Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has struck a major blow for women’s rights, reports the Boston Globe, by backing out of a scheduled speech at Boston’s men-only Glover Club.
Patrick’s office explained his cancellation in a brief statement Sunday, blaming the governor’s staff for failing to alert him to “a full understanding of the club’s traditions’’ and saying, “When the governor recently found out about the fact that women were not allowed to attend such functions, he expressed his concern to the organizers and decided not to attend.’’
One interesting note from the article: apparently the Glover Club was itself founded as a tool against discrimination.
The club was founded in 1883 by leading Irish-Americans in Boston who were responding to their own exclusion from the city’s Brahmin social clubs, which were dominated by the Yankee elite.
Clover Club members wanted “to demonstrate that they were indeed gentlemen, and they knew how to behave, and use a knife and fork, and they could be a group who invited illustrious speakers, and their sons were good enough to go to Harvard,’’ said Thomas H. O’Connor, university historian at Boston College.
I guess the moral of the story is that if you go long enough without reminding everyone you’re a victim of discrimination, eventually you’ll be discriminating against someone else.
It’s interesting that Deval Patrick refuses to participate in men-only activities when Barack Obama, who copied much of his political style, recently responded to a similar situation — White House guys-only basketball games — by more or less shrugging off feminists’ concerns.
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