When Jonathan David Farley won Harvard's prestigious Wendall Scholarship as the school's most promising sophomore scholar, his mother, Ena, told the family's hometown newspaper she hoped her son's ethnicity in the future would be an unremarkable feature of his achievements.
The Farleys of Brockport, N.Y., are a highly accomplished six-member Caribbean-American family with roots in Africa and Europe. Both parents are professors at the State University of New York. Farley's eldest brother, Anthony, a Harvard Law School graduate, is an assistant US attorney for the District of Columbia. His brother, Felipe, graduated Harvard in 1986 and Harvard Law School last week. Another brother, Christopher, graduated Harvard in 1988 and is a reporter for USA Today.
After that all-too-understandable apprehension abated, the black families and advisers wondered why Harvard did not find a way to recognize both students. After all, they reasoned, there could not have been more than a small fraction of difference between the two academic records; Teleman really should have been classified in the Class of 1990 anyhow; and Harvard should realize the importance to public perceptions that a black student came so close to the top of his class.