As America’s melting pot rapidly cools, citizens are rushing to align themselves with their proper tribe and then petition the government for special treatment to redress historical grievances. While blacks, American Indians, and Hispanics already bear the governmental imprimatur of the oppressed, Asians made a key step toward achieving official victim status in 1992 by getting the United States Commission on Civil Rights to issue a 233-page report that outlines myriad injustices. And at the City University of New York, one of the largest public universities in the country, one victim group entitled to preferential treatment to remedy “past discrimination” is—the Italians. Only in New York.

In considering this phenomenon, it occurred to me that virtually the only ethnic group that has not made a claim for victim status is the one that has been the most oppressed throughout history—my own. In fact, the average American is so insensitive to our plight that we are often confused with and referred to as “Anglos,” as profound an ethnic slight as could possibly be given. Today, let’s set the record straight: Don’t Call Me Anglo. I am an Oppressed Celt.

The Celts were the Original Europeans, those who settled the Continent from the Atlantic to Germany, from Northern Italy to Britain and Ireland. The primary descendants of the once-great Celtic nation are the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and the Bretons, and so Americans who trace their heritage to any of these folks have a blood claim to historical oppression. Celtic-Americans are entitled to join the fight on this continent for Celt rights and demand government-enforced preferential treatment just like other successful ethnic victims.

The first thing the Celts have to do is get touchy about our name. Based on our ancient language, we should prefer Celts with a hard “c,” unlike the Boston Celtics basketball team, which not only mispronounces our name, but also is a classic example of insensitive Celtic stereotyping. According to the Boston logo, the Celt is sly and short, smokes cigars, and wears funny hats. This is ethnic slander, as proved by my own family: while I may fit all four parts of the description, my mother only smokes a cigar on Christmas and at least two of her hats are not funny in the least. I hope the Oregon newspaper that refuses to identify the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and Washington Redskins by their offensive nicknames will show similar sensitivity to the plight of the Celts next time the Portland Trailblazers go to Boston.

And what a plight it is, even though many Celtic-Americans do not know how oppressed they are. To borrow from that great Celt, the Irish King Diarmaid, “To every cow her calf”—and for Celts, it is way past milking time.

The key requirement for victim status is oppression, and the Celts have a fine history of losing major battles. In the Battle of Alesia in 52 B.C., Julius Caesar defeated the Celts in what is now central France, and the Romans began pushing us north and west. Then the Celts took it from the Big White Worldwide Oppressor, the Anglo-Saxon. (Bear in mind that the legendary King Arthur was a Celt fighting the invading Saxons.) While warring almost continuously with the Anglo-Saxons, the Celts were also invaded by Vikings, Danes, and Normans. The Anglos ultimately defeated all the local Celtic tribes: our Cornish Celtic brothers succumbed in the sixth century, the last true Prince of Wales was Llewellyn II in 1282, the Irish have been a colony on and off for 800 years or so, and the Scots got whipped once and for all at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Meanwhile, on the Continent, the Bretons lost their independence in 1488 and were later slaughtered by the French during the Revolution. Throughout recent history, the Celts were the team that everybody wanted to play.

But oppression alone will not qualify you for victim status in America—your culture must have seen better days. For Celts, our Golden Age was 2,000 years ago when we ruled Europe. Today, well, let’s just say that the unspeakable Irish songstress Sinead O’Connor is probably the most prominent Celtic cultural icon in the world. In the not-so-distant past, if a visiting foreign scold like Sinead O’Connor refused to allow the host country’s national anthem to be played before her performance (as she did in New Jersey) or ripped up a picture of the Pope in public (as she did on television), the locals would subject her to public ridicule by cutting off all her hair and parading her around. Miss O’Connor’s curious grooming accomplishes such sport on its own, but what about a good dousing?

Americans are also impressed if the hopeful victims have a claim for historical justice that is so broad in scope as to be virtually unappeasable without great transfers of land and wealth. While our ultimate goal is the return of Greater Celtia (which is, roughly, all of Western Europe), here in America we want a homeland—New Celtia. After all, St. Brendan of Ireland discovered America in the sixth century, way before Christopher Columbus, the Vikings, or the Africans (as some now claim). That leaves the Indians, and we’re happy to split it with them. To show how reasonable Celts are, we’re willing to divide the country in two over the next ten years or so, but in the meantime America can start making amends for our oppression by giving us Georgia; nice climate, lots of good bars in Savannah, and a pretty good baseball team in Atlanta. In the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, we can showcase Celtic culture like the Catalonians did in Barcelona in 1992, introducing the world to traditional Celtic games like the Dead Enemy Warrior Head Toss or the Two Liter Hootch Distillation Marathon, where contestants can use only fresh mountain water and a spadeful of peat.

Another major factor for American ethnic victims is whether the ancient culture is politically correct by 1990’s standards. Celts were the original treehuggers—we literally worshipped oaks. And Celtic women like Boudicea didn’t sit at home and bake cookies—she led an armed revolt against the Romans in Britain in the first century, her red hair flowing and her hands bloody with gore, ultimately killing herself rather than surrendering to the Centurions. It is not hard to imagine Boudicea in today’s world as a National Abortion Rights Action League organizer and member of the Hemlock Society.

Finally, Americans will not roll out the gold for you on the basis of guilt and admiration alone—there must be some element of a threat to the peace if the ethnic group’s demands are not met. Europeans know that the Celts can get nasty on issues of ethnic self-determination: Breton nationalists planted over 200 bombs in France in the late 1970’s (including ten bombs at Versailles), the Scottish separatist movement of recent years has at times exceeded the bounds of decent political discourse, and the Irish are still hurling bombs at the English. If we can get Celtic radicals and rap groups to espouse murder, violence, and other kinds of civic irresponsibility on our fair shores, then the sky’s the limit. In America today, if official victims engage in senseless riot driven by greed and avarice, it can be passed off as an uprising by the oppressed and will cause the official guilt machine to spit tax dollars out at the victim. Pretty neat trick.

True, if Celts get “affirmative action” our achievements will be tarnished by the sneaking suspicion that we are unqualified for our positions. We may engender ethnic animosity where none existed before, as good-hearted Anglos are displaced by Celts solely by virtue of our historical grievances. We will in essence be asking an innocent generation to pay a blood debt incurred in antiquity, and we may irreversibly damage the fabric of the American ethic of equal opportunity by advocating the idea that who you are is less important than what you are.

But Celtic-Americans should realize that tribal identity is the future in America, as indeed it may be throughout the world. The Cold War is over, and America seems bound to drop its old habits and join the New World Order. Instead of believing in quaint notions of unifying Americanness, the United States is set to look in the coming century toward other countries that it may be destined to resemble, such as Lebanon, Yugoslavia, and the former Soviet republics. It’s time for the slumbering tribes to wake up and face the future, which is unfolding before our disbelieving eyes.