This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Braverman, Director of National Discrimination Department of the Anti Defamation League, answers questions about discrimination, specifically in employment.
Jay Nelson Tuck hosts.
Panelists: Lillian Affan, Stan Siegel, Kevin McGrath
Explains the three phrases a job posting will have if they want to select based on race ("American citizen" for no Puerto Ricans, "must play saxophone" for no Jews, and "red book" to mean no African Americans). Compares employment discrimination in New York to other areas in the country. Discrimination against Catholics. Less employment discrimination against Jews in the South due to self-employment and lack of large labor forces. There are some Jewish people tend to discriminate against Christians. Teaching anti-discrimination. Subway posters urging anti-discrimination are a cumulative message. Religion in schools. A study of discrimination in the state medical schools.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72099
Municipal archives id: LT8433
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Is religion a bar to employment Is there discrimination in New York medical school do Jewish people tend to discriminate against Christians for the answers to these and other questions listen all to cap is press conference every Sunday at this time editors of college newspapers question a newsworthy personality on moderator on campus press conferences the noted newspaper men and editor generals and talk now to introduce the panel and today's guest here is Mr Tuck Good afternoon. It sometimes seems that we've recently been talking so much about racial discrimination in southern schools that we've forgotten about other forms of discrimination that exist all over the country our guest today on the campus press conference is one man who hasn't forgotten about the other discrimination it's his job to combat it. He is Harold proper money director of the National discriminations Department of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. Is concerned with discrimination wherever it may be found in colleges and fraternities in housing in job opportunities or in public accommodation. Here today to question Mr Brown among our stands for the goal of the N.Y.U. squared Journal Kevin McGrath of the Fordham student bar association and Lillian from of the Hunter College our stand as a first question Mr Broad amount in New York racial discrimination with respect to jobs has become a well known fact even though it seems to be on the decline is religion a widespread bar in this area to employment. Well I hesitate to equate religious discrimination in employment with racial discrimination the magnitude of racial discrimination in this is so great that it almost makes religious discrimination Picayune However we have found in recent surveys in New York in New York City in consultation with knowledgeable people in the private employment agency field that religion is still a factor in hiring for example we learned only recently that some private employment agencies knowing that they cannot legally discriminate on the basis of race or religion have developed a code system in New York to indicate the racial or religious affiliation of job applicants. Might interest you to know maybe some of you people can interpret this we can't some of these agencies use the phrase recommended by Red Book to mean that Negroes are not wanted. The phrase must play the saxophone to indicate that Jews do not apply and the phrase U.S. citizen to exclude Puerto Ricans who are U.S. citizens. Now whether I'm certainly there isn't any large scale unemployment among Jews in New York as compared with Negroes of Puerto Ricans. But we are convinced on the basis. The evidence that we've seen there here is the screaming nation against Jews on executive levels there is even senseless the scrim a nation against Jews on a non-executive levels for such an important and sensitive jobs than our groceries and what a clerics most prominent there are. Why would agencies that you imagine for Jewish applicants shows up for a job they simply will not send him on to the employer who's got the job to fill is that the way it works well what's happened is this was the talk. Of the employment agencies that participate in this process and I must say at this point that not all private employment agencies and guilty of this practice I think that by and large private employment agency owners are respectable law abiding citizens will know that the law forbids the script nation and the other hand some of these private employment agencies have developed understandings and I put understanding's in quotes with those employers who also knowing that they cannot legally discriminate let the agencies know all that they prefer let us say not to have Jews whether they do this in the form of telephone calls specifically saying we don't want Jews or whether they say we prefer the Anglo-Saxon Ivy League type is immaterial what's happened though is that these these agencies or do participate in the process know what they're doing and I'm afraid that what they are doing is motivated simply by the desire for profits one private employment agency owner said to us and this is an accurate quote I don't care if a an employer wants a man with green skin and two heads if I've got such a character I'll send him. The only concern of these people is with the fees and the commissions that they receive Have you brought any cases against these people before the state commission against discrimination and now we have not for the simple reason that the information we've gotten has been given to us on a completely confidential basis by private employment agency people who don't want to jeopardize their own livelihoods and when I treated jeopardize. My own since the A.D.L. is a national organization it's not isolated to New York area how would you evaluate the situation now the areas that country. Well early are you talking about employment or discrimination generally could you well Quest is going to generate and I particularly in four points were on this topic now well again it all depends down in the South for example we haven't encountered any appreciable employment discrimination against Jews in the Midwest there in Chicago we have found extensive discrimination against Jews and Negroes. And agency with which we are affiliated at Chicago the Bureau in Jewish employment problems did a survey over a period of four or five years where they examined actual job orders received by private employment agencies in Chicago and they came to the shocking conclusion that about twenty five percent of these job waters specified restrictions against Jews negroes some cases Catholics. Lost that well now or remember this Chicago is in a none F.P.C. state where it's perfectly legal for employers and employment agencies to do this we found the same situation we exist out in Los Angeles. Which up until all one in a last month or so was not an F E B C State. And over a period of a year or so our own office there examined job what is received by private employment agencies and this may interest you they have a different coding technique they don't use the red book or saxophone code out in California at Los Angeles. Many of the agencies use number eighteen. I thin decay that eat an applicant is a Catholic number fifty three to me that he's a Jew and number ninety nine that he's a negro for heaven's sake don't ask me the all regions of this anymore ology I just don't know. But this is the situation there well it's interesting that you don't find added Jewish discrimination in the south where one would presume it's worst against the negro do you have an explanation for that well I suspect that the major reason for it is that now in the South most Jews are either self employed or professionals you don't have these large metropolitan areas with lodge. Labor forces so to speak as you do when you York Chicago Los Angeles Simon excluded I don't recall right now and I think New York aside from the negro whom we know bears the brunt of discrimination what other groups take the major burden of this racial and religious discrimination in employment outside on my I can only offer an educated guess standard that is a vague Puerto Rican. Is also stopped on the employment ladder so to speak by. Discrimination on the part of employers and private employment agencies. Those are your two major minority groups in New York negroes and Puerto Rican so it's natural to find that they are the prime victims of employment discrimination as they are of a Crime Victims of housing discrimination. Cabin. We have listened to talk about discrimination and now I live by to ask this question it seems that you work very hard to fight discrimination but isn't it true but the Jewish people tend also to discriminate against Christians. And Jews have human frailties. And other words do as a people so. No point in trying to kid you or myself by saying that all Jews a perfect of course there are Jews who are individual Jews who practice discrimination whether against Christians or negroes of Puerto Ricans or sometimes against Jews is immaterial. I will say this that I think that and I know that I'm running the risk of stereotyping when I say this but I think it's fair to say that the Jews as a group who have suffered prosecutions and discrimination is for a couple of thousand years. Have advanced farther along the road toward a generally on prejudice the nondiscriminatory attitude and most other groups I think one of the proofs is the fact that the Jewish community has an Anti Defamation League and other Jewish Community Relations organizations which have never hesitated. To say publicly and to prove it by their actions that they are opposed to wall discriminations. The Anti Defamation League my own organization and virtually every other national Jewish community relations organization filed briefs and a case with the Supreme Court of the United States and the public school segregation case which involved negroes and the restrictive confident case which involved negroes and right here at home in New York in connection with that Glendale Ridgewood situation every major Jewish organization my own included I subscribed to a statement an appeal to the superintendent of schools to go ahead with his plan which was so educationally sound. I haven't. Well we've listened to speak also on the overall Jewish picture but there but you have admitted that there are Jewish people who do discriminate Now what does your organization do in a case like this because it seems that it's your brothers who are offending your principles Well B'nai B'rith and the N.T. Defamation League always believe in internal self education and we're constantly trying to educate our people and particularly any of our erring brothers that we may find to the evil of discrimination I'll say this and I don't know whether you're. Leading up to something now Captain but if we were to find a Jewish employer or a Jewish hotel owner or Jewish or a school which discriminated against Christians. We would not hesitate to use every force at our command education to go she asian conciliation referral to law enforcement agencies to bring an end to that this. Limitation. Well yes you mentioned your command is concerned with public education just now the fact is to be internalized cation but also with that question answer the general public what are the actual means that you do this. Hour the major part of our dollars. Is spent on education the development the preparation of programatic materials whether they be films radio and T.V. programs books pamphlets comic books for children. Everything from bookmarks to books. All these materials containing the same essential message and that is the brotherhood of man the quality the quality of all men regardless of race or religion. This is the way we. Spend as I said our the major part of our budget and the major effort of our regional offices is involved in this kind of educational job working with schoolteachers working with school systems both public and parochial schools working with other religious groups. Developing ideas for articles and books and films etc. Speaking of Education Mr Rahman. It was surely seen as I guess most New Yorkers have these little posters in the subway that let's not have any projects let's all work together and of thing no one will cooperate with certainly with the intention of those posters but do you think they really do any good message as simple as that. Or does it take more than that to loosen prejudice in someone's mind while I think even those who develop their program would agree with you Mr Turner. That just a simple exposure to Sid you cherry pick on a poster in a subway won't you're a guy of an irrational racial or religious prejudice but we think that the effect of propaganda has the BE and viewed in a cumulative sense the exposure to a poster in the subway the exposure to a T.V. program an hour later the exposure to a pamphlet brought home by a child from school well these things have a cumulative effect and we think that this graphics program is very helpful and essential to develop probably just as a reminder in the same way that those smoke such and such cigarettes are something all the reminder of accumulated thing that's right we suspect that's. Likely. I know you are philosophically against I'm sick Terry and religion in the public schools how do you feel about parochial schools in the air long range effects on the students. Well you know if you've got me again because I'm not sure I understand the importance of questions. We're not US me whether we are opposed to parochial schools whether my organization is opposed parochial schools or the answer is certainly not we believe that every religious group has a an absolute and untrammeled right to develop. Parochial school systems that are consonant with their religious beliefs of that group. Stand Mr Broughton another field of education I understand that your group recently did a study on segregation or discrimination rather in the state medical schools what were the results of this study Well I've got to. Correct that slightly stand we undertook two years ago to be to begin a census of the classes entering the medical schools of the United States each year. We did that because the medical schools were the pioneers in the development of the quota system development of one of the scholars called numerous classes. We thought that by making this annual count each year we might be able to get some idea five six seven years hence and whether or not a quota pattern was reemerging in the medical schools we began our count with a class that entered the eighty odd medical schools and in September one hundred fifty six. We collected statistics for that year and then we collected the statistics once again for the class that ended in September one thousand nine hundred fifty seven. And. Both counts show a surprisingly large number of Jews attending the medical schools of the United States one hundred fifty six for example we found that eighty percent of the students who entered the medical school that year with Jewish and in one thousand fifty seven we found the same number and during the medical schools in the United States what the figures will show for one hundred fifty eight fifty nine sixty I'm not prepared to say. We don't know at this point would be silly for me to wear prognosticate that a quote a pattern is remerging. All we do know is that again we're philosophically committed to the position that the nation desires the best possible physicians and the medical schools but not concern themselves with considerations of religion. Our first year's census and our second year's census disclosed some surprising figures for the city New York if you're particularly interested in the medical schools of New York City yes I think Oh w