Don’t Trash the Future Famers

Russell K. Nieli’s recent article, “How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others,” drew a lot of attention, including a mention in Ross Douthat’s New York Times column. Referring to the book, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, a 2009 study of elite college admissions, Nieli wrote that the authors, Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford, found that a student’s chances of gaining admission to an elite college dropped by 60 to 65 percent if they were involved in ROTC, 4H Clubs, Future Farmers of America “and other activities that suggest that students are somewhat undecided about their academic futures.” Several readers, irritated by the implication that future farmers are Red State rubes, sent in lists of important people who have been FFA members. The noted members included Jimmy Carter, Sam Brownback, Nicholas Kristof, Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Lyle Lovett, Don Henley of the Eagles and Jim Davis, creator of Garfield.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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