Ethnic Groups And Discrimination Essay

853 words - 4 pages

I am told that part of my ethnic ancestry is of Irish decent. I do not identify with this ethnicity or culture, but the idea that I am in some small way Irish does fascinate me. Irish immigration to North America began as early as the 17th century. During this period some came for financial advancement and the enticement of free land in colonial times (Schaefer, 2011), and a larger amount came for more religious freedom (Irish Diaspora, 2005). The Irish were the largest group of immigrants during the colonial period after the English (Schaefer, 2011). Probably the most notable wave of Irish immigration came in the middle of the 19th century during the time of Ireland’s Potato Famine ...view middle of the document...

Segregation was common and existed for a few reasons. Newly landed immigrants often stayed in the cities and ports in which they landed. They searched out the “Irish quarter” and found people from the same area where they had lived in Ireland. They wanted to somewhat recreate the close-knit communities that they had enjoyed in their homeland (Gavin, 2000). Another reason for the segregation is the lack of resources and money of the incoming Irish immigrants. Many immigrants found themselves in filthy, rat infested tenements, cellars, backrooms and hovels with no means to live elsewhere. With the lack of proper sanitary conditions, disease was prevalent in those areas (Kenny, 2008). This helped fuel the prejudice and racism that was already prevalent.
A great deal of the racism directed toward the Irish had a basis in religion. Many of the Irish Immigrants of the famine time were Roman Catholic. Americans were very anti-Catholic for fear that the new arrivals would not be loyal to America, but to the church in Rome (Kenny, 2008). The fear was that the papacy would threaten America’s political independence. This fear translated into a general fear of the Irish (Gavin, 2000).
Irish immigrants were subjected to a dual labor market because they had very little education or skills or there was a lack of jobs that they were skilled for. Many immigrants were very poor and took any jobs that they could find to try to support themselves (Gavin, 2000)
Double Jeopardy applied to a majority of the immigrants in the famine era. Many were of the Catholic faith, and because...

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