Opinion

Scholastic Meritocracy

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Posted: May 30, 2019 12:01 AM
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Scholastic Meritocracy

Source: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

With all of the high-profile reports of corruption within the college admissions process surfacing, it is apparent that there is not always scholastic meritocracy. Asian Americans are being routinely discriminated against, throttled in their admissions, despite their statistically higher performance in both coursework and pre-college entrance exams. Similarly, wealthy Americans are being persecuted and penalized, under the guise of equality, for their attempts to circumvent the admissions process. Yet, I would argue that the worst of all transgressions are against the African American community -- admitted on the basis of despair and under the guise of diversity rather than merit. You may ask yourself, "But why would they refute progress for their own children?" Well, sadly, the answer is that progress for African Americans is not sought for -- or by -- the African American community. Instead, it is sought after by admissions offices and human resources departments in the name of Affirmative Action and diversity.

Since 1965, Executive Order 11246 stipulated that the United States would, "hire without regard to race, religion and national origin." Affirmative Action, as this practice came to be known, stood to benefit minority groups following the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, Affirmative Action, as we've come to know it, has been systemically perverted. Colleges and universities don't want to fill the slots of their prestigious halls with the most qualified African Americans. Instead, they seem to want to reserve their minority quota for the least qualified!

Keeping the anonymity of the subjects, I'll share a parable that sheds some light on this troubling matter. There is an Atlanta-based businessman whom I've come to know of African American origin. He grew up in the projects of Kansas City, Missouri, in a family with three siblings. He and all of his siblings had different fathers. He worked doggedly through school, earned outstanding marks and was ultimately rewarded for his efforts with scholarships through both engineering school and law school at his state university. However, when he went to the Brookings Institution discussion on early childhood development, he referenced his trajectory as a potential subject for study. He was summarily brushed aside. They curtly labeled him as an "outlier" and pressed on.

The same Atlanta businessman has a son of grade school age. Like his father before him, the son works diligently, earns high marks and yet was refused admission to a highly sought-after private school. What was the rationale? They didn't want to admit the child because they were reserving spots for minority children who were needs-based. Is the inequity of the matter not obvious to all? The father had worked extraordinarily hard and had the resources to pay the tuition, and yet the institution had failed him and penalized his family for achieving!

The scope of discrimination is not limited to the education space, nor is it governed solely by institutions. African American citizens are routinely harnessing democracy to oppress their own. The obligation to be relatable has surpassed the need for qualification and effectiveness. The African American community has overemphasized value in uniformity of its plight -- and are willing to abandon our sons and daughters who have advanced!

A second example of this discriminatory behavior comes from within the African American community. One of the many talented young people who has appeared on "The Armstrong Williams Show" with me ran for a council seat in his city. He was an Ivy League graduate twice over and had attended one of the most prestigious boys schools in his city -- yet was denied support by the Democrats of his municipality. This young man was educationally overqualified, running against a benign liberal (who finished second) and an incumbent who had been both the party chair and a councilmember simultaneously. Despite this inherent conflict and his other opponent's unfamiliarity, this young man, who had also outraised his peers, finished last.

Why, one might ask, and how could this be possible? The residents of this fiefdom did not want someone of his ilk to be empowered. It is easier to elect someone who is familiar -- and not a threat -- than someone who has risen from among the ranks with the same disadvantages and truly succeeded. In Australia, they refer to this school of thought as tall poppy syndrome -- that is to say, the practice of cutting someone down who speaks of their accomplishments. In fact, the most tragic segment of his candidacy was his striving to become more relatable. This young man had to convey that he had grown up in a family with eight children, emphasizing his lower-middle-class roots, in order to make himself more endearing and relatable.

America's educational and political systems simply do not want multigenerational success for African Americans; they want rescues. With these practices as the rationale, the educational system is successful in indoctrinating a sense of indebtedness -- encouraging multigenerational poverty and perpetuating oppression. Within the African American community, this narrative is disproportionately perpetuated by voters -- much to the chagrin of our successful overachievers. Do we not desire for our people to move forward, for us to accomplish more and disseminate our findings back into our communities? The liberal messaging says "yes," but their practices simply don't echo that sentiment.