Saint Patrick's Day Celebration

Paolo Giacomoni paologiac@gmail.com

On Saint Patrick’s Day, Americans dress in green to celebrate and remember one of the great moments of immigration from Europe. Far from being the manifestation of nationalistic feelings or of community exclusiveness, the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is a celebration of successful integration.

After years of marginalization, discrimination, derogatory prejudices and religious hatred, citizens of Irish descent in the United States crossed the boundaries of the Irish communities and stepped into the broader society. Other immigrating populations likewise have overcome the once very strong biases dictated by bigotry and preconception. Sadly, some people still are struggling against prejudice.

When describing the dream he had, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that he saw white children and black children playing together, and that they were judged not the color of their skin but by their character. In such a society those children would grow up to have equal access to employment, affordable education, social justice, and health care. In such a society there would be no need for words to define them, other than the fact that they are American citizens.

Today nobody speaks of, or thinks of themselves as, Irish-Americans. Rather, they simply are Americans. The same holds true for the once-called Italian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and German-Americans.

Let us continue to recognize our common value, so that soon enough we will all be recognized as Americans, without the need of a prefix.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Paolo Giacomoni