The Public Interest

Black Gold and Black Capitalism

Anthony H. Pascal

Spring 1970

MINORITY groups which have not achieved dominance of an industry or economic specialty have not made it in American society. The prominent role of the Jews in communications, entertainment and in the garment trade is obvious to the point of cliché Greek restaurants, Chinese laundries, the concentration of Middle Eastern nationalities in the rug business- all form part of the same phenomenon. The produce business and construction in America have long had significant Italian influence and the mass media suggest that they are over-represented in organized crime. As for the Irish, their important role in the government of many cities, in the staffing of police forces and fire departments, may be declining as the group becomes increasingly indistinguishable from the larger population. But dominance was achievable when the position of the Irish required it; I hope to show that in fact this earlier dominance helped bring Irish-Americans to the point where it could be sloughed off in favor of superior opportunities.

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