Maclean’s magazine has raised the issue of whether Canadian universities are too Asian. (The link is to website that preserved the original version of the article, which has since been scrubbed and replaced by a slightly less offensive piece by Maclean’s). In a fit of irritation, I wrote a response in the National Post asking if Maclean’s is too white (I’m almost tempted to say too Whyte). My article can be read here.
Throughout the 1920s, A. Lawrence Lowell, then president of Harvard University, was worried that his beloved school was becoming too Jewish. “The presence of Jews in large numbers tends to drive Gentiles elsewhere,” Lowell wrote in a 1925 letter to Harvard professor. “To prevent a dangerous increase in the proportion of Jews, I know at present only one way which is at the same time straightforward and effective, and that is a selection by a personal estimate of character on the part of Admission authorities.”
Lowell focused on the question of “character” because he believed that Jewish students might well be intellectually gifted but they lacked social graces. A Boston Brahmin and scion of a pedigreed WASP family, Lowell thought that too many Jews spoiled the educational experience of Harvard. Jews as a group, Lowell believed, didn’t assimilate easily into the Anglo-Saxon majority, they tended to cluster together, they’re too pushy and ambitious, they didn’t participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, they lacked the easy comportment expected of true Harvard men. Because Jews lacked “character” and threatened to scare off well-heeled Gentile students, Lowell was at the forefront of a movement among Ivy League universities to impose anti-Semitic quotas.