Archive | March, 2019

God Bless the Children

14 Mar


The latest college scandal immediately made me think of the great Billie Holiday, who sang

“Them that’s got, shall get

Them that’s not, shall lose

So the Bible says

And it still is news”

The fact that people with privilege (race privilege, gender privilege, economic privilege) are exempt from many of the trials and tribulations that the rest of us go through is hardly news. What is news, however, is some people’s shock that something like this latest college scandal could happen. The college scandal, not surprisingly, had an angle where supposed athletic performance was used in exchange for favorable admission.

One of the ironies of the scandal is that we may not have heard much about it if it had not been the presence of two actresses. The top one percent is gaming the system all over the place, yet we rarely hear about it. I’ll have purchased media silence for $500, Alex.

What bothers me the most about the scandal is two-fold. On a personal level, I worked my way through my undergraduate degree, taking 4.5 years to complete it. I worked my way through my first master’s degree, taking 5 years to complete it. And I worked my way through my last master’s degree also, taking almost a decade to complete it.

Mama didn’t have, Papa didn’t have, but God bless this child that had the will.

On another level, this cheating scandal just causes some people to look side-eyed at high achieving people of color who are in academic pursuits. The gossip around the library is that so and so only got admitted due to affirmative action, quotas, or something other than innate ability. The same skepticism happens in the workplace where echoes of “sleeping her way to the top” still ring.

While people are whispering and looking side-eyed, no one is saying a thing about the advantages given to rich, white people; children and grandchildren of institutes of higher education who automagically get in, while not as qualified as others; or the athletic train one can board and get a free education in return for your athletic skills, not for your SATs.

But affirmative action is the problem, right?

“A rich relation may give you a crust of bread and such

You can help yourself but don’t take too much”

“God Bless the Child” written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr.

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