Everybody’s talking about the college admissions scam so I guess I’ll jump on the bandwagon.
So here’s what happened. The FBI conducted an investigation where 30 plus wealthy people—including celebrities that we haven’t heard from in years like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin—were paying an agency to lie their kids into some of the most elite colleges around the country.
Everyone: "Rich kids just bribe their way into top schools"
* #CollegeCheatingScandal story drops*
— Matthew Caplis (@C4PLIS) March 13, 2019
My sentiments…who the hell cares???
We’ve always known that people use their privilege and wealth to skirt the system. I’ll bet my right arm that’s how Donald Trump made it through college.
So how much you think @realDonaldTrump’s daddy had to pay to get his defective kid into college?
— Leo Haggerty (@TheCampaignHQ) March 14, 2019
But while these rich White people problems are inexcusable, they definitely shouldn’t be our primary concern.
Temporary outrage is one of the things that makes it possible for kids of color to continuously get cheated out of a good education. The media tends to give us advocacy ADHD—we’re mad about something one minute but drop it when the next trending topic catches our attention.
The fact that it took this cheating scandal to shed light on Black and Brown parents that have gone to jail to get their kids into good schools infuriates me.
"Kinda disappointed that it took a White privilege scandal to highlight injustices faced by Black and Brown parents who were just trying to get a quality K-12 education for their kids. We gotta wake up." @PeeplesChoice85 #CollegeCheatingScandal #SayTheirNames #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/GBGw2tE6sH
— One Voice Blog Magazine (@onevoiceblogmag) March 14, 2019
And don’t get it twisted, these parents didn’t have the privilege or wealth to bribe people to accept their kids. They were changing their addresses so their kids could attend schools better than the ones in their own neighborhoods.
I remember going to hear Kelley Williams-Bolar tell her story in 2012.
The better performing school district she enrolled her child in—using her father’s address—hired an investigator to find out if she really lived there and when it was discovered that she didn’t, they demanded that she pay them back $30,000. When she refused, they sought chargers against her. In 2011, she was sentenced to jail, three years probation and community service.
Remember Kelley Williams-Bolar?
She was was convicted of using the wrong residence to get her daughters into a better school district in Ohio than underperforming Akron.
She was sentenced to 3 years & ordered to pay $30,000 to the school district.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) March 13, 2019
The next year, Tanya McDowell, a homeless parent in Connecticut, was sentenced to five years in jail for enrolling her son in a school in Norwalk event though she wasn’t a resident there.
These women did nothing wrong in wanting the best for their kids.
In fact, the real and ongoing crime here is how Black and Brown communities are saturated with high-poverty, low-quality schools and racially biased policies which keep students trapped in a two-tiered system designed to fail them. That trending topic needs to constantly be at the tip of our tongues.
Let’s talk about how difficult it is for students of color to even get into and graduate from college because of racial bias and stereotypes.
Remember Kamilah Campbell, the Black girl who was accused of cheating on her SATs? Well, her story has resurfaced in the midst of #CollegeGate but she’s undergone so much stress, drama and pushback since we and the media left her behind that she’s given up her fight and will retake the test.
I assume the media will DRAG these rich folks the way they did Kamilah Campbell. REMEMBER HER? She's taken the SAT twice and now has to take it a THIRD TIME …. If only she had rich parents ….
— BenJo Bubble (@BenJoBubble) March 12, 2019
I’m glad to have some of our kids graduating from high school with a plethora of college options and substantial scholarships.
Like Dylan Chidick who was once homeless but now has the option of choosing from 17 colleges that have accepted him.
And AJ Brown, a student at Mizzou, who used her scholarship to study abroad in Italy.
There is still time to give! Another one of our scholarship recipients, AJ Foster, used her scholarship to study abroad in Italy! Donate today to help more students have life changing experiences. https://t.co/Qv9lOvsgTq pic.twitter.com/ShhpuCOFCI
— Mizzou Black Alumni (@MizzouBlackAlum) March 14, 2019
But these handful of students aren’t enough. All students of color should have this option without having to know the struggle of making it through a failing school, a violent community or a rigorous application process because of their skin color.
Our kids and families of color need and deserve our attention 24/7, 365—not just when the media floods our social media pages with scandal. They deserve more than our temporary outrage. Unfaltering and resilient advocacy is the only way we can equalize a system that favors the privileged and the wealthy.
Let the media and FBI focus on #CollegeGate while we focus on our communities.