I have had a number of conversations with colleagues who, upon hearing my name, were quick to say that it was a bit of a joke.
It was not, they said, that I am a racist or sexist.
Rather, I am an Irish person who loves Ireland and the culture.
The problem, they went on, is that, in my eyes, the term “Irish” is a racial slur.
It has become so ingrained in our collective psyche that it no longer has any meaning.
For me, it’s been more than a joke to have people use my name as a slur to try to belittle me, to degrade me.
I am very proud of the Irish people, they say.
I think it is important to recognize that.
But to say you hate them, that’s an insult, to try and belittle them, is to try the hardest thing you can to take away from them.
So, I don’t think it’s the Irish, or Irish people specifically, who should be offended by this.
I do think that in our culture, a person who is Irish has to be given the benefit of the doubt.
And in my mind, the benefit is very much there.
To be a good comedian is to take the piss out of people.
To have someone use your name as an insult because you don’t agree with something you say, that is a huge, huge thing.
That is why I feel so angry.
It’s not just a slur.
That word is so embedded in our consciousness that it can be a very, very powerful, very damaging word.
It can be something that is very, really, very dangerous.
So when I hear people who are not Irish use it, it hurts.
It is hurtful.
It hurts to see someone who has been in my life, who I’ve known for a long time, who’s been my friend for a very long time using that word as an accusation, and being called a racist, sexist, racist.
It really hurts to me.
It feels very, extremely, very hurtful, and I just can’t accept that it’s okay to do that.
So I think that the Irish are a lot more likely to use the word “sputums” and, more importantly, “suntan” or “skelly” in reference to Irish people.
But in a sense, it is okay to use that word.
When people who have never been in our lives use it and it’s not offensive to them, then that’s fine.
But when someone has lived in our country for years and has been raised in our communities, it should be offensive to anyone, including those who are Irish, because that’s not what it means to be Irish.
To me, that word is just an insult and it should not be used in that way.
If it is, it needs to be changed.
When you are a comedian, you should be able to be offensive.
If you’re not, you are not a comedian.
And when you are, you’re going to get called racist, and it hurts me a lot, because the words that I use are so hurtful to people who look like me.
The word “Irish,” as a derogatory term, is something that has been with us for a really long time.
It seems to be something we can’t change.
So it’s time to stop saying it, and start using the word, instead.
This post originally appeared on Daily Kos.