Unofficial promoter is disrespecting Irish culture

After four years of living through Unofficial and after reading the letter to the editor by Alex Barreto, who insists that the University is merely interested in shutting down the “holiday” only because they are not profiting from it, I have had enough.

Of course, I am giving Barreto the benefit of the doubt that he was not a student here when the death of the young woman on the “holiday” became a concern for local and University authorities and that he is not aware at all of the dangers of binge drinking, but has anyone recognized the racist connotations applied to this disgusting 24-hour drink-fest?

As an Irish-American, this idea of “Irishness” sickens me, and anyone who is Irish and participates in this event should be ashamed of themselves. When I was being raised by two Irish immigrants, the issue of drinking and drunkenness in association with our culture was never discussed.

But, who are my parents to know what better encapsulates the idea of Irishness better than U of I students and Scott Cochrane?

Why do I have to deal with the ubiquitous “Oh, you must love drinking!” every time someone finds out that I am Irish?

Why ignore the rich history, literature, music, and folklore? (By the way, a leprechaun is a hard-working fairy who makes shoes and does not drink. You must be thinking of the clurichaun, a drunken fairy bent on causing mischief, but of course you all knew that, right?)

Of course, this ignorance concerning Irish culture and history does not surprise me, considering I had a U of I teacher tell my class that the reason the Irish Famine happened was because “the Irish put all their eggs in one basket and depended solely on the potato as sustenance.” Whoops! Our bad! How stupid of the Irish to let the English ship tons of their livestock, grain, and other foodstuffs out of Ireland and leave the people to starve!

Not like they had the choice, given the harsh Penal Code and landowning laws back then.

Mr. Cochrane, if you really want to make money, why only target the Irish?

Why not, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, pick something terribly stereotypical of African-Americans and create racist T-shirts for that weekend?

Or the whole month of Ramadan can be changed into an orgy of drinking (my Pakistani brother-in-law would LOVE that one).

If those ideas sound ludicrous, it’s because Unofficial is as well, and if this American culture insists on being racially sensitive, then we must fairly treat each creed and culture the same way.

In addition to drinking, alcohol poisoning, and trouble with the police and the University, why can’t students of this institution refuse to celebrate this embarrassment of a “holiday” and spurn the idea of being drunken louts who insist on remaining ignorant of true Irish culture?

Noelle Folan

Senior in FAA