The original mandate of the HRCs was to deal with discrimination in employment and accommodation.
A really embarrassing female politician asked Mark Steyn about one famous example, when he recently testified at Queenâ€™s Park about the HRCs and Section 13. She brought up the hoary old chestnut about signs in store windows that read NO IRISH NEED APPLY.
As Mark Steyn explained to this poor woman, because heâ€™d read about it first on my blog, the real trouble with No Irish Need Apply signs is that they never existed.
Richard Jensen of the University of Illinois studied the issue and wrote:
The fact that Irish American vividly "remember" NINA signs is a curious historical puzzle. There are no contemporary or retrospective accounts of a specific sign at a specific location. No particular business enterprise is named as a culprit. No historian, archivist, or museum curator has ever located one; no photograph or drawing exists.(...) However, the professor continues:
The complete absence of evidence suggests that probably zero such signs were seen at commercial establishments, shops, factories, stores, hotels, railroads, union halls, hiring halls, personnel offices, labor recruiters, anywhere in America, at any time.Irish Americans all have heard about these signsâ€”and remember elderly relatives insisting they existed. The late Tip O'Neill remembered the signs from his youth in Boston in 1920s; Senator Ted Kennedy reported the most recent sighting, telling the Senate during a civil rights debate that he saw the signs when growing up.
(And we all know how reliable Senator Kennedyâ€™s accounts of his personal experiences can be.)
Iâ€™d be happy to speculate later about what thisÂ says about Irish psychology, but for now, letâ€™s concentrate on the fact that the politician who confronted Mark Steyn with that would-be zinger merely showed herself to be terribly concerned about a hundred year old case of job discrimination that was completely make believe.