Affirmative Action and the Mockery of Jewish Tradition
Redacted from an article By JEREMY ROZANSKY, Assistant editor of National Affairs
COMMENTARY, October 2012
JEWISH institutions can and should defend Jewish interests. But, Jewish institutions can also seek out universal justice for Jews. Parochialism on the one hand and love for the stranger on the other are equally essential to a good and holy life. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that these aims come into conflict.
The constitutional challenge to affirmative action that wiU soon be argued before the Supreme Court is not one of these cases. For when it comes to the use of explicit racial discrimination in admissions to favor one set of applicants over another, the interests of Jews and the cause of equal justice happen to fall on the same side — against affirmative action.
Not only is affirmative action bad for Jews when it comes to their interests as a population group; not only was such logic used for decades as an explicit means of keeping Jews in their place; it is also unjust and a violation of the 14th amendment’s equal-protection clause. It is, therefore, sobering and disappointing to see several mainstream Jewish institutions positioning themselves on the wrong side of the issue especially since the American Jewish Committee the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Anti-Defamation League once stood steadfast against such injustice
…The American Jewish Committee, The Union for Reform Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League neglect the serious social-science work over three decades demonstrating the significant downsides of race-based admissions. Simple contact between the races does not promote fellow feeling, but very often the opposite. Numerous studies have demonstrated a strong tendency toward self-segregation by racial groups.
Surveys have also shown that affirmative action is a source of racial resentment that often stigmatizes minority students as products of preferences. By the end of college, students, especially minority students, have been shown to be especially disillusioned with the goal of “helping racial understanding.” Racial preferences are even linked to an enervation of student effort and the value students place on academic success. All in all, racial diversity for racial diversity’s sake does more harm than good.
Even more striking is this: Never do these organizations seem aware that their overarching argument about racial harmony was the same justification Harvard’s Lowell used to support the quotas and other systems against Jews. Not only do they endorse a version of his solution in the “Top Ten Percent Plan” and supplementary racial preferences, they endorse Lowell’s perverted argument.
The American Jewish Committee is (supposedly) the nation’s most prominent umbrella Jewish group. The Anti-Defamation League is (supposedly) the flagship of the fight against anti-Semitism. The Union for Reform Judaism is (supposedly) the anchor of the largest Jewish religious denomination. And they have now all spoken out for a practice contrary to Jewish interests, and in doing so have cherry-picked from the Jewish canon in a manner that is incompetent at best and knowingly sophistic at worst.
Racial preferences now exist as part and parcel of a higher-education system that too often promotes a fascination with identity politics over a true inquiry into what is just. The regression to the left-wing on display in these amicus briefs is another piece of evidence that our universities and their racial preferences can induce a moral blindness among our elites and the institutions they head.
For the Jews, doing so leads to a denial of Jewish history and Jewish interest, a blatant rewriting of a difficult and strange text to affirm the fashionable dogma, and an undermining of the true equality for which the Jews of the 20th century were forced to fight so hard and for so long.
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