It’s a Full House lined up for the Big House this week.
On Tuesday, news broke that 50 people, including Hollywood elites Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, and Lori Loughlin, have been arrested in the “Operation Varsity Blues” sting set by the FBI. All parties involved allegedly colluded in a large-scale university admissions scam to get affluent students accepted into elite universities by helping them cheat on college entrance exams.
In this #JoannTaughtMe scam, parents created fake college exam scores AND scored D1 Athletic Scholarships for non-athletes to gain admission into the elite ranks of Georgetown University, Stanford University, University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of San Diego, University of Southern California (USC), University of Texas, Wake Forest University, and Yale.
In other news: water remains wet and hell, unshockingly, remains hot.
Wealthy families buying their way into college is neither new nor surprising. From the cradle to college, wealth has always widened the education access gap. Wealth affords access to the best schools, ghost writers, and brand coaches to polish the perfect personal identity. This latest scandal is merely another exposure into a system we’ve long known is working against us.
Perhaps now is the time to acknowledge that education is not the great equalizer that we’ve pushed it to be within the Black community.
We’re proud of our babies getting into college, especially elite white institutions, without considering the costs. With the best of intentions, we’ve pushed our children into getting educations that have saddled them with thousands of dollars of insurmountable loan debt with no improved net worth to show for it. The wealth gap between middle class whites and Blacks has continued to increase since the Great Recession of 2007-2009. There are no signs of closing that gap, especially when we acquire wealth through real estate — where home prices are increasingly pushing us out of our own neighborhoods.
You can’t dismantle the master’s house using his tools. I’m not anti-education; I have 2 degrees and may pursue more. But we needn’t pretend that education creates equal access in a system whose maintenance requires keeping some people impoverished.
The elite status of these institutions were created *by* the elite to differentiate themselves from #ThePoors. Yeah they’ll allow quota admissions of working and lower middle class people to support their “pulled up by the bootstraps” narrative, but these institutions are, by and large, designed to continue grooming generational wealth (and manufacture wealth gaps for the not-so-fortunate).
Any equalizer requires multiple parts and a college education is but one part. Will the degree get your foot in the door? Thousands of unemployed and underemployed college graduates say THAT’S a lie. You need a network, mentorship, and a charted course that begins long before a foot is even set on a college campus.
Of course, nothing will change. The privilege of the 50 defendants involved will afford them minimal punishments. After all, they’ll be presided over by judges who are products and participants in the same system. But you can bet your ass that Black folks gon continue to meme Aunt Becky and frolic in white tears of dismay that there are no boots or straps, just money and access to it. I just hope we pause long enough to see the painful truth: the system was never designed to empower us.