They cheated the System, but POC have been cheated by the System for ages.

People were caught cheating, this has been around for ages. It just so happens that America’s favorite aunt and favorite housewife got caught. Maybe these people cheated the system, but POC have been cheated by the system.

Okay, everyone knows what has happened it’s all over the news. People are outraged, surprised, and some are embarrassed; although, not for the reasons you might believe them to be. Here’s the difference:

  • People are outraged, because we know the justice system will tip in favor of the accused.
  • People are outraged, because they know that when the system says they have “caught” people of money and privilege doing something illegal, it does not necessarily mean they are guilty of it. Ha, who are we kidding. It really doesn’t mean anything.
  • People are outraged, because brown and black parents have been thrown in jail simply for stating a different address on their kids registration form so that they can attend a school in a better district.
  • People are outraged, because we’ve known this has been happening for years and people are acting surprised by it.

In the Tuesday press conference, the U.S. attorney perhaps unintentionally emphasized this irony when he said: “We’re not talking about donating a building … We’re talking about fraud.”

Alia Wong, The Atlantic: “Why the College-Admission Scandal is so Absurd”

Let’s face it, the wealthy have been buying their kids’ education for decades. They just did it in a different manner, they let their money do the talking, as in donating buildings (as the US attorney stated so nonchalantly), donating money to fundraisers, holding fundraisers, donating to the school’s athletic department, pretty much just throwing money at the school in exchange for their kids admittance.

Legacy students, it’s pretty much the same thing. Let’s be honest, the majority of legacy students come from wealthy families. So, they have in some way done the same or are expected to.

I can’t help but wonder if we have legacy students derived from the POC that have attended these schools via scholarships. Are they and their offspring’s offered the same access as these students who “paid” their way in? Or are they like me, opened up a savings account the minute the child was born so they wouldn’t have to suffer the same hardships brought on by the simple act of wanting to acquire an education.

Some are surprised simply because of who got caught. I mean Aunt Becky? Lori Loughlin? Of all people. I can’t help but wonder if my Hallmark movies will be affected by this. Will she even be on Hallmark anymore? Sorry ranting while typing.

The few that are embarrassed are those that got caught, I mean do you really think they are at home right now losing sleep over how they are going to avoid prison? No. They are at home trying to figure out how they can justify their actions and how they can come back from this. They will hire the best attorneys and best PR firm to make them look like concerned parents trying to do what they believed was the best for their child. They will try to also make us believe that their kids are really not that dumb.

Some might also be embarrassed because they’ve been blaming affirmative action as the reason why their kids didn’t get in. Well…I don’t know what to tell you about that.

Where am I in all of this?
I’m upset.

Not because I had to struggle and sacrifice so damn much to get my education at one of the top Universities in the country. I’m not upset because the people at the skill center where I acquired my GED didn’t bother explaining the college process to me; thus, almost enlisting in the military believing that was my only way to acquire an education.

I’m not angry because even though I was accepted, I was convinced that I was going to be sent back home on orientation day after being told it was a clerical error.

Is it upsetting that for me and those like me, believing we are accepted to a top university is a lot harder to believe and digest than being told we are not accepted. The fact that we have accepted and believed for far too long that people like Us are not Ivy league material is enough to make anyone angry and at the same time question who in the hell gave these folks power over our future.

The answer, we did.

We did, we handed over the power when we let that doubt sit in. We did, whenever we mocked anyone in our community for studying or dreaming about attending one of these schools. We do, every time we mock someone who is educated by saying “you talk white.” We do, by letting others fears keep us from wanting more. We do, by imposing our fears of change, education, or the unknown on others.

When are we most at fault? When we walk around that campus believing we don’t belong there. Believing they did US a favor by accepting US, as if we didn’t work hard to be there. By being embarrassed of the journey it took US to get there. By downplaying our intelligence and our very right to be there.

I’m not angry because I’m in debt. I mean like really in debt. Would I prefer not to have so much debt? Yes. There has to be a better way. It just all seems excessive and to be honest never ending. I’ve been paying for a few years now and I swear that number does not go down.

I’m upset because in one of the many articles I read, one journalist actually believed that these individuals were the ones that rigged the education system for POC. This person gave off the impression, that as a Disney movie, once the bad people were put away things would be just again.

I say “gave off the impression” because that is what I understood and as you can imagine I laughed. This is why? Do people really believe this?

“Texas’s public school system ostensibly provided education for all of the state’s children, but… Clemente Idar’s incisive exposé on the Jim Crow school segregation system that méxico-texano children were being left behind, relegated to inferior schools with less qualified and lower-paid teachers. Adding to the problem, the powerful agriculture industry preferred to have young Mexicans working in the fields for low wages rather than in school acquiring the building blocks for a brighter economic future.”

Gabriela González, “Jovita Idar: The Ideological Origins of a Transnational Advocate for La Raza” Texas Women.

These individuals are not rigging the system against us. The system was never created for US, for people of color that is. Thus, how can it be rigged against us? We were never on its radar to begin with.

In principle, southern blacks could have taken their GI Bill vouchers to northern institutions, but this would have required overcoming persistent discrimination as well as discovering options about alternatives without access to adequate counseling…Black access to agricultural training programs was limited both because such programs often offered wages higher than the prevailing levels and because southern administrators were reluctant to prepare blacks for farm ownership,…”

Ira Katznelson, “When Affirmative Action Was White

We, have crossed it. We, are slowly breaking it down. Simply by showing up and demanding an education. We are slowly dismantling a system that was created for those who are privileged enough to know how to play within the system.

Here’s the thing. POC and some poor white folks understand that when you do not have the resources, you have to work twice as hard to get ahead.

So, this angers me even more. Why? Because I can’t help but wonder why the need to cheat? You have the resources available to get you the best tutors and any other programs that might help your kid if they are not Harvard “material.” So, why cheat? Are they forcing their kids to go to school? I mean were you not involved in your kids’ education when they were in high school? You must of known your kid was a fuck up? Why force them to go to school or why reward them for being a mediocre student by sending them to top notch schools. Seriously, if your kids were screwing up in high school, you think Harvard is going to be any better. Oh wait, you were probably going to pay for that too.

Salty, I know.
But not unheard of.

Those of us that have made it to school have sat in a room, where we have been dumbfounded by the ignorance of some of these kids. “No, Sally you cannot compare Du Bois’ “Dark Princess” to a Nicholas Sparks novel” and “No, Brown’s “Weiland” is nothing like “Twilight” Timothy, I really don’t think Edward resembles any of the characters in the story.” I can’t even make this up, I had to sit there and remain silent…or at least try to.

I was shocked at their ignorance, I mean these kids came straight from high school. This to me meant that they had to be smart, right? But when our professors had to take a moment to explain how multiple choice worked, how we had to match the character to the quote, or the author to the novel, it really pissed me off. Not because these kids were completely ignorant but because I knew so many kids back home deserved to be in that classroom instead of them.

You might think I’m being just as bias as the school is, but I’m not. I transferred and I had to bust my ass just to make sure I had a high GPA. Especially because I didn’t have a high school diploma, I had attended school in another country, and the educators in this country couldn’t translate my grades (or wouldn’t) so I had to get a GED. I had so many gaps in my education, because I had to help my family. Because of all of this, I busted my ass twice as hard just to make sure I could be competitive enough to have an application that would be reviewed.

But here I was sitting in a classroom with a kid that was comparing one of the greatest brains of our time, to the writer who wrote the “Notebook.” It upsets me now, can you imagine how I felt then? Don’t these kids have to meet the same requirements as the rest of us? Who did they pay off? How much did they pay? Or what did their parents promise?

In Junior college (JC) I had classmates that were so insanely smart, but were not accepted for whatever reason. Others were accepted but didn’t have the means, as they didn’t qualify for scholarships. Many of us were first generation students, that didn’t know how scholarships or the entire educational system worked.

As it was, those of us that were working adults were pretty much ignored by the college. At the time, counselors or transfer centers closed 30 minutes before I needed to be in class. Which meant I never made it, I had to take time off from work or leave even earlier to make it to the counselor’s office. I also learned that you have to do your own homework and not rely solely on counselor’s they sometimes give you the wrong information or leave some out.

I heard and attended my first UCLA transfer fair by chance, I happened to be stepping on a flyer for the fair while using the restroom. As I looked down, I was like “Oh” I didn’t even know where the transfer center was.

I will not lie, some of these kids at UC were insanely smart. I admired some of these kids for the way their minds worked, while others just scared the crap out of me. I couldn’t help but give them the “Why are you even here?” look. You know those students that do not take it seriously, some actually said “I’ll just take it again” these folks pissed me off even more. I don’t have that luxury, I can’t “just take it again,” that’s money I don’t have.

Did that make me angry? Yes, it really did. It also made me realize that this is why education had become a privilege and was no longer considered a right. Only the privileged were able to navigate these waters, only the privileged were able to pay out what was necessary to get these kids in these schools. How are those of us that have the brains and desire going to compete with these people’s dollars?

We can’t and if things remain the same we won’t. It’s a lottery. It’s high stakes poker, where the best hand wins. We can’t play, we were never intended to, many are shocked we would even want to.

Several Asian-American organizations have filed a suit against Harvard and a few other Ivy League Universities because of admission-discrimination.

Luckily, more and more POC are demanding their place at the table. Many more are making their own damn tables.

Could this journalist be right? Could getting these cheats make things just for the rest of us? I’m not naïve enough to believe so. The only way things will change is if we start looking at how k-12 schools in communities of color and of low income are funded, how resources amongst these schools are distributed. The only way things will change is if we start respecting teachers and providing them with a livable wage, so that they can in turn respect their students, their families and the communities they come from. Start recruiting more teachers of color into communities of color.

Teach those that are teaching, that poor kids, kids with accents, kids with special needs are not meant to be discarded or given up on. Educate teachers on how to flag learning disabilities and abuse.

Teach parents how to be advocates for their children, all the while getting rid of this mindset that it is the teacher’s job to “teach” because that will only get us so far. As parents we must do our part too.

The most outrageous thing about this, is that these kids cheat their way into these schools. If they make it or fuck up, nobody really cares. Apparently, their parents will pay for another library to make sure they graduate. They don’t care, they only represent themselves.

We, students of color, students of low-income households, do not have that same luxury. We do not solely represent ourselves, we represent everyone else like US. We represent, everyone that has our same skin tone, that comes from the same community as we do, that has a somewhat similar background as US. We know this, so we have try really hard because we know it’s not only about US. It’s about those that are trying to make it to where we are.

It’s about those that are looking up at us, hoping that we make it because then it means that they might just make it too.

So, in short getting rid of these cheats doesn’t really solve anything. The only thing that will, is an equitable playing field for everyone.

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