Your Average Irish-American | Teen Ink

Your Average Irish-American

March 14, 2008
By Anonymous

Imagine believing in something for your entire life, and having it crushed by your parents, peers, or, in my case, a single spaced statistic. I, an avid reader and fact-junkie, have always assumed I’m Irish. Red hair, pale skin, freckles, light eyes; your average Irish-American, right? While researching St. Patrick, I found this interesting tidbit. Just over 34.7 million US citizens claim a stake in Irish descent. A large number, especially when compared to Ireland’s actual population, 4.7 million people. This fact subtly suggests that not every ‘Irish-American’ is truly Irish.
In truth, I have no solid proof that my heritage is as I claim. Although my fraternal ancestry is murky beyond my fraternal grandfather, whose family I have always assumed gave me my ginger appearance, I’ve always firmly believed I have Irish blood in my veins. Now I wonder, am I really Irish? Maybe, I now think, I assumed I was Irish so I had some heritage to identify in. An Irish boy could be proud of St. Patrick, of the Gaelic language, of all things Irish. I wanted to have a race to be part of, and so I choose a heritage because I fit the stereotype. Being teased and stereotyped all my live as a geek, I’ve always hated when people just say something is so because they think. They should know, I’ve always thought. After reading this fact, I am prouder than ever of the Irish heritage, and yet full of shame for the reasons I am.

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