RNC criticized on the right for mocking 'noted Irishman' Robert Francis 'Beto' O'Rourke

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who has been trying to sell himself as Hispanic, was trolled by the Republican National Committee on St. Patrick's Day with a tweet that featured his mug shot from a 1998 drunk driving arrest and hinted that his Irish heritage had something to do with his drinking.

Washington Examiner:

"On this St. Paddy's Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O'Rourke," the post said, which featured his mugshot with a leprechaun hat atop his head, along with the message "Please drink responsibly."

 

 

I am not insanely sensitive to slights of this sort.  Frankly, I don't think it's a big deal, despite being the grandson of Irish immigrants.  The hard drinking, hard fighting stereotype of the Irish has been ingrained in American culture for 150 years.  It used to be something of a source of pride among the Irish.

But making ethnic jokes about anyone is poor form these days.  The RNC got an earful from several Republicans.

"Do better, @GOP," tweeted Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who has criticized his party for its decorum during the Trump presidency.  "Be better."

Doug Stafford, an aide to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also denounced the tweet.  "If you think you're funny or clever by stereotyping and making fun of any race or nationality to score political points, you're an idiot, and you should probably not tweet," Stafford said.

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson suggested the RNC's commentary was petty and childish.  "Will an adult please take the Twitter keys away from whichever child is tweeting at the RNC?" he wrote in a Twitter post.

I think we've gone over the top in being offended by jokes.  This is borderline offensive, but hardly an occasion to call someone an "idiot" for thinking it up.  We used to be able to laugh at ourselves and each other, basing some of that humor on stereotypes because we were all familiar with them.  Irish drank a lot, Germans were industrious and serious, British had a stiff upper lip — it's how we used to think of our neighbors and ourselves.

Certainly, racial stereotypes are hurtful and should never be used.  It's painful to watch TV from the 1950s today and see the portrayal of blacks, Indians, and Asians.  But perhaps we've matured enough as a nation that ethnic stereotypes should be shelved as well.

I still think that ethnic jokes are fine, as long as they're not hurtful or demeaning.  But times have changed, and people are looking for reasons to be outraged today.  No sense in giving them what they want.

 

 

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who has been trying to sell himself as Hispanic, was trolled by the Republican National Committee on St. Patrick's Day with a tweet that featured his mug shot from a 1998 drunk driving arrest and hinted that his Irish heritage had something to do with his drinking.

Washington Examiner:

"On this St. Paddy's Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O'Rourke," the post said, which featured his mugshot with a leprechaun hat atop his head, along with the message "Please drink responsibly."

 

 

I am not insanely sensitive to slights of this sort.  Frankly, I don't think it's a big deal, despite being the grandson of Irish immigrants.  The hard drinking, hard fighting stereotype of the Irish has been ingrained in American culture for 150 years.  It used to be something of a source of pride among the Irish.

But making ethnic jokes about anyone is poor form these days.  The RNC got an earful from several Republicans.

"Do better, @GOP," tweeted Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who has criticized his party for its decorum during the Trump presidency.  "Be better."

Doug Stafford, an aide to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also denounced the tweet.  "If you think you're funny or clever by stereotyping and making fun of any race or nationality to score political points, you're an idiot, and you should probably not tweet," Stafford said.

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson suggested the RNC's commentary was petty and childish.  "Will an adult please take the Twitter keys away from whichever child is tweeting at the RNC?" he wrote in a Twitter post.

I think we've gone over the top in being offended by jokes.  This is borderline offensive, but hardly an occasion to call someone an "idiot" for thinking it up.  We used to be able to laugh at ourselves and each other, basing some of that humor on stereotypes because we were all familiar with them.  Irish drank a lot, Germans were industrious and serious, British had a stiff upper lip — it's how we used to think of our neighbors and ourselves.

Certainly, racial stereotypes are hurtful and should never be used.  It's painful to watch TV from the 1950s today and see the portrayal of blacks, Indians, and Asians.  But perhaps we've matured enough as a nation that ethnic stereotypes should be shelved as well.

I still think that ethnic jokes are fine, as long as they're not hurtful or demeaning.  But times have changed, and people are looking for reasons to be outraged today.  No sense in giving them what they want.