On racial discrimination

With the recent decision by SCOTUS concerning college admission, race has been in the news. Social media sites were littered with frustrations over the ruling concerning race and its role in college admissions.

Ultimately, as I understand it, colleges may still discriminate based on race in favor of minority applicants if other race-neutral means have failed at the effort of achieving diversity as an educational mission.

Those “race-neutral” means referred to are the means used to admit students based on merit. If schools fail to meet the desired level of diversity with minority students based on merit, schools may choose to allow less-qualified minority applicants into the school. This is not doing minority students a favor. If students are less-qualified, they are less likely to be successful. The lack of success then perpetuates the myth that they can’t succeed.

But they wouldn’t be less qualified if it weren’t for the fact that public K-12 education is failing them. And I don’t mean giving them failing grades, I mean failing to educate them to the level of their white peers. But if they are sitting in the same classrooms and learning from the same teachers, how are they being failed? The answer is in lowered expectations.

It’s a game of numbers. A school looks bad when it has a high minority failure rate. A school looks bad when it has a high number of minority discipline referrals. Because the schools can’t control the real factors causing the high occurrences of minority failure rates and minority discipline problems, the schools fix what they can control: grades and discipline referrals.

Work that would earn a white student a failing grade, earns a black student at least a D. Behavior that would result in an office referral for a white student, is ignored or dismissed in order to keep the number of minority referrals down.

These actions are racial discrimination. Teachers and school-level administrators are forced to employ racial discrimination in order to beat the numbers and make it look like educational equality is being achieved.

But what the schools are really achieving is the creation of an underclass. We end up with students who not only never learned the standards but also never learned self-discipline. They have an expectation that no matter what they can’t fail. Racial discrimination at the K-12 level leaves them crippled and less likely to succeed in college.

Are they unsuccessful because of inherent inferiorities? No. But they are unsuccessful on account of race—on account of the fact that we fail to look beyond on it when we educate them. If we were truly race-neutral and blind to race, there would be a high minority failure rate, especially among black students. There would be a high number of behavior issues and office referrals. But those numbers would start to decrease as more and more minorities rise to meet the expectations to which they should have been held all along.

But that isn’t going to happen. As long as minorities fail to see that the discrimination hurting them the most is the discrimination intended to help them, all their failures will be blamed on racism and they will not step up to the plate and achieve what they are capable of achieving.

There is a reason why minority graduation rates are higher at more prestigious schools than at state schools. Admission requirements are tougher. The people who get in deserve to get in. They meet certain requirements, and even if those requirements are lowered a bit for minority applicants, they are lowered from really high standards and are, therefore, still high standards.

Race doesn’t matter. The color of someone’s skin is not an indication of anything. There are intelligent and not-so-intelligent people in every race. So, when we talk about race, what are we really talking about? Culture.

Culture is what really matters. And it’s somewhat racist to believe that culture does not transcend race. Race alone does not introduce diversity. A black student adopted by rich, white parents is every bit a part of the so-called “rich, white” culture. In fact, a black student raised by rich, black parents is part of that same culture. Race is not the issue. The issue is privilege.

I’m still waiting to cash in on my white privilege. Unfortunately, it’s non-existent. I’m not rich. My parents aren’t bumping elbows with important decision makers. I’m just white, and I would never have considered an ivy-league school because I could have never afforded it. And I graduated high school with a 3.7. I had two different jobs when I was 15, and I don’t mean babysitting neighbor kids. I mean wearing-a-uniform-and-reporting-to-work-with-my-shirt tucked-in kind of jobs.

I used to go on long rants about how the students at my predominantly white and middle-to-upper class school were buying their grades because they could afford to study and complete homework. I could have taken more AP classes if I hadn’t been working.

People thought I was amusing and clever. I didn’t say the things they expected or do the things they expected because we belonged to different cultures. But the black people at my school did belong to their culture. They didn’t have to work. They wore expensive clothes and drove expensive cars and lived in expensive houses. But they got minority scholarships in college.

Socio-economic status trumps race any day when it comes to true hardships. I’m not going to say racism is gone. Resentment is alive and well in the hearts of people who are bothered by the fact that individuals are getting by on race above merit. While such a system of discrimination exists, there will always be resentment and hatred. No one will ever believe that minorities are capable so long as there is a system to promote less-qualified individuals on account of racial discrimination.

Standards don’t need to be lowered unless someone genuinely believes that standards need to be lowered. Let’s truly abolish racism. Let’s promote the idea that minorities are every bit as capable as whites are. Let’s get rid of lowered expectations and show the world that racial discrimination is an unnecessary evil.

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