Just because some people may try to take your ancestry from you doesn’t mean you aren’t still Irish. It runs in your blood.You carry your ancestor’s DNA inside you. They are alive within you. You exist because they existed. You won’t EVER stop being Irish. IRISH is your RACE. AMERICAN is your ETHNIC group. Being American has nothing to do with your biology (unless you’re Native American, of course) it’s just where I happened to be born.
Socially, we Americans have been pretty unique. We all have two heritages. We’re frequently called a melting pot nation because most of the citizen’s ancestors came from some place other than North America. Mine came from Ireland. That is why I am Irish. However, I am NOT a citizen of the Republic of Ireland (though that it is one of my greatest desires), and I AM a citizen of the United States of America.
Because of our relative isolation geographically it is generally assumed that everyone who has an American accent is indeed American. So when an American asks another American “What are you?” an American would respond with Irish/Japanese/Mexican/African blah blah blah because citizenship was already assumed. This question was only asked because of how the person looked.
This is where I think the miscommunication begins.
If an Irish-American is visiting “the motherland” he might remark “I am Irish too” to an Ireland-born Irish person. This would cause the Ireland-born person to be slightly irritated. It would be assumed that we are “posing” when that isn’t the case at all. Most of us who claim to be Irish don’t run around like we’re fresh off the boat trying to fake accents and only identify with alcoholism. (thus promoting their own negative stereotype. Great, boys…anyway)
What the Ireland-Born Irish do not understand is that when Americans say they are this and that race we only mean our racial background. Nothing more. Nothing less.
One may think that the Irish culture is no longer ours because we were born on different soil, but it is. When my ancestors immigrated they brought their Irish culture along with them and passed it on to their children and so on. I am both Irish and American. That is my unique place on the human social ladder. Some cities in America are considered to be “largely Irish” and they don’t mean citizens of the republic.
It is the American’s fault too though, for not realizing that such a simple statement could mean different things in different places. Some people take it more literally and some more biologically. On more than one occasion Ireland has “adopted” famous Americans because of their Irish ancestry. JFK being the most famous example.It’s a two way street guys. If you get to claim us you don’t get to exclude us either. You have to allow us to stay in touch with our heritage.