While most people were frolicking in the streets, pubs, and bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, one “No Irish Pub” paid their tribute to the holiday by reminding the United States how the country treated Irish in the past.
The pub wasn’t real, but was set up in Detroit, Michigan by Dan Margulis to portray the bitter racism Americans treated the Irish with so many years ago. As folks partied around them in bright green and pretended to be Irish, the fake pub rejected anyone who claimed to be Irish or wore the iconic color.
“On a day when everyone is proclaiming solidarity with an immigrant group … we wanted them to feel what it was like to be treated like an Irish immigrant … years ago in this country, and hopefully that would get them to think about the way we treat current immigrant groups,” Margulis told the Irish Central.
As expected, many people got angry over the “No Irish Pub,” and hidden cameras were on hand to capture footage of their reactions. You can view those in the above video. Brochures were also handed out along the street and inside the pub so folks understood what was happening.
For Margulis, this wasn’t just about sending a message about Irish immigrants. It was also about DREAMers and the struggles they’re facing under the current administration.
“The general sentiment (is) that we’re becoming more and more anti-immigrant. As we got closer to a day that celebrates immigrants, I thought if those two things collided, I thought maybe it’s a way to get people to think about how we act today.”
Shedding light on how we used to treat the Irish could be a strong symbol of how immigrants should be treated today. In the past, Irish were reviled and hated in this country, but we’ve grown to love them and turn one of their biggest religious holidays into a day of festivities. We already celebrate significant days in other cultures, Cinco de Mayo being a chief example. Why can’t we treat immigrants from these countries the same way we treat the Irish today?
In the case of immigrants in the United States, it really does seem like hindsight is 20-20.