Monday, March 3, 2014


Bigotry can be useful.
In Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in the 1930's and 1940's, the esteemed McGill University had a quota system against Jews, Negroes and Catholics.
Those select groups had to have much higher marks to enter McGill than White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
I can't tell you how other groups handled that bigotry, but Jewish parents did well. They ensured that their children studied very hard in high school, and behaved well, so as to get the highest marks, to excel, to escape the burdens of their fathers and mothers who laboured and sweated in the garment factories. I know that, at times, those Jewish immigrant parents ate bread without meat so they could save for their children's education.
Because of the sacrifices and principles of the Jewish parents and the diligence and hard work and devotion and respect their children had for their elders and their community, McGill could find no justification for refusing to accept them.
McGill's University's bigotry is no doubt responsible for the great success of all the Jewish students who graduated and became doctors and lawyers. Raised with such a strong work ethic and Jewish values, those young people benefited greatly from the hatred they had to face.
And so my message to victims of bigotry is this: Put away your anger, assuage your pain, and get down to working seriously at your education. The way to beat the haters is to become better than they are. The Jewish immigrant families of what is now called Montreal's Plateau District tested the waters and proved that a good education can overcome bigotry.
Phyllis Carter

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