No Irish Need Apply

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on delicious
Delicious
Share on digg
Digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

no-irish-need-apply-daily-republican-il-7-may-1873

It is always a matter of rejoicing when bad history bites the dust:

The Internet has been buzzing about how discrimination against the Irish was a myth. All it took was a high schooler to prove them wrong.
Rebecca Fried had no intention of preserving the record of a persecuted people whose strife was ready to be permanently written off in the eyes of history as exaggerated, imagined, or even invented.

That’s because Rebecca was too busy trying to get through the 8th grade.

In 2002, University of Illinois-Chicago history professor Richard J. Jensen printed “No Irish Need Apply: A Myth of Victimization.” His abstract begins:

“Irish Catholics in America have a vibrant memory of humiliating job discrimination, which featured omnipresent signs proclaiming ‘Help Wanted—No Irish Need Apply!’ No one has ever seen one of these NINA signs because they were extremely rare or nonexistent.”

In short, those famous “No Irish Need Apply” signs—ones that proved Irish Americans faced explicit job discrimination in the 19th and 20th centuries? Professor Jensen came to the blockbuster conclusion that they never existed.

The theory picked up traction over the last decade, but seemed to reach an unexpected fever pitch in the last few months. Explainer websites this year used it to highlight popular myths of persecution complexes that are, as Vox put it, “stand-ins for an entire narrative about how immigrants are treated in America.” That’s from the lede of an article printed in March called “‘No Irish Need Apply’: the fake sign at the heart of a real movement.”

Here, of course, is the problem: After only couple of hours Googling it, Rebecca, a 14-year-old, had found out these signs had, in fact, existed all along. Not only in newspaper listings—in which they appeared in droves—but, after further research, in shop windows, too.

The Irish were persecuted in the American job market—and precisely in the overt, literally written-down way that was always believed.

All of this would have been written off as a myth if it weren’t for Rebecca Fried, a rising high school freshman—who one of the preeminent scholars on the Irish diaspora in the United States now calls a “hero” and “quite extraordinary”—and who simply couldn’t believe it, either.

Rebecca never set out to prove the thesis wrong. She was just interested in an article her dad brought home from work one day.

“Now and then I bring home stuff for the kids to read if I think they will find it interesting or will convey some lesson,” says Michael Fried, Rebecca’s father. “Half the time they don’t read them at all. Sometimes they’ll read something if I suggest it. Nothing has ever come of any of these things other than this one.”

Rebecca wasn’t even trying to disprove her dad—let alone an academic at the University of Illiniois-Chicago. She just figured she’d Google the words and see what came up over 100 years ago.

Go here to read the rest.  An ounce of research is always worth a pound of theory.

 

20150722_NINA2

More to explorer

CNN-Vanity Cable News Network

Rather like the Vanity publishing houses that publish, for a fee, the works of authors that legitimate presses will not touch, CNN

Saint of the Day Quote: Saint Teresa of Avila

There’s a time for penance, and there’s a time for partridge. Saint Teresa of Avila   The life of St. Teresa, written

PopeWatch: The Problem

Sandro Magister publishes a missionary priest who explains what has gone wrong in the missions:   Fr. Martín Lasarte Topolanski, the author

31 Comments

  1. Yeah, but nobody ever got tenure confirming what everybody else already knew.
    .
    Except maybe in climate “science.”

  2. To professor Jensen, respectfully as possible I say, piss off with ya!

    Philip Taylor Nachazel.
    Joan Taylor (Mother)
    Ona Taylor (Grandmother)
    The Taylor family from County Armagh, Ireland.

    May my grandpa Dick Taylor forgive me for not being as polite as he was to the likes of Jensen. God rest grandpa’s soul.

  3. I have Irish heritage.
    ——————

    “According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s chief test of student achievement, American students score lower in history than any other subject, and their test scores have been declining. On the history test for fourth graders, only 9 percent of students could identify a picture of Abraham Lincoln and give two reasons why he was an important figure. Most twelfth grade students did not know the main ideas and purposes of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

    We cannot remain a free country with this type of ignorance abounding, and the liberal-hate America crowd are determined to make our students even more ignorant.
    ——————–

    Defenders of the College Board’s controversial new AP U.S. History (APUSH) framework like to paint their opponents as ignorant chauvinists who want to censor the bad bits out of American history. That’s going to be awfully hard to do now that 55 distinguished historians, Americanists, and education specialists have issued a powerful condemnation of the College Board’s revisionist history. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/419192/55-scholars-protest-ap-us-history-changes-stanley-kurtz Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/419192/55-scholars-protest-ap-us-history-changes-stanley-kurtz

    http://seethruedu.com/55-distinguished-scholars-sign-protest-letter-against-the-college-boards-u-s-history-curriculum/

    ———————-

    We passed a law here in our state specifically allowing teachers to review US History as needed at the high school level, and I shared with legislators, in online forums, and before state house Ed and senate Ed committees that I felt like some of the push for the weakening of our history standards at the K-12 level were coming from the college level & the College Board, explicitly. I’m sure word got to the College Board folks. We have every intention of giving them some sound competition–I’m sure the College Board can foresee what is coming. The CB has made a surface attempt to change their standards in order to pacify those of us who are patriots–the problem is that they have been promoting anti-Americanism through such classes for as long as I have known anything about their program. I have been teaching for 25 years. Please note that re: of their “CYA” PR campaign, the College Board has not made changes to their new US History test.

    http://www.newsweek.com/revised-ap-history-standards-will-emphasize-american-exceptionalism-358210

  4. Irish immigrants were only too welcome to fight for the Union in the Civil War. The bloodshed of native Irish caused the New York draft riots with a number of black men hung from street lamp posts by angry crowds. Discrimination is not just a ‘black’ thing. I recall laughing with a black guy at work when the KKK said Catholics could be admitted. I told him we got ahead of the blacks! He was not amused.

  5. I have a colorized Harper’s illustration from 186x showing recruiters talking to Irish and German immigrants with barrels of beer at hand. A poster within the ad declares a $300 state bounty and a $300 Federal bounty to enlist. Do you have an idea how much money $600 was during the Civil War, an era when a good horse cost $20.?

  6. High bounties were the norm in the North from about 1863 on. States were able to avoid the draft if they could fill their troop quotas with volunteers. Many a business and farm was started in the North from a Civil War bounty. Veterans who reenlisted in 1864 were given bounties, which soothed men who had enlisted out of pure patriotism in 1861 and who looked down upon, while envying, “bounty men”. Bounties were not used in the South as every draft age man was subject to conscription from early 1862 on.

  7. With the latest vote in Ireland, I suspect new signs will soon be posted begging the Irish to please apply. Hollywood and Washington need you.

  8. Professor Jensen appears to prefer his own narrative over objective fact. Therefore, he
    isn’t a historian, but merely a propagandist. Another example of this creeping decadence
    in academia is Candida Moss, the ‘historian’ from Notre Dame who maintains that early
    Christians weren’t persecuted in ancient Rome, and that stories of their martyrdom
    are fabrications. Both Moss and Jensen have to ignore a lot of evidence to give their
    respective narratives plausibility.
    .
    There was a time when a serious scholar who was seen to ignore evidence that conflicted
    with his pet theory would be called out. Nowadays, with the idea that there is no objective
    truth being so prevalent in academia, historians can feel free to cherry-pick their facts
    depending on how well they support the narrative. Like so much else in our culture, history (like journalism) has gone upside-down.

  9. If this youngster’s research project was that simple to execute, it suggests Prof. Jensen’s problem was incompetence.

    Prof. Jensen is many years retired (and, I believe, was retired at the time the article was published). He was hired in 1968 three years after the establishment of a full baccalaureate program at Chicago Circle and two years before the Chicago Circle campus merged with a mess of old peri-medical professional schools to form the University of Illinois at Chicago. The place was not a research university when he was hired and had only three years earlier established itself as a baccalaureate college as opposed to a commuter campus meant as a feed for baccalaureate programs downstate. Prof. Jensen never finished his dissertation and his undergraduate degree was issued by a defunct college in Nebraska (that Sen. Paul Simon also attended). His master’s degree was in economics and he retired with the title ‘associate professor of economics’. I haven’t access to the right databases anymore, but GoogleScholar turns up a dry hole on this man, FWIW.

  10. That’s really interesting Art. The original article reports that the professor who helped the eighth grader prepare her research for publication lamented that he’d spent 13 years trying to get somebody else to join him in refuting Jensen’s research and nobody wanted to take on the new concensus. Makes you wonder what the career risk was.
    .
    Other than reverse-racism, and maybe a heaping helping of anti-Catholicism.

  11. Makes you wonder what the career risk was.

    Given that a 4th tier economics professor was able to get an article published on the subject, I’d suggest whoever was supervising her research project could have got something published if he had the goods on Jensen’s thesis. Clayton Cramer has offered that his own experience contending with journal editors has been such that he’s concluded that there are some dubious characters in gatekeeper positions in American history, but I’m not seeing which constituency they’d be defending here. Neither Irish Catholics nor old-stock-Americans have advocates in today’s academe.

  12. Neither Irish Catholics nor old-stock-Americans have advocates in today’s academe.

    That was kind of where I was heading in my rambling sort of way, i.e. nobody wanted to risk being seen as a defender of or advocate for Irish Catholics and/or old-stock-Americans, lest they be thought a Republican, or worse, a conservative Republican.

  13. Thank you for mentioning Clayton Cramer. The whole sordid Bellesiles affair is what this incident reminds of.

  14. “Clayton Cramer has offered that his own experience contending with journal editors has been such that he’s concluded that there are some dubious characters in gatekeeper positions in American history, but I’m not seeing which constituency they’d be defending here. Neither Irish Catholics nor old-stock-Americans have advocates in today’s academe.”

    However, the race baiterers & their myriad of minions have great political & financial interests in not allowing info re: the persecution of “white” races in American to be disseminated as it might allow people to realize that the black race is not the only race in the US with a troubled history.

  15. “Discrimination is not just a ‘black’ thing. I recall laughing with a black guy at work when the KKK said Catholics could be admitted. I told him we got ahead of the blacks! He was not amused.”
    ————–

    ”  We’ve all been taught the horror’s of the African slave trade. It’s in all the school books and in plenty of Hollywood movies.
       But for some reason the largest group of slaves in the British Colonies in the 17th Century doesn’t get mentioned at all: the Irish.”

    http://m.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/27/1265498/-The-slaves-that-time-forgot

  16. And, yet, the Irish in America are among the finest citizens and most patriotic Americans.
    .
    Compare the Irish experiences to dysfunctional black America. Slavery was outlawed 150 years ago. Just my hare-brained opinion on the divergences of the two groups: faith, family, personal responsibility, embracing virtue not the cardinal sins.
    .

    I am a white male. I used to jest about getting a sex reassignment surgery. I was passed over in favor of lesser experienced/qualified minority or woman candidates, say, half a dozen times. The big-company HR standard for affirmative discrimination is that the minority/woman candidate elevated can be the qualified, not the best qualified, person for the position..
    .
    “Life is not fair.” JFK

  17. There is some truth, T. Shaw and Barbara, about what you say regarding the Irish and how they’ve fared in America, remember they had their own “affirmative action” long before the Nixon adminstration started a Federal one for blacks. Sure the Irish were discriminated against by the WASP wealthy and powerful. But after their numbers (and the numbers of other (white) ethnics they could team with–Italians, Catholic Germans, etc) and acquired enough political power to take over local and city governments, who do you think got the government jobs, contracts and other largess? These folks were also free and could (and did) move to other states to find opportunities, which kept blacks out, often by law, sometimes by mere custom and local hostility. That’s how the Irish became the power behind the political machine that ruled Chicago.
    There was ALWAYS one group that, dispite their similar background of discrimination, the Irish refused to team-up with in their quest for political and economic power. Care to guess which group that would be?
    Yes, slavery was outlawed 150 years ago. But except for a brief period from 1866 to 1875, before Jim Crow and until relatively recently, black attempts to better their lot in life was met with hostility and violence by their white neighbors. Just as an example, google the Tulsa Race riots.

  18. These folks were also free and could (and did) move to other states to find opportunities, which kept blacks out, often by law, sometimes by mere custom and local hostility.

    You’ve been drinking the James Loewen Kool-Aid, which is never prudent.

    But after their numbers (and the numbers of other (white) ethnics they could team with–Italians, Catholic Germans, etc) and acquired enough political power to take over local and city governments, who do you think got the government jobs, contracts and other largess?

    1. The public sector was a great deal smaller prior to 1929 than subsequently, with the ratio of public expenditure to domestic produce about 0.1.
    ==
    2. By one account I’ve read, during the era of the spoils system (1828-84), about 20% of positions available in the federal government tended to change hands with a change of administration. Given the relative dimensions of the federal workforce at the time, you’re talking of less than 0.6% of the jobs in the labor force as a whole. The Federal civil service was instituted in 1884 and the practice of civil service examination diffused to state and local government from that point forward. By about 1955, politico-economic factors had made patronage employment ineffective for building political machines. Edward Banfield discussed why this came to be the case in one of his books.

    3. Again, the era of Eastern and Southern European migration does not antedate 1880 and by 1955 political patronage had ceased to be of consequence on a mass scale outside of Chicago and a few other loci. For 2/3 of the time intervening, 90% of the population is not working in the public sector.

    4. You might have a better argument regarding Irish Catholics, among whom mass immigration antedated that of Eastern and Southern Europeans by about 40 years. However, per Andrew Greeley, the Irish Catholic population was by about 1925 of at least as affluent as the mean. That would be a point in time 80 years after the advent of mass immigration of Irish Catholics when the population measured was being continuously augmented by new immigrant’s cohorts. For contrast, look at the Puerto Rican population today or the northern black population in 1995, both of which register well below the mean in terms of per capita income and suffer abnormal levels of social pathology.

  19. That was kind of where I was heading in my rambling sort of way, i.e. nobody wanted to risk being seen as a defender of or advocate for Irish Catholics and/or old-stock-Americans, lest they be thought a Republican, or worse, a conservative Republican.

    Um, no. Re Clayton Cramer, he was contending with an academic establishment which has certain markers which delineate in-group and out-group status. These include attitudes toward guns, sodomy, racial questions, &c. Which side you take on whether there was significant discrimination against Irish Catholics is not such a status marker and neither party in that dispute is a mascot group to any faction of the contemporary professoriate; it’s an academic question full stop. I cannot believe that if this guy had the goods he could not get it published unless he did not have any entree because he lacked professional credentials. The problem with that thesis would be that Robert Jensen also lacked credentials. American history is a problem child in the academy, but I do not think those problems have been keeping Jensen’s critics out of print.

  20. I suppose it’s possible I’ve completely understood the original article, but as I understand it Prof. Miller did have the goods on Jensen, and his goods were dismissed because he was Irish Catholic –except he wasn’t (but his wife was, so, close enough). And he couldn’t get anyone else to take up the argument until this 8th grader came along.
    .
    So it seems to me that there’s some kind of contension over in-group/out-group status within academe going on here that Miller ran afoul of, and which nobody else wanted to risk running afoul of, until a complete outsider came along and couldn’t be ignored (but whose evidence could be minimized).
    .
    And my guess is that you and Barbara Gordon have the right of it. Irish Americans aren’t Irish Americans, they’re White –so it’s impossible for them to be victims because everybody knows Whites are the oppressor class. Everybody in academia, anyways.
    .
    I suppose it’s possible nobody wanted to bother with Jensen because there’s no cachet to restoring the convention wisdom Jensen ostensibly debunked –even if the conventional wisdom was true.

  21. I suppose it’s possible I’ve completely understood the original article, but as I understand it Prof. Miller did have the goods on Jensen, and his goods were dismissed because he was Irish Catholic –except he wasn’t (but his wife was, so, close enough). And he couldn’t get anyone else to take up the argument until this 8th grader came along.

    The quotations from Prof. Miller conflate a discussion of Irish history and Irish historiography with the history of ethnic Irish in the United States. That part is confounding.

    It does not say that Prof. Miller could not get his work published. It says he was unsuccessful in persuading others to stop citing Jensen’s work as if it were correct and authoritative and that he got antagonistic questions at conference presentations. If this secondary school student’s work is so decisive, why were not his presentations decisive? Did he not locate the citations and the digitized images?

    The demonstration of Jensen’s thesis would require an abnormally thorough census of available sources, so I cannot figure why anyone would take it at face value, most particularly since the source was a rank-and-file teacher with no reputation in any discipline. I suspect if anything its indicative of how nonsense memes develop in historical ‘scholarship’. Keith Windschuttle has been writing about that in the context of Australian history.

    As for the ad hominem dismissal of Miller, the source of that was Jensen himself in a private e-mail exchange. That’s a tell, I think.

  22. So it seems to me that there’s some kind of contension over in-group/out-group status within academe going on here that Miller ran afoul of, and which nobody else wanted to risk running afoul of, until a complete outsider came along and couldn’t be ignored (but whose evidence could be minimized).

    I’m not seeing that, because it presupposes that there would be a corps of operators in the American history guild with an emotional investment in the innocence of old-stock-Americans or an issue with Irish Catholics. It would not surprise me if that’s the case with Jensen (who is not an academic or public historian), but the corruption of American history concerns fixations on race-class-and-gender and the replication of inane narratives a la Howard Zinn. This dispute is orthoganal to that.

    While we’re at it, if they could ignore Miller, they could have ignored this youngster as well, just as Clayton Cramer was ignored until James Lindgren took Bellesiles’ work apart piece-by-piece in law journals and reporters covering the education beat for Lingua Franca began to needle the historians’ guild.

  23. Given that this is a dailybeast post celebrating an 8th grader’s take down of Jensen, the guild might very well be ignoring it for all we know.
    .
    “Nonsense memes” was a good way of summarizing it. I’m a fan of Windschuttle. Mary Lefkowitz too.
    ,
    I may very well be wrong, but I don’t think race-class-gender fixations are as orthoganal to this as you do. It seems to me Jensen’ argument advances at least the race portion of the guild’s fixations: e.g. it’s a myth that the Irish were treated badly; presumably because white folk stick together or something.

  24. “And my guess is that you and Barbara Gordon have the right of it. Irish Americans aren’t Irish Americans, they’re White –so it’s impossible for them to be victims because everybody knows Whites are the oppressor class. Everybody in academia, anyways.”

    My paternal heritage is (as far back as we have found proof of): Irish Catholic, Sottish, & Cherokee.

    My maternal heritage is (as far back as we have found): English & German Catholic.

    I have sat in my classroom and listened to a Mexican student lecture me on how “we” needed to give the West back to the country of Mexico because we stole the land from Mexico. I didn’t share with my aggressive, Mexican student that my shiny black hair, black eyes, & skin that tans to a deep reddish bronze when in the sun for a while–came from my Native American heritage. He was convinced I was “white” which I assumed from his comments meant that he was assuming that all of my heritage comes from Europe. I just let him continue to think it.

    The attempt the federal gov’t makes to not be rascist–all the while forcing the schools & even the children themselves to classify themselves as either black or white is absolutely maddening at times. I check “other” as being my race every chance I get.

  25. “And my guess is that you and Barbara Gordon have the right of it. Irish Americans aren’t Irish Americans, they’re White –so it’s impossible for them to be victims because everybody knows Whites are the oppressor class. Everybody in academia, anyways.”
    —————–
    New Business Item B, considered so important that it was introduced by the NEA Board of Directors and passed unanimously at the Orlando convention, declares that “we acknowledge the existence in our country of institutional racism” which “manifests itself in our schools.” Since the existence of institutional racism is not open to debate, the delegates called for “partnering” with like-minded groups, “particularly in areas of cultural competence, diversity, and social justice in order to address institutional racism.”

    http://arkansasgopwing.blogspot.com/2015/08/neas-plan-to-indoctrinate-schoolchildren.html?m=1

  26. When I first saw the claim it was (I think) in Slate, and I remember thinking, “Wait, I’ve seen the signs myself.” I had just written my senior thesis (on a group of mostly Irish Americans) and was graduating with my history degree; research (although I was not looking for it) turned up a few NINA signs.

    I was too busy to refute it, so I ignored it thinking, “This thing will never gain traction.” Little did I know, the patent ridiculousness of an assertion is no reason for its disbelief in academia today.

  27. I have sat in my classroom and listened to a Mexican student lecture me on how “we” needed to give the West back to the country of Mexico because we stole the land from Mexico.

    You might remind him for future reference that the population of Mexican peninsulares, criollos, mestizos, and mission Indians in the territory in question could be enumerated in five digits. You might also remind him that the contribution of Mexican citizens to the quantum of human and physical capital in the region likely does not exceed a single-digit portion.

Comments are closed.