BY PETER F. STEVENS
Once, the Boston Irish knew what it was to be “wetbacks.” Of course, the epithets that hateful, narrow-minded Nativists and “Know Nothings” of the 1840s and 1850s employed to deride Irish immigrants were “Paddies, Bridgets, and Papists,” but in the lexicon of prejudice, those terms were, and are, interchangeable because of one ironclad trait – spiteful and willing ignorance.
In a recent edition of the Dallas Morning News, Tea Party US Senate wannabe Chris Mapp asserted that “ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border onto their land” and referred to such “anyones” as “wetbacks” while calling President Obama “a socialist son of a bitch.” Mapp added that use of the slur “wetback” is as “normal as breathing air in South Texas.” Once, that same brand of hate was as “normal as breathing air” in Massachusetts. That same fear and loathing of the “outsider,” the “newcomer,” plagued the Irish and fueled the St. Patrick’s Day Murders of 1845. Read more