At a time when the Irish American community of Rockland is able to gather for the first time in two years to honor their patron St. Patrick and celebrate the contributions that Irish immigrants have made to our nation, the Ancient Order of Hibernians are shocked and outrage that a local business, Bella Gianna’s of Congers, has decided to engage in advertising featuring the lowest forms of stereotypes targeting the Irish.
The ad, which was featured not once, but twice, on the Bella Gianna’s Facebook page, features a leprechaun in a state of inebriated collapse clutching a beer next to a spilled bowl of “Lucky Charm’s” cereal. It would be hard to conceive how any more defaming prejudicial tropes could be crammed into one graphic.
The St.Patrick of faith is an object of veneration for millions. The St. Patrick of history was the first European voice to denounce slavery. St. Patrick’s day should be a day when we honor the contributions that Irish American men and women have made to our community, and no where so then in Rockland, not engaging in the prejudicial stenotypes that were used to justify anti-Irish prejudice. There is no more place for this ad in connection with St. Patrick’s Day than an image of an intoxicated Speedy Gonzales with a bottle of tequila and a bag of Doritos promoting Cinco de Mayo
If diversity and respect is to have any meaning, it must be all inclusive, we can not be outraged at stereotypes targeting one group while shrugging off those aimed at another as a joke.