When a Federal judge sitting in Montgomery, Alabama; has before him as the defendant the State of Alabama, and, when the State of Alabama admits that there is not a single black officer in the Alabama State Highway Patrol because the State of Alabama has not been able to find one qualified black man to serve on its highway patrol, and when the judge says: Within twelve months you will find thirty blacks qualified to serve on the State Highway Patrol — the Jewish community can understand and applaud that judge. When, however, as in the Bakke case, the University of California says that it will find sixteen qualified blacks to enter its Medical School to atone for the fact that there are so few black doctors in our country, then the Jewish organizations of the country hasten pell-mell after one another file amicus briefs with the Supreme Court condemning this action.
Why are we so able to understand what the Federal judge has done while we condemn the University of California? Is there a deep principle of justice which separates the two cases? Or is it that Jewish interests are involved in medical schools that are not involved in the State Highway Patrol system?
If we truly understood Jewish self-interest, we would support rather than criticize the University of California. We would act to guarantee the entrance of large numbers of black people and other disinherited minorities into the mainstream of American society — and not to keep them out. We would do so because a society that is united, a society that is not torn by economic strife, is ultimately a society that is most hospitable to Jews and to Judaism. We would simultaneously stop trying to draw arbitrary distinctions between goals, timetables and quotas. The only distinction I can perceive is that when we view them favorably they are called goals and timetables and when we view them unfavorably they are called quotas.
The Shortsightedness of Fighting Our Allies
Historically quotas have been used to keep people out. We Jews despise them because they were used to keep us out of medical schools and law schools and universities all over the country. Because of this unpleasant experience, Jewish agencies simply need to raise the red banner of ‘quota’ in front of us and we, like the bull before the toreador, come charging.
To continue reading, please click here.