St. Patrick's Day - Essay Example

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This is a typical “St. Patrick’s Day” celebration. However, there is a much richer history and deeper culture to be found in the…
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St. Patricks Day
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Due The Irish: More than Saint Patrick’s Day Every March 17 hundreds, if not 1000s, of people put on green ribbons, sport 4 leaf clovers, and drink large quantities of green-colored beer. This is a typical “St. Patrick’s Day” celebration. However, there is a much richer history and deeper culture to be found in the people and the country of Ireland than what is superficially represented by the “cartoonish” holiday and representative Leprechaun imagery. Ireland as a whole is a country that has known great difficulty and harsh times throughout its history. There are two elements mentioned in the article, by Bill Bigelow, which was truly new information (1). The first concerning the origins of the “potato famine” and, the second, the actions of scholarly textbook publishers that have no ethical issues with neglecting large chunks of relevant and important history.
The Irish “Potato Famine” is usually described in textbooks and History classes as a terrible disaster, like an earthquake or a plague; something completely outside of human control. However, that is entirely not the case. The famine had far more to do with the harsh and negligent treatment of English landlords upon Irish farmers. The occurrence was not great “blight” or “an act of a God;” it was a physical act of human beings that caused the starvation among the poorer class at the time, which was sadly, the Irish (Bigelow 1). This is new information that is interesting to discover. The second issue, the fact that history books are printing edited or omitted historical events and it is so very common. If textbooks cannot be trusted to teach true and accurate history on any given subject, then how can we trust that information at all? What other topics and subjects might they be presenting a revisionist interpretation of? Ultimately, this discovery and its commonality are rather shocking.
In the end, history is history; what happened, happened. There are both shameful and inspiring events in any country or cultures history. However the only way for people, as individuals and societies, can learn from their mistakes and move into a more enlightened future is to have access to our true history, our actions, for better or worse. By presenting a limited or vague interpretation of historical events, specifically such a significant and often misunderstood event, it diminishes the plight of these people and prevents us from looking at our history as a complete whole. The Irish have a rich history both in Europe and here in the United States and it is sad to know that large chunks of it are being ignored or misrepresented in our textbooks and societal understanding.
Work Cited
Bigelow, Bill. "The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools." Common Dreams. Common Dreams, 16 Mar 2014. Web. 17 Mar 2014. . Read More
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