The Irish Plight

I have a close bond to the plight of the Irish in this country do to my Irish heritage. In today‚Äôs society, being Irish has a different meaning than in the 1830s through the 1960s. Previous to the 1830s, many Irish Immigrants were skilled young men seeking a better life. Because of the potato famine that lasted from 1845-1851, the Irish immigrants were then unskilled, uneducated, poor, Catholic farmers. During that time, at least one and a half million Irish men and women immigrated to the United States (Rapple, 2011). Due to public fear of Catholicism and unique dialect of the Irish, stereotypes, and prejudices were formed. Because of the distinct dialect, the Irish were easily distinguished from other races, and due to poverty and illiteracy, most Irish were restricted to living within poverty-stricken neighborhoods forming segregation from other races (Kinsella, 2011). Instead of wallowing in grief, Irish neighborhoods would band together and improve themselves. They did this by building schools and churches all funded from within the Irish communities. Faced with prejudice, racism, segregation, a dual labor market, institutional discrimination, and a glass ceiling the Irish overcame all odds and completed assimilation into the white race.  

The segregation of the Irish immigrant due to mostly poverty, it had many Irish men and women living in basements, cellars, and small apartments with inadequate light and ventilation. These living arrangements would often be flooded with sewage. Due to the deplorable living conditions, many Irish immigrants contracted Cholera, Yellow Fever, Typhus, Tuberculosis, and pneumonia (Kenny, 2008). Many Irish immigrants, also succumbed to alcohol abuse or mental illness, and living in those conditions who could blame them. Fact of the matter is, in 1855 20 percent of the Irish worked as unskilled laborers. This might sound all right, until one learns the fact that in 1855 only three percent of other...