John Leo discusses Vanderbilt’s decision to boost their academic standing by recruiting Jews: A big mess on campus.
The mess he’s talking about is worse than he is aware. He starts off complaining how offensive it is to say Jews are “lively, interesting, and hardworking,” because it’s “close to conventional stereotypes”—not to mention “the problem of leaving the word Jewish hovering in the air within 10 paces of the word elite.”
A few paragraphs later, in the course of arguing that it’s a “grave charge” against affirmative action that it keeps out Jews, he points out that “Jews are only 2 percent of the population, but at Ivy League schools, they account for 23 percent of students. In diversity-speak, a language with no word for merit, this means that Jews are ‘overrepresented.'” So it’s OK to say Jews have 11.5 times as much merit as other people, and that there are lots and lots of them at the top of academia, but not that they are hardworking or appear within 10 paces of an elite.
It’s hard for some of us to keep up with all this. Why blame the president of Vanderbilt?