Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1997-12 > 0881647058


From: Billshau29 <>
Subject: Re: Meaning of Scotch-Irish
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 00:57:38 EST


In a message dated 97-12-08 21:01:03 EST, NStrands writes:

<< Is Pittsburgh really so fragmented? Living in Minneapolis, I see a
friendly rivalry among Danes, Swedes and Norwegians (most of whose ancestors
came here a mere 100 or so years ago) but much cooperation too. The rivalry
is mostly a jokey kind of thing.
>>

Nikki:

When you talk of fragmentation in Pittsburgh, you must consider several
types, and at least two definitive points in time.

In the time frame prior to 1945 (the end of World War II), ethnic
fragmentation was at its peak - mixed marriages (those between individuals of
different nationalities) were rare, although they did occur. Neighborhood
boundaries (all 85 or so) were basically fixed. Each neighborhood contained
its own nationality, or nationalities, and this held basically regardless of
social class. There was a reasonaly friendly competition between
neighborhoods, but there were also tendicies for "furriners to keep the heck
out". As far as young people of differing backgrounds getting together and
dating, the school delineation pretty well handled it.

It is quite a different situation since 1945. The ethnic fragmentation
is not only gone, it is gone to the point that it is really detrimental. The
old ethnic customs and values are gone and are not expected to return. The
neighborhoods (we still have the same number) have extremely insular. They
want everything for themselves, and too heck with other areas. The net result
of this insular behavior is that the City of Pittsburgh is virtually broke -
morally as well as financially.

The one thing that has not changed in close to 200 years is the animosity
between the Irish and the Scots (Scotch). In the early days of the city, the
Scots had the money, and did not hesitate to use it. They did, without
question, fully control the steel industry which started in the mid to late
1700's, and reached its peak during the years of World War II. The Irish took
a somewhat different path. They started by gaining control of the city's
political system, and then went to work acquiring the city's minor
manufacturing facilities. By 1900, there was a definite Scot "aristocracy",
and,also an Irish "aristocracy. In terms of dollars which accrued to these
"aristocratic" families, the Irish overall did a lot better than the Scots.
Yes, there were names like Carnegie and Frick, but there were many, many
Irishmen.

Not sure if I've addressed your comment in the manner you expected. The
City of Pittsburgh, like every other northern industrial city in this country,
is an extremely complex socialogical entity. There just are not quick
answers.

Bill Shaughnessy

This thread: