued an appeal–he and 70,000 others in Ireland–to the Irish in the United States, calling upon them to join with the abolitionists in America, to join the struggle to overthrow slavery. Treat the Negro everywhere as your equal, your brother, he said, and in doing so you will bring honor to the name of Ireland. O’Connell was speaking from a situation where Catholics in Ireland were members of an oppressed race. He was the leader of their movement to overturn that kind of subjugation. So he naturally reached out for alliances with the struggle against racial injustice everywhere.

    The Irish in America rejected him. He went so far as to say if you don’t do this, then we won’t recognize you as Irish. They thought about it and concluded, okay, if you force us to choose between our love for Ireland and our attachment to the institutions of our new country, then it’s South Carolina forever. What they decided to do was integrate themselves into American life as citizens, invoking the privileges of whiteness.

    Having fair skin made the Irish eligible to be white, but it didn’t guarantee their admission. They had to earn it…


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