They’re all racist, aren’t they?

But the Irish are racist, aren’t they? (internet commenter, 2016)

I don’t mean to be racist, but the Poles are the racist f**kers on the planet. (idiot who won’t be named, 2000)

Recently, I came across the first sentence above, somewhere deep in the comments section of an article I’ve long since forgotten about. I was surprised, as I didn’t consider myself to be racist, nor did the majority of my compatriots seem to be. Reading on, things were cleared up a little.

I came to realise that the person was referring to a belief that Irish-Americans are racist. Which let me off the hook, but then I remembered that the article was about an Irish actor, as in, from Ireland, so the person was not only indulging in wild generalisations, but also conflating being Irish-American with being Irish. There was a whole heap of confusion going on. Continue reading

Me Fail English? That’s Unpossible!

In recent years, some news stories have emerged from Australia of would-be Irish immigrants failing the English test required for entrance, the IELTS General-Training exam.

One of the most common responses to such stories is to laugh: Ha, serves them right, how can they not even pass a basic English test if they’re English speakers!

But the situation is a little more complex than that.

Continue reading