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Who's Your Paddy?Racial Expectations and the Struggle for Irish American Identity$
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Jennifer Nugent Duffy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814785027

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814785027.001.0001

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Who’s Your Paddy?

Who’s Your Paddy?

Irish Immigrant Generations in Greater New York

(p.1) Introduction Who’s Your Paddy?
Who's Your Paddy?

Jennifer Nugent Duffy

NYU Press

This introductory chapter briefly examines the race-consciousness embedded within the Irish immigrant’s psyche, exploring both the history and ideologies that had led to the racial expectations of the “Paddy” in contemporary American society. Caricatures of the apelike, drunk, dirty, lazy, and potentially violent Paddy, both in Great Britain and in the United States, epitomized the racialization of the Irish as a separate, inferior race. The challenges posed by a heterogeneous population within the United States, however, permitted the Irish to respond to this “racial hazing” over time, by claiming adherence to the same standards of order, hard work, family, faith, and loyalty that been used to assess their own racial fitness: they affixed white racial expectations to being “Irish.” Learning to stress their racial aptitude in this particular manner is how the Irish became race-conscious subjects in the United States.

Keywords:   race-consciousness, paddy, racial expectations, racial hazing, race-conscious subjects, Irish immigrants, white racial expectations

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