On St Patrick’s Day, everybody’s Irish. This kid, though, is Irish every day, and he’s not Irish.
One of the points I’ve been driving at in my posts popping Charles Murray’s bubble---and I hope you weren’t worried I’d given them up. Got a new one coming in a day or two.---is that the Media generally shares the same view as Murray’s book, Coming Apart, that “regular America” is “white” America but, more than that, their idea of white America is limited to a minority of white Americans, Southern or Midwestern, Protestant, and very conservative. This leads to the notion that NASCAR is the quintessential American spectator sport being pushed by journalists and pundits who are spending this week and next obsessing over their NCAA tourney brackets.
But the American experience is not the “white” experience and the white experience isn’t all that white and regular Americas come in all colors and live everywhere. The American experience is the Immigrant Experience and our shared heritage is mongrelization and Diaspora. This is how a regular American kid growing up in rural Ohio can have a black father, a Jewish mother, and an Irish heart or at least a pair of legs enchanted by leprechauns.
GREENVILLE, Ohio — For those feeling down about the United States and its place in the world, meet Drew Lovejoy, a 17-year-old from rural Ohio. His background could not be more American. His father is black and Baptist from Georgia and his mother is white and Jewish from Iowa. But his fame is international after winning the all-Ireland dancing championship in Dublin for a third straight year.
Drew is the first to admit that this is a lot to take in, so he sometimes hides part of his biography for the sake of convenience. As in 2010, when he became the first person of color to win the world championship for Irish dancing — the highest honor in that small and close-knit world — and a group of male dancers in their 70s, all of them Irish, offered their congratulations.
Read the whole story by Sabrina Tavernise---and how’s that for a regular American name---at the New York Times, An Irish Tradition With an Only-in-America Star.
Also: This op-ed by Peter Behrens, It’s About Immigrants, Not Irishness.