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Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:41 AM

Anti Irish slurs common in early 20th century Saint Louis

* Your Irish flag is flying, meaning your slip is showing.
I believe it was assumed at the time that only 'loose women' allowed their slips to show.
Also that they used this to show they were 'available.'

* Lace curtain Irish, meaning not poor, 'acceptable?'

Shanty Irish, meaning very poor, to be avoided.

My mom (1913-2005) grew up in Pine Lawn, part of Saint Louis. The family had some Irish ties.

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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:48 AM

1. You forgot "Thick Mick".......also common.That's the way it was.

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Response to virgogal (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:57 AM

3. The 3 I mentioned were the only ones mom ever used. And she explained them afterward

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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 11:56 AM

2. Let's not forget the Paddywagon

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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:01 PM

4. I Was Born In St. Louis & I'm Irish...

I remember a few others.

"Mick" was common (I was called that myself many times).

"Black Irish" was another, for any dark-haired, brown-eyed Irish.

Paper grocery bags were called "Irish luggage".


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Response to JimGinPA (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 03:49 PM

10. On a trip to England in the early 80's, we mentioned to the cab driver

that we were going to Scotland, Wales, and then to Ireland.

He said, "why would you want to go to Ireland?"

We said, "why not?"

He said, "You know they're called the Black Irish. Nothing to see there."

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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:23 PM

5. I don't think that it was "loose women"

"Irish Pennant" is an old naval term for a rope/line/thread/etc. that was out of place. In the British Navy of the time, the Irish were almost always pressed men with little to no nautical skills (and thus often presented themselves and their work in a sloppy/disheveled manner). The perception that it was their Irish-ness that made them sloppy (rather than their lack of experience) stuck.

Knowing how many of our phrases come from nautical terms of the era ("devil to pay" "three sheets to the wind" "cut of his jib" "above board" "cut and run" "Dutch courage"... and even "Filibuster" ), that would be my guess for anything out of place that gets called "Irish".



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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:31 PM

6. I recently heard someone say it's pointless to buy a 2 seat car

if married to an Irish Catholic woman. Because you know you're going to need lots more seats real soon (Irish be having babies).

Dude was German American and it was during a work meeting about budget and resource allocation. It blows my mind whenever I hear someone these days saying racist things about other white people.

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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:32 PM

7. Don't get your Irish up, bobbieinok!

being raised in an Irish family, I never thought of these as slurs per se.

lace curtain/shanty was just to distinguish bourgeoisie versus working class.

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 12:44 PM

8. Not sure mom did either. When I thought about them as an adult, it seemed they might be used as slur

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Response to maxsolomon (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:02 PM

11. Calling the police vehicle a paddy wagon (because they carried Irish criminals) is an obvious slur.

And all the variations of the N word (-- n**r) --- potato, spud, Green, etc. were slurs.

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Response to bobbieinok (Original post)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 01:00 PM

9. Sad thing is the early Irish wanted nothing to do with their fellow come lately Irish....

my family dropped the O' from their name

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #9)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:21 PM

12. My English 3x Grandmother insisted the O be dropped in order to consent to marriage

Then they got on the boat and made their way here.

They're the only ethnically, presumably homogenous white ancestors in my tree that I've found so far.

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