This morning I wanna take a few minutes to break down this outrageous scandal that we learned about earlier this week where wealthy parents, primarily super wealthy white parents, were indicted on fraud charges for hundreds of different bribes they were making to get their mediocre children into the best colleges and universities around the country.
The story went viral, in great part, because several of the parents that were indicted were celebrities and actresses like the woman who played Aunt Becky on the sitcom Full House and the actress Felicity Huffman – best known for her role on Desperate Housewives.
I take this scandal personally on so many levels because my wife and I have one daughter that just entered college and another that is a junior in high school that we are preparing for college. Hell – we’re already thinking about college for our 12 year old son – and trying to make sure that he’s on the right path.
And for each of our kids – we’ve put an enormous of pressure on them to get A’s in every single class. Our daughter who is a junior in high school this year has never received a single B her entire life. Our daughter who is in college now got a 4.0 her final two years of high school. And we paid for them to take grueling SAT prep courses – that hardly seemed to help I might add – all so that they would have the best chance at success as they applied for college.
For generations in this country, Black parents have taught our children that they have to be twice as good to have the same open doors as white folk – and sometimes I’m not even sure if that’s true – when we learn that white parents across the country are literally paying people $15,000 – $20,000 to take the SAT for their children. In the indictments earlier this week we learned that white parents were literally bribing admissions officials and college coaches – sometimes with millions of dollars – to just let their mediocre children in to the top schools in the nation.
Some parents paid a women’s soccer coach at Yale $400,000 to let their daughter on the team. And get this – their daughter literally didn’t even play soccer. And it worked – they got their daughter into Yale. Another parent paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get her daughter onto a rowing team at a prestigious college – even posting fake pictures of her daughter pretending to train on a rowing machine – and it worked – even though her daughter had never been on a rowing team a day in her life.
One parent paid $6.5 million dollars to bribe their child into a top university. And it’s very frustrating as a parent to know that this is the type of stuff our children are up against. Our teenage daughter has a 4.0 and is absolutely brilliant and we’re still told that she may not even get in to some of the best colleges in the country – yet white parents are basically buying admission seats for their mediocre kids.
Most experts say this is just the tip of the iceberg. And really it is – because what we’ve learned over the past few years is that both Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, got into top colleges in a similar fashion. Pro-Publica did a huge story on Kushner last year, with interviews from his high school counselors and teachers saying that he didn’t have anywhere near the GPA and test scores to get into Harvard, but his father, who eventually went to prison for financial crimes, found a way to use money to make it happen anyway. Same thing with Trump decades ago.
It’s not just that white families bribe their way into prestigious colleges and universities – it’s that they then use the admission as a springboard to catapult their kids to positions of power – all the way to the highest offices in the land.
Just for a moment – compare the white mediocrity of Donald and Melania Trump to Barack and Michele Obama -who had to fight and scratch and claw to get into Harvard and Princeton and Columbia – where they were literally the top students there – knowing that they had to be the best of the best of the best to get where they are today.
Melania never even went to college. Can hardly even give a speech with plagiarizing. Trump is the first President in a generation to not go to grad school. Even George W. Bush struggled his way through an MBA from Harvard.
I’ll close with this thought – the past few weeks have really blown the lid off of white corruption and bribery and fraud – between Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort – and these white families bribing colleges – and we just want to be sure that everybody gets equal justice. Because we’ve seen Black families go to prison for years and years simply for using a different address to get their children into a quality public school.
I’ve gotta run, I’m flying out to speak at Berkeley in California over the next two days, but I’ll be following this story closely and will keep you posted.