Heathen Ethnicity Project
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Mattias Gardell is a professor of religious history at the University of Stockholm's Center for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations.
Tomorrow is Columbus Day in the United States. Like many other countries in "the Americas," we still mark this day, officially and otherwise. Celebrations of the efforts of Columbus usually erase the horrors of what he and his men did to indigenous peoples, thereby erasing as well the indigenous peoples themselves.
If the grand jury investigating the white-on-black violence during the 1919 race riot in Chicago is to be believed, Irish American gangs played a central role in attempting to extend the bloodshed. Members of Ragen's Colts, one of the leading gangs, disguised themselves in blackface in order to set fire to Polish and Lithuanian neighborhoods in the Back of the Yards area.
Many films that do not seem to address issues of race or ethnicity are in fact doing the work of defining and fortifying such categories.
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