The college fraud scandal that broke this week has several parallels to real life. The concept is pretty basic: money can you anything you want. A person without skill, talent, or merit is beside the point. Getting anywhere in life — if success is essential to you — is not only a matter of who you know, but how much you’re willing to pay to get there. This latter climbing concept indeed applies to all issues in life, not just the workforce, not just school, but housewives too who want to “keep up with the Joneses.” Paying your way into a powerful tier is about appearances and not at all about proving how you actually got there.
We say all of this to illustrate a point that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted in response to a tweet about affirmative action and politics. We should first add that affirmative action, a system that helps promote the “education and employment of members of groups that are known to have previously suffered from discrimination” has long been refuted by typically white people because they claim getting a job or getting into school without merit is unjust. But I digress.
Bitch Media co-founder Andi Zeisler brought up an important point regarding the college fraud scheme. She broke down the irony of how the wealthy are able to pay their children into the best schools despite it being illegal, and yet affirmative action is still frowned upon.
“Perhaps this is a good time to talk about all the perfectly legal ways the wealthy are both allowed and expected to manipulate college-admissions systems while teaching their children to disparage ‘affirmative action,'” Zeisler tweeted.
In response, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “I guess college admissions isn’t that different from elections, where lots of money can buy your spot too. Also, a [enviornment] where those who make it despite the odds are suspected to not have ‘earned’ it, not truly belong, or assumed to not be able to perform at the same level.”
Ocasio-Cortez touches on the countless times conservatives have berated her for not having worked hard enough to earn her place in Congress. That line of thinking is outraging when we, for example, make a case of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s top White House advisor. Kushner, a Harvard grad, who’s White House credentials have come into question many times, was accepted into the Ivy League school because his father pledged the school $2.5 million.
According to a 2016 report in ProPublica, Kushner’s high school background in no way could have gotten him into Harvard.
“There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,” a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. “His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.”
And, yet, Kushner has a cushy White House job and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez — who worked her ass off to get into school, get elected, and make a name for herself just in a couple of months of being confirmed into office, gets crap for not being qualified. The “old boys club” is an almost laughable concept if it weren’t so infuriating.