Have you seen those YouTube videos that poke fun of how people talk to each other? “S*** People Say” has become a genre unto itself on YouTube in the past year and most recently “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls” went viral, achieving more than 5 million hits in its first week.
Franchesca Leigh Ramsey, star of the two-minute videoblog “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls”, dons a white wig and poses as a white girl talking to her black friend. The opening line, “Not to sound racist, but…” kicks things off in a way that has some people shocked and other people laughing. For me, “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls” is hilarious and reminds me of “Irish-humour”. What I mean to say is that Ramsey’s spoof is the kind of humour that lets us see the good, the bad and the ugly in ourselves without feeling completely offended. Something the Irish are very good at.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
Franchesca’s videoblog has not gone over well with everyone. For those easily offended, she has added this disclaimer, “Now, before you get all upset and call me a racist, This is a parody of th(e) video ‘S*** Girls Say’.”. Fair enough. Sometimes people are not good at seeing themselves as they really are – they only see themselves as how they hope they are. Myself included. I’m pretty sure I’ve said one or two things Franchesca says as the white girlfriend to my black friends (mea culpa)!
So, what does all this have to do with Irish and American people? Well, Franchesca’s blog immediately made me think of the stuff I’ve heard Irish people say about Americans and, similarly, the stuff I’ve heard Americans say about the Irish over the past twenty-one years. What follows is not for the faint of heart so if you’re easily offended…here’s my disclaimer “This is not meant to stereotype all Irish or American people. It’s about SOME Irish and SOME American people. If you’re offended, then maybe you need to think about things you’ve said.”. Enough said.
“Stuff Irish People Say”:
“You can’t be American, you’re not fat!” - The assumption is that all Americans are fat because our portion sizes are about the size of Texas (sad but true). For the record, not all Americans are fat.
“Of course you’d get married here, Americans don’t believe in marriage.” Yes, the high divorce rate makes it seem like Americans don’t believe in marriage but you can’t paint everyone in an entire country with the same brush. I didn’t get married in Ireland because Americans don’t believe in marriage. I got married in Ireland because that’s where we were living.
“We don’t have gay people in Ireland.” - Really? How about Anna Nolan, Colm O’Gorman, Sinead O’Connor (for a while, that is), Oscar Wilde, Boy George (Irish/English),and Nell McCafferty to name a famous few.
“Why would a black person want to live in Ireland? Sure, just look at the weather.” - This was a shocker of a statement and, in fairness, it came from someone I met way back in my early days of living in Dublin, when there literally were very few blacks living there. Today it’s quite the melting pot.
“Look what Americans did to the Indians (native American).” - Emmm, I believe those were Europeans coming to America who did that.
“How come your toilet doors don’t go all the way down to the floor?” – You know, I haven’t a clue.
“Why do you Americans always say, “have a nice day”? – Because we mean it.
“We’re better educated than Americans are.” – Perhaps, but it doesn’t get Irish people any further in life than us less well-educated “Yanks”.
Stuff Americans Say:
“Have you seen any leprechaun?” – Really? That’s just totally ignorant.
“I just love the I.R.A. Can you get me one of their flags?” – Right…you do know the IRA flag is the Irish tricolour!
“How long does it take you to drive to England?” - Well, I have to drive to Dun Laoghaire, put my car on the ferry, and then we sail over the Irish Sea.
“Sure, I know Ireland. It’s part of the United Kingdom, right?” - Uhhh, no. Once and for all…the United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, and the six counties that make up Northern Ireland (shown in yellow in the photo to the right). The Republic of Ireland, also just known as Ireland, is not part of England, the United Kingdom or Great Britain (or whatever part of the U.K. you want to use).
“Do you have electricity in your house?” – Again I reply, “Do I really look like someone who’d live in a house without electricity?” See above picture for the obvious answer.
“Is there really a pipe going from the Guinness factory to all the pubs?” – It’s an urban legend.
So there you have it! Hope this made you laugh and shake your head and maybe, just maybe, it’s reminded you to think twice before you ask something that might be considered racist.