We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
McArdle: "Why was I so glad to read that my ancestors had, in fact, faced nasty discrimination? It's a reaction that needs scrutiny. It's an echo of what happens when activists go looking for outrages..."
It's ironic that this is used to somehow prove discrimination. The Irish during this period flooded into Eastern cities and quickly formed into gangs and other "unions". They did more then drink and brawl, they robbed and murdered and they discriminated. The sign was not simple "discrimination" it was simply an attempt to keep the panhandlers, neer do wells and gangs out of stores and bars. It was/is no different then the signs we see today "no shirt, no shoes, no service". To blame this on religion or the "elite" totally misses what happened. Most Americans at that time could care less about either the Irish or catholics but the Irish and catholics wanted accomodations made for their beliefs. Not suprisingly this lead to individual conflicts. But those conflicts had nothing to do with the "No Irish Need Apply" signs. Two different issues.
The author may be able to sell this today and to people who never lived in the North East but it is a fairy tale. Lets discuss the inability of non-irish to get into law enforcement and fire fighting. Or the unions which banned non-catholics. All of this was common (and still exists) in the early 20th century.
Lost in all this is that there were large numbers of Protestant Irish that also emigrated to America (although I think more initially went to Canada). They were affected by the Famine just like the Catholics. But in the United States, it is the Catholics that always get the coverage.
It was certainly easier to assimilate once they got to Canada or America, but it wasn't all easy for the Protestants either. On my mother's side, her Protestant Irish ancestor, a young boy at the time, emigrated to Newfoundland with his family. Most of the family, including the mother and several siblings, died on the voyage from cholera caused by over-crowding and poor sanitary conditions (cholera was then commonly referred to as the "Irish Disease"). We still have the Bible that was carried during that voyage that records the deaths.
We also focus in on the conditions of the Irish in places like New York. Things were far different in places like San Francisco, where the Irish, mostly Catholic but some Protestant, pretty much ruled the roost in the 19th century. The same was true for a lot of the rest of California as well.
Would love to hear more about your ancestors Newfoundland experience.
I was born on Mother's Day in St.John's Newfoundland in 1944 and was brought up in a very strong Irish Catholic family and educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. I think I was at the cutting edge of a renaissance movement when mother said I shouldn't be playing with certain friends (referred as dirty blacks) I rebelled and stuck with my friends one of whom's mother thanked me in tears when I stood by him when all his "friends" deserted him.
The other side of the coin is my father went to his grave not knowing that he wouldn't have been hired by Bowering Brothers if the owner had known that the personal manager had given him the job in spite of being an Irish Catholic. Death bed confession! Long story but not for here.
I live by Robbie Burns dictum,"A man's a man for a" that."
Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.
Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.
A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
Here in boston, ma, my ancestors were of Irish, Scottish and German blood. The stories my older relatives told about the discrimination practiced here in boston, were very informative and personally experienced or seen by my ancestors.
More currently, I have seen it on display in the brahmin enclaves of the country clubs north of the city. It is fascinating to see and hear the distaste still shown for the Irish here in Boston, MA.
There are no "brahmin" enclaves north of Boston. There are of course Indians (from India) allover the U.S. and they do tend to perfer their own kind and not people not of their own kind, but that is what groups who hyphenate do (as in irish-American). Probably your older relatives exaggerated since Irish was a majority minority in that area and it was the Irish who discriminated. It was difficult to get a job as a policeman unless you were Irish and ditto for fireman. Certain unions discriminated against the non-Irish. It is normal to only see the real or imagined harm to yourself and your tribe and be blind to the harm you and your tribe cause.
Yes there was discrimination against the Irish AND by the Irish. Yes there was discrimination against the Jews AND by the Jews. Yes there was discrimination against the Greeks, Italians and Germans AND by the Greeks, Italians and Germans. Yes there was discrimination against the catholics AND most certainly by the catholics. You can cite discrimination out of context if that is what you need to do to prop up your ego but doing so is to lie.