Irish Teen Refused Teacher’s Request To Share Culture With Her Classmates, Feels She Is Being Stereotyped

An Irish expat gained online attention for her tale of facing stereotypes in the US, where her teacher treated her like a ‘show pony’.

She Moved From Dublin

dublin

The original poster, a 16-year-old female, had recently moved from Dublin, Ireland, to a small town in the South of the United States.

She Missed Home in Ireland

irish dancers

Her parents had found better work opportunities than what they had been offered back home, but unfortunately, she didn’t really want to be there, missing the family and friends they had left behind in Dublin.

Her Classmates Annoyed Her

red haired woman bored

As soon as OP entered her new high school, classmates began asking her stereotypical questions about life in Ireland.

OP found herself rolling her eyes at silly questions such as “Have you ever seen a leprechaun?” and “Do you all live in little stone cottages and wear buckled shoes?”

Her Appearance Didn’t Help

red haired woman studying

Her appearance also oozed the stereotypical look; she had red hair, freckles, and pale skin, with a thick Irish accent to top it all off. She said many people had requested quotes from the Lucky Charms mascot or the character from Austin Powers.

She Was Asked To Share Her Culture In Front of The Class

red haired woman arms folded

When it came time for a history class that focused on international cultures, the teacher asked OP to share about Ireland. Feeling as though she was being used as a “show pony,” OP refused to agree with the request.

She Was Frustrated

red haired woman annoyed

According to OP on social media, “My culture, my country, is not some display to be touted out like this… We’re not stuck in the 1700s farming sheep and sh**; we have cities and internet and health care, and we’re a fully evolved society. It isn’t my job to teach her class.”

Interestingly enough, when another student had moved there three years prior from Mexico, the teacher hadn’t asked them to participate in any such cultural sharing.

Was She Wrong?

teacher scolding

Following the incident, the school wanted to have a meeting with OP and her parents concerning her well-being.

OP felt slighted by the teacher’s actions and questioned if she was wrong for not wanting to be used in such a way. It seemed like she was being unfairly treated because of her nationality.

Reactions on Social Media

social media likes

One Irish person who was in a similar situation could relate. “They’re uncultured and don’t even realize it,” they admitted, their comment garnering 5,700 ‘upvotes’. “But this is your time to show them what Ireland is really like. And dispel their small world view.”

“You should just do a presentation on how good free healthcare is,” another person said.

“And the lack of school shootings. Then onto how they’re flag shaggers and the weird pledge of allegiance,” another person chimed in.

Stereotyping Happens

social media

Another expat could relate. “I wish you luck. People stereotyping your home country, whether in a good or bad light, must be the most annoying thing about being an expat.” The response received 1,700 upvotes.

They Shared Their Advice

red haired woman 1

One teacher shared her advice. ” I recommend you tell the teacher/administrator exactly what you put here… that others have been unkind because of your heritage,” they said. “And then apologize for being rude to the teacher.”

“Tell her that when she asked you to participate, all that other stuff was going through your head, and you want to be seen by your classmates as more than just the Irish girl.”

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This article, Irish Expat Felt Like a “Show Pony” in the US: Was She Wrong For Refusing to Share Her Culture? was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Our article has been inspired by Reddit and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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