OPINION: White privilege is the greatest threat to fair college admissions

Photo by Michael Marsland from Yale Campus Photos.

Tagwa Shammet, Contributing Writer

For centuries, white people have constantly stepped on the backs of others to get to the top. White parents in particular, with the help of higher-ups in the education system, have stepped on the backs of hard-working, honest students in order to benefit their own children.

Recently, more than 30 wealthy parents, coaches and college prep executives were indicted in a criminal investigation called “Operation Varsity Blue.” The scandal involved paying college prep organizations to take standardized exams on behalf of students to increase their scores and bribing college coaches to admit students as recruited student athletes — who in reality did not participate in said sports. FBI agent Joseph Bonavolonta said parents involved in the scandal paid up to $6.5 million to get their children into elite schools.

What exactly has happened to teaching your kids diligent and sturdy work habits? These wealthy parents decided that committing a felony would be more beneficial than educating their children on the struggles in the world that require genuine work. The amount of privilege that takes is mindblowing. Imagine paying your way through everything, being able to throw money at people as if their only purpose in this world is to take orders from you. I can’t relate; nor would I want to.

What’s even more disturbing than this is the ringleader of the entire scheme: William Singer. Singer created a fake organization called “The Key,” which allowed parents to funnel their money, while Singer schemed alongside prep executives and college coaches to get students in. Singer pled guilty to all his charges.

“All of these things, and many more things, I did,” Singer said at his hearing in Boston. “I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in.”

A side door. Remember when affirmative action came out and white parents went on benders talking about how quotas were unfair for their children — how quotas took spots from deserving students in order to bring in students of color? They claimed that was a side door to getting black students into competitive schools. Nobody wanted to address the fact that affirmative action actually promotes those on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. Affirmative action benefits white women the most.

Yet, these parents have ripped the hinges off of what is supposed to be a fair college admissions process. There are more than 30 deserving students who genuinely and unfairly lost their spots at seven of the most prestigious schools in the country, including Yale, UCLA, Stanford and others.

People are raving about how crazy this whole scandalous scheme is. Some find it shocking that actresses such as Lori Loughlin, who played beloved Aunt Becky on “Full House,” and Felicity Huffman could be involved in such a thing.

I’m not shocked — nowhere near it. Wealthy white Americans have been using and abusing their privilege for as long as their privilege has existed. Even U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling who is the prosecutor on the case calls this a “catalog of wealth and privilege.” At this point, even white people are getting tired of white people. Their failure to recognize their privilege and use it for good will only further the gap between the unheard and impoverished.

Arrests have been made, indictments will be given and prison time will be served.

Let this be a warning to those who seek to abuse their privilege in bad faith. You may find yourself behind bars.

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