The Idea Of Irish "Slavery" Can Be Tracked Down To A Holocaust Denier's Book
You've probably seen memes shared by Facebook pages with names like "Patriots For [Guess Which President]" or "[Something Other Than Black] Lives Matter" about this one. The gist is that Irish people were also once enslaved in America, so how come you never hear their descendants complaining about it? Probably because they weren't slaves, and you fell for a stupid meme.
Via Medium.comB-but the font looks so authoritative!
The Irish certainly had it rough and were an exploited underclass. But they were not slaves, and by no measure did they have it "worse" than black people. The practice of slavery in America was highly specific and unique in world history. It was chattel slavery based on race, and it was hereditary, meaning that blacks weren't forced to work for a set period of time like other groups -- it was supposed to last for generations and generations, until the Earth crumbled. Indentured servants were exploited miserably, but they were at least seen as people, not property. Plus, after you gained freedom, you also gained equality before the law. Hell, Ben Franklin was an indentured servant, and he did pretty well.
It's not a coincidence that most of the "Irish slaves" depicted in these memes aren't actually Irish. It's also not a coincidence that you mostly see "I'm not racist, but" people sharing them. Irish historian Liam Hogan tracked down this myth to a 1990s book by Holocaust denier Michael A. Hoffman II, which was a big hit in white supremacist circles. In 2000, the myth was given more credibility by a book called To Hell Or Barbados, written by a non-historian who unfortunately wasn't too clear on the definition of "slavery." He also claimed, with zero evidence, that the Irish were branded like cattle, and that Irish women were sold to "stud farms" for breeding purposes, among other exciting details. Anyway, we're sure this clarification will make the people who shared these memes with no ulterior racist motives stop at once!
The "Flat Earth Theory" Theory Was Pushed To Make The Church Seem Backward
When the circumference of the Earth was calculated in the 3rd century BCE (after first being theorized two centuries earlier), it totally made sense to most people. After all, if the giant fireball and the chunk of cheese in the sky were spheres, why wouldn't our planet be one too? Nobody told Christopher Columbus his ships were going to fall off the edge of the Earth when he decided to take the long route to Asia. That was a bit of flourish added by someone who wrote a novel about him centuries later.
Daniel Nicholas ChodowieckiThis is like if people in the future believed Neil Armstrong went to the moon to look for Transformers.