NEW YORK (Nov. 19)
A study of teenagers in three integrated East Coast school districts reveals a high incidence of anti-Jewish prejudice–but with black youngsters less anti-Semitic than their white counterparts. The study, made public yesterday by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, further reveals little or no effort on the part of the schools themselves to improve intergroup relations and attitudes.
The findings were presented at the ADL’s 59th annual meeting here. Seymour Graubard, the ADL’s national chairman, said the study will be published next year as the seventh book in an ADL series on various aspects of anti-Semitism and other prejudice, conducted for the agency by the Survey Research Center at the University of California.
Dr. Charles Y. Glock, who directed the e-search team and is coordinator of the series, gave as a principal finding that “anti-Semitism among adolescents Is linked with parental and academic deprivation.” The education and income of the parents, the academic performance of the student, and whether or not he expects to go to college, were used as measures of deprivation. It was found that “parental deprivation leads to academic deprivation, which then leads to prejudice.” The “more deprived youngster was always the more anti-Semitic–except for Blacks,” Dr. Glock said.
He called it “perplexing” that although the Black teenagers were on the average more deprived than the white, they were less prejudiced against Jews. “It would appear,” he said, “that Blacks tend to be prejudiced against whites and do not make the distinction of whether the white is Jewish or Christian.” He added that there was “considerable anti-Black feeling among both the Jewish and non-Jewish white adolescents, although slightly less among the Jewish youngsters.” There was nothing in the school curriculum in the districts tested which attempted to deal with prejudice head on, to teach young people cognitively what prejudice Is and how it comes about.
CONDITIONS WHICH GENERATE ANTI-SEMITISM
The study concentrates on the conditions which generate anti-Semitism and prejudice in adolescents. It was conducted among 4600 eighth, tenth and twelfth graders in three school districts. Each of the communities has a student population which is about 20 percent Black. The first has a 50 percent Jewish student body; the second, a 23 percent, and the third has few Jews.
Dr. Glock said that despite previous studies of adults which showed the incidence of anti-Semitism less among those In contact with Jews, “this study revealed more anti-Jewish feeling among adolescents in the two districts with Jewish students than in the community where there were virtually none.”
He said that a substantial majority in all three communities–between 75 percent and 83 percent–viewed Jewish teenagers as being intelligent, ambitious and successful. These positive traits, however, were given negative connotations by some 60 percent of the students in the two towns with significant Jewish student bodies, who said their Jewish classmates were conceited, selfish and bossy.
Dr. Glock pointed out that where non-Jewish successful students were disliked, they were assessed as individuals and not by their religions. Declaring that while “academic success tends to breed conceit simply because the school puts such high value on this kind of achievement,” Dr. Glock said that the anti-Semitic youngsters saw conceit as “an inherent Jewish trait.” On the other hand, he continued, “the more privileged students, themselves successful, recognized that It was not.”