Editor's Note: Our column on plastic paddies got a huge response. Here one Irish-born respondent Colm Maguire writes about why Irish Americans are seen as plastic paddies.
Well it would be great if Americans would just be Americans and stop living in a divided society that clings to a culture that is dead, and that belonged to your great great grandfather.
I will tell you why plastic paddy exists.
Not because you live in America. Because you dye your beer and rivers green.
Because you trace your presidents back to obscure points on the map, purely for votes, and you have the mindset that still uses the term American Indian. They are Native Americans or First nation or whatever. As long as you permit people to run around and use terms like redskin, and American Indian, you won't really be respecting Ireland, and it's people either.
That is what a plastic paddy is. Someone who has the idea of Ireland that it's John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, or Darby O’ Gill and the little people.
We don't say “Top of the Morning” to you, we never did. We don't dress in green and say begorrah and we are not all alcoholics and street fighters. Absolutely be proud of your heritage, I am an ex pat, and I love my country. But my children, they are Irish in name not in practice. My grandchildren might even identify with Ireland, but I would never force on them an identity.
Plastic paddy exists, and it's derogatory because plastic paddys are derogatory to Irish people. Plastic paddys are about as Irish as Obama is African or Irish for that matter.
Enjoy your heritage, but get what you are instead of claiming what you are not.