King's College London
The history of marginalised groups’ political behaviour in the United States is very peculiar, and perfectly exemplifies how fickle racial categories are. The sign ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’ still hung from shop walls and pub windows a mere 50 years ago. Seen as a “Catholic race”, inherently “simian, bestial, lazy and riotous”, the notoriously fair-skinned Irish were, for a long time, excluded from the club of whiteness.
Richard Daley was President of the Hamburgs and Chicago Mayor. In Philadelphia, under William "Bull" McMullen, leader of the Killers, the police force became 76% Irish. In New York City, Irish gangsters ensured that Fernando Wood was elected mayor and within 5 years the NYC fire department was 75% Irish as well. This allowed the Irish to conveniently continue their rivalry with Black people systematically and with less trouble. Through their positions, they were able to enforce white supremacy with the intention of clearing a space for themselves within it, at which they ultimately succeeded.
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