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Julius Falk

Youth Corner ...

Quotas in School System

(23 December 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 51, 23 December 1946, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The vicious racial quotas and segregation system in Southern schools is. slowly becoming more characteristic of the “progressive” Northern institutions. While not as open or common as in the South, discriminatory practices are being tacitly introduced into schools and colleges above the Mason-Dixon line.

In New York four fifths of the universities ask prospective students about their racial, religious and national status. That this is not merely for identification is made clear by a number of facts published by the American Jewish Congress. For example, among most New York medical colleges a racial quota has been established which effectively excludes all but a small number of Jews. The following comparative table of Jewish students in these colleges is significant:

























Not even one-half the number of Jewish students were admitted in 1940 as compared with 1920. There was no corresponding decline in applicants.

Fewer Jewish Youth Admitted to Schools

The inability of Jewish students to enter New York medical colleges is an even more graphic illustration of growing discrimination. Between 1920 and 1925 the average student body of N.Y.C. medical colleges consisted of 46.8 per cent Jews. The 1936–40 average for N.Y.C., with its 2½ million Jews, reveals that only 21.8 per cent of the students are of Jewish extraction though the number of applicants have remained more or less constant.

This latest anti-Semitic trend is not limited to New York Schools. It is increasingly becoming the national pattern. This too can best be illustrated by’ a simple fact: between 1925–40 there has been a 77 per cent decline in the number of Jewish students admitted into medical schools.

Jewish youth is not the only minority group which feels the sting of growing discrimination in medical schools. Facts have been published showing that Italian and other national minorities suffer as well.

Discussing the racial quotas, Dean Hopkins, former president of Dartmouth and of indisputable Aryan background, said that racial quotas are “in the interests of the Jews themselves.” Now, who can doubt the word of such an eminent educator? Unquestionably those who have been schooled in Nazi racist theories will find a kindred spirit in Dean Hopkins.

Segregation of Mexican Youth in California

In an article in the New York Times December 10th it was revealed that children of Mexican descent in a Southern California county were segregated from children of “pure” stock. The county school authorities tried to explain this discrimination as justified because of language difficulties suffered by the young Mexicans. What could not be explained so easily was the fact that the segregation was in actuality determined by nationality and not by language handicaps. If this condition is permitted in this one county in Southern California it may well become the example and inspiration for the rest of the state.


The Socialist Youth League does not condemn racial quotas and segregation merely, because quotas are not met or segregated pupils are not given an adequate education. Our objections are more basic than that. Even if the quota were more than proportionate to the population and students in segregated schools received twice the care of others, it would not basically affect our attitude.

The idea and the actuality of quotas and segregation in the long run is more important than the way in which this policy manifests itself. It is only a short and logical step from racial quotas (even if proportionate) to more general and vicious forms of racial and religious discrimination and persecution.

No educational system can be democratic and no nation can be a democracy where color, race and religion is a more important school requirement than ability and need.

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