Picture this, you enter a world where the overprivileged are seen as victims while those at the bottom due to forms of unseen and unmentioned oppressions are regulated as nothing more than “problems”. The oppressed is screaming for justice and fairness, but the mainstream largely doesn’t buy it because the oppressed cannot afford it. While at the same time, those with privileges are given a chance to speak. They are respected and protected so much that they become poster children for dignity and humanity so much so that society will not hold back in assisting them by all means.
This may sound like a scenario you would see in an episode of The Twilight Zone, but this is not a television show. It is real. It is happening as you read this, and will likely continue when you leave this page.
For some, people who basically have the entire world handed to them on a silver platter, it is still tough as hell for them when they don’t get what they want even when they truly don’t deserve it. Take for instance Abigail Fisher a 23-year-old who is suing the University of Texas. Her problem is that they didn’t accept her application to get in. Therefore, she and her backer Edward Blum concluded what so many whites these days accuse of when they didn’t get accepted into a college or promoted to a higher position, affirmative action.
Whites, especially those on the right, cry and moan when their applications into obtaining more privileges are turned down. Their usual explanation is that people of color was selected over them. Their fragile egos crack into a zillion pieces when they bellyache how they believed they are more “qualified” as opposed to the “other” people. What’s the blame for this? Affirmative action.
It’s never hinted that the people of color earned their spot. The stereotype of inbred colored laziness and disqualification always come with the frustrations that come from the suspicions of affirmative action. They don’t even think that maybe it was them who was lazy or incompetent.
Getting back to Fisher v. University of Texas. The case is being weighed by the Supreme Court, which means she must have some pull behind to take it this far. Even so, Fisher’s push to fight this case is flaky and not just because that affirmative action largely helps white women, in which she is one.
One might assume that Ms. Fisher was one of the top students of her class. She would be a straight ‘A student, right? WRONG! She failed to graduate at the top 10 percent of her class. But that’s only part of it according to ProPublica:
(Fisher) and other applicants who did not make the cut were evaluated based on two scores. One allotted points for grades and test scores. The other, called a personal achievement index, awarded points for two required essays, leadership, activities, service and “special circumstances.” Those included socioeconomic status of the student or the student’s school, coming from a home with a single parent or one where English wasn’t spoken. And race.
Those two scores, combined, determine admission.
Even among those students, Fisher did not particularly stand out. Court records show her grade point average (3.59) and SAT scores (1180 out of 1600) were good but not great for the highly selective flagship university. The school’s rejection rate that year for the remaining 841 openings was higher than the turn-down rate for students trying to get into Harvard.
As a result, university officials claim in court filings that even if Fisher received points for her race and every other personal achievement factor, the letter she received in the mail still would have said no.
It’s true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino. Forty-two were white.
Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher’s who were also denied entry into the university that year. Also left unsaid is the fact that Fisher turned down a standard UT offer under which she could have gone to the university her sophomore year if she earned a 3.2 GPA at another Texas university school in her freshman year.
So, while the Supreme Court, a largely conservative faction of white privilege politics mutter their way through this non-issue (I wouldn’t be surprise if they award her stupid ass), those of us down on planet Earth have to struggle with budget cuts and school closings running rampant in this country. Somewhere in poor neighborhoods largely populated by blacks and Latinos, a school is either on the verge of closing its doors permanently or has been put to rest for good. I’m sure none of the people protesting from those communities would be able to get their cases to the Supreme Court.
Yet, it is those people and their youth who are the subjects when it comes to drop out rates. It is they who are scolded about the importance of obtaining an education. But what happens when those opportunities are taken away through political and legal action?
Case in point, you remember Kelley Williams-Bolar, a young black mother who, along with her husband “falsified their residency records” so that their children could go to school outside their district according to the Sun Times:
Williams-Bolar lived in Akron, Ohio. She claimed she moved the children into her father’s house after her home was burglarized. Using her father’s address, she enrolled her daughters in the Copley-Fairlawn school district in Copley, Ohio.
But a jury convicted Williams-Bolar on the charges, and she was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years of probation and community service.
Recently, another story emerged with a similar premise. It is the case of Tanya McDowell:
In 2011, Tanya McDowell, 34, of Bridgeport, Conn., was charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny, for illegally enrolling her son in the Norwalk public school system.
McDowell was accused of “stealing educational services” amounting to $15,686.
The single mother claimed she was homeless and living from pillar to post when she put her son in the Norwalk school.
McDowell has a criminal past that includes first-degree robbery and illegal drug possession, according to a news report.
Along with the education theft charges, McDowell also was charged with four counts of drug possession and sales.
McDowell accepted a plea deal — and was sentenced to five years in prison on the education theft charges.
Later, a judge sentenced the mother to 12 years on the drug charges, a sentence that will be suspended after five years. Afterward, she will be on probation for five years. McDowell will serve the drug sentence concurrently with the education theft sentence.
However, both had something in common, an education for their children. Yet, due to institutionalized forms of oppression and criminalization, both women were charged for it. McDowell’s case is especially hard due to her criminal record. What will become of her child while she’s in prison?
And, there you have it. You have two women generally faulted for something that – I bet – many other privileged families do, but are never caught while you have one more who is fighting to obtain an entry into a prestigious college despite her documented shortcomings. Fisher’s case should’ve been dropped since day one, but she apparently has some support. Some people will call her a victim of an unfair system of advantages that will award certain people based on color, and her only frailty was that she was born white.
On the other hand, Williams-Bolar and McDowell are criminalized by a racist injustice system and a school system with the same sentiments. They will not be regarded as victims of a cruel, unfair system, especially McDowell who will be regulated as the archetypical pathetic ghetto mom who’s prone for making weak choices and shouldn’t have had children to begin with.
As long as we see one as the victim and the other as the problem, society’s priorities will continue to tear itself apart. A new mode of thinking must be set into motion, one that recognizes who the actual victims are and help them help themselves. This isn’t letting the poor sponge off the government. This is about justice and equality. But it will never happen as long as society refuses to tell the difference between the struggling and the spoiled.