As a white Irishman, we’ve been given a pretty awesome stereotype in movies as being tough guys who love to drink, fight, watch sports and run the Boston mafia. We stay drunk from March 1-March 31st, and have no shame in our actions, as we like to white knuckle any emotion and drown it down with brown. The other thing most people think is we’re all stubborn racists. Now that’s a lot of stereotypes, most of which are true, I for one am already gearing my liver up for the month of March for the binge drinking and leprechaun hunting
Us being racists however, that was always something that was an inherited attribute from older generations, which I won’t lie, they probably hated the color of the room when the lights went out. Times have changed though and I’d like to think that our people have become more tolerant of others, sad it has to be stated that way, but it’s true.
Which of course leads us to one of our brightest Irish icons, Hollywood tough guy, but also charismatic charmer, Michael Collins himself, Liam Neeson. This man has lost his daughter in movies multiple times and always made people pay for it without having Child Protective Services called on him, and somehow has carved himself a niche as a leading tough guy in Hollywood. Prior to Taken he wasn’t thought to be as badass as he is now, but he always had a sense of toughness about him. Side effect of too much whiskey and potatoes. He was always thought to be a good guy though, someone we can look up to.
Of course now he’s labeled a racist. Or labeled an old Irish racist. Which is a bit premature and extreme to me. If you don’t know, his comments that’s got the twitter vigilantes after him were- He found out his friend had been raped, he asked her who did it and was told a black man. That’s all she knew about the guy. This hit the classic fightin’ Irish switch in him to the ol’ “on” position and he literally began walking the street looking for a black guy, ANY black guy, to beat the living shit out of, out of retaliation. A “you hurt one of ours, we’ll kill one of yours mentality”. Also- the “my friend was raped and I want revenge” mentality, kinda like you’d see in many of his movies. Kinda also like any sane person would feel.
This lasted about a week, and he came to his senses, realizing that looking to hurt any black guy out of sheer anger was wrong, racism and all, ya know? He of course felt awful about it, and is telling this story all these years later, on his own, and not because someone dug an old tweet of his up that said “gon’ go kill me a negro LOLz” but because he learned a lesson from it and felt it would be something maybe others could listen to and take something from. Sort of a noble idea.
Boy was he wrong. Does he not know what world we live in today? Any momentary lapse of judgement, no matter how many years ago, and no matter how many lessons learned, and no matter how much good has come since, will not go unpunished by twitter mobs and social justice warriors seeking the blood of anyone in their path while preaching peace and equality. We ignore the fact he told this story voluntarily, knowing it might ruffle some feathers. We ignore this was a million years ago and appears to be a singular incident, that wasn’t preceded by his own racism and definitely didn’t have lasting feelings of racism on his part. No, the people who need to cry foul and racism whenever they can have jumped on him quicker than critics did on The A-Team (zing!)
Nobody was actually hurt, minus the girl who was raped that people like to glaze over when talking about Liam Neeson’s apparent lifelong racism. He wasn’t inciting people to go out and bash black people over the head. He was simply telling a story of his own momentary feelings of hatred, while telling us about a lifetime of remorse he has for it, and probably how glad he is he didn’t succeed during that week. He didn’t seek out any black man just because he was bored, he was a pissed off Irishman with a score to settle. Had the rapist been Spanish he’d probably had hit up every Mexican joint in Ireland looking for the culprit. Side note: Does Ireland have Mexican restaurants?
Anyway, don’t tear down an Irish icon just to further an agenda. Take a step back and maybe see why he offered up this story in the first place. Liam Neeson is still a tough, lovable mick in my book.