• Those who came to the United States didn't realize they were white until they got here. They were told they were white. They had to learn they were white. An Irish peasant coming from British imperial abuse in Ireland during the potato famine in the 1840s, arrives in the United States. You ask him or her what they are. They say, "I am Irish." No, you're white. "What do you mean, I am white?" And they point me out. "Oh, I see what you mean. This is a strange land."