“Ulster’s white Negroes”: Rhetorics of race at the start of the Troubles
Prince, S. 2024. “Ulster’s white Negroes”: Rhetorics of race at the start of the Troubles. in: Sen, M. and McCormick Weng, J. (ed.) Race in Irish Literature and Culture Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
|Editors||Sen, M. and McCormick Weng, J.|
Political activists employed a variety of racialized rhetoric at the start of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Campaigners for civil rights explicitly compared the position of Catholics to that of African Americans. By claiming solidarity with the Black struggle, they framed the conflict for international audiences, built transnational networks, and mobilized local support. Radicals within the movement went even further, embracing the ideology of the Black Panthers and calling for an analogous form of “Catholic Power.” From the early 1960s, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) used a different approach, one which adopted racialized language to represent its conflict with Britain as an anti-colonial struggle in which they claimed to “throw in our lot with Africa.” According to the IRA’s Political Education Officer, the Irish would be “the senior member” of that alliance. This “Third Worldism” had its limits, however, and, through choices in rhetoric, reinforced colonial hierarchies of power. Loyalists, on the other hand, were more explicit about the privileges they believed came with being white. In one example, after soldiers opened fire on Protestant rioters, loyalists reminded officers that “we are not wogs,” adopting a term that emphasized a common racial identification. This chapter argues that activists on different sides of the conflict used racialized language in complex, contradictory, and ambiguous ways. They developed rhetorics of race for the purpose of political expediency and to apply to situations that bore little relation to the start of the Troubles.
|Book title||Race in Irish Literature and Culture|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Output status||In press|
|Place of publication||Cambridge|
|Series||Cambridge Themes in Irish Literature and Culture|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||11 Sep 2023|
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