Ivy League Schools Ignore the Rural Poor

Mar 30, 2013 by

by Nathan Harden –

Left-leaning Ivy League universities are proud of their commitment to “diversity.” But when they say “diversity” they are usually only thinking about skin color.

In the New York Times, Claire Vaye Watkins argues that if elite schools really are committed to diversity, they must extend their recruitment efforts to the rural poor of middle America:

A study released last week by researchers at Harvard and Stanford quantified what everyone in my hometown already knew: even the most talented rural poor kids don’t go to the nation’s best colleges. The vast majority, the study found, do not even try…

If top colleges are looking for a more comprehensive tutorial in recruiting the talented rural poor, they might take a cue from one institution doing a truly stellar job: the military.

I never saw a college rep at Pahrump Valley High, but the military made sure that a stream of alumni flooded back to our school in their uniforms and fresh flattops, urging their old chums to enlist…

One thing Watkins doesn’t say, but which is actually essential to her argument, is this: A big reason Ivy League schools aren’t reaching out to rural America is that rural America is disproportionately Caucasian. Poor white kids have never been the kind of “diversity” elite liberal institutions in the U.S. were looking for. These institutions draw their white p0pulation primarily from the elite, wealthy, private school kids from Boston to New York to D.C., and on the west coast from Seattle to San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Another dirty little secret–even students who are members of ethnic minority groups are mostly from among the rich. They are largely drawn from among the wealthy and upper-middle class of their respective groups. Poor kids from the urban ghetto are not the ones getting in to Harvard in Yale. Whether black, white or whatever color, students who get into the Ivy League have one thing in common–they are mostly from backgrounds of tremendous economic privilege. Thus we see the hypocrisy of “diversity” as it is defined by the liberal academic elite today. (And that’s not even touching the subject of political diversity.)

The grand liberal social justice project of affirmative action has often benefited wealthy minorities while leaving the poor in the dust. Makes you wonder what kind of “social justice” they’re aiming for in the first place. It has little to do with helping the disadvantaged, that seems clear. On the contrary, it seems to have more to do with keeping up an outward appearance of racial equality, while ignoring the tremendous economic inequalities that exist between the average Ivy League student and the average non-Ivy League student.

“Diversity” in the Ivy League has never been about truly reaching out to the disadvantaged–it’s about keeping up appearances. The largely white, liberal, east coast urban elite keep passing along the power, prestige and influence of elite education to their own children, while they keep the poorer, more conservative, more religious, rural poor and lower-middle class far from the corridors of power and influence their institutions represent.

via Ivy League Schools Ignore the Rural Poor.

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