We're sure you've had this argument before. You are talking about how indigenous people suffered genocide, oppression, and other atrocities, only to have some settler pooh pooh it with a tale about how white people also suffered - particularly the Irish, who were slaves treated worse than African chattel slaves - and your indigenous ancestors' suffering was nothing by comparison.
Well, that is complete rubbish! Because the the Idea Of Irish "slavery" can be tracked down to a Holocaust denier's book.
It's hard not to notice all the memes on various Facebook pages pushing the myth that Irish people were also once enslaved - especially during Native American heritage month or Black History Month, so how come you never hear their descendants complaining about it? Probably because they weren't slaves, and you fell for a stupid, racist meme.
While the Irish certainly had it rough and were an exploited underclass, they were not slaves, and by no measure did they have it "worse" than indigenous or black people.
The practice of slavery was highly specific and unique in world history. It was chattel slavery based on race, and it was hereditary, meaning that blacks weren't forced to work for a set period of time like other groups -- it was supposed to last for generations and generations, until the Earth crumbled.
Indentured servants, on the other hand, might have been exploited, but they were at least seen as people, not property. Plus, after you gained freedom, you also gained equality before the law. Hell, Ben Franklin was an indentured servant, and he did pretty well.
It's not a coincidence that you mostly see "I'm not racist, but" people sharing the idea of Irish suffering as a way to negate the real suffering of indigenous and Black people. Irish historian Liam Hogan tracked down this myth to a 1990s book by Holocaust denier Michael A. Hoffman II, which was a big hit in white supremacist circles.
In 2000, the myth was given more credibility by a book called To Hell Or Barbados, written by a non-historian who unfortunately wasn't too clear on the definition of "slavery." He also claimed, with zero evidence, that the Irish were branded like cattle, and that Irish women were sold to "stud farms" for breeding purposes, among other exciting and false details.
Anyway, we're sure this clarification will make the people who shared these memes with no ulterior racist motives stop at once! But on second thought, it probably won't.
Adapted from Cracked.com