Racial quotaRacial quotas in employment and education represent proportions of underrepresented racial minorities that a company or school seeks in hiring, promotion, admissions or graduation. When the total number of jobs or enrollment slots is fixed, this proportion may get translated to a specific number.
Note on terminology: many advocates of affirmative action programs vigorously deny that these programs involve "quotas" -- anyone know why this word is so allogenic?
The term "Racial Quotas" is particularly divisive in that it is assumed to be backed by the force of law to enable or disable certain linked programs or benefits based solely upon attainment of the one "quota" measure. One may object that one group is favored at the expense of another whenever a quota is invoked, i.e. it displaces another individual from another group, presumably individuals that would normally be favored on another more objective metric, such as test scores or previous achievements. On the other hand the quotas may compensate for other groups being unfairly favored somehow.
See also: Racism, Reverse discrimination, Discrimination, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke