Irish Americans and African Americans shared many of the same jobs--the low paying, low status jobs native whites avoided. Some historians have pointed out that tap dancing, at which African Americans have excelled, has its roots in irish dancing, which empahsizes minimal upper body movement and elaborate rhythmic footwork. The predominance of Irish surnames among African Americans points out how much the two groups shared.

This cartoonist called attention to what he saw as the similarity between Irish and African immigrants, and the possibility that in America, they would turn into each other

In this cartoon, captioned "A King of -Shanty," the comparison becomes explicit. The "Ashantee" were a well known African tribe; "shanty" was the Irish word for a shack or poor man's house. The cartoon mocks Irish poverty, caricatures irish people as ape like and primitive, and suggests they are little different from Africans, who the cartoonists seems to see the same way. This cartroon irishman has, again, the outhrust mouth, sloping forehead, and flat wide nose of the standrd Irish caricature

In this next cartoon by Thomas Nast, Irish and African Americans don't look too much alike, but they are the same in terms of their threat to the nation. The caption reads "the ignorant vote."

 

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