The College Admission Fraud case, Operation Varsity Blues

A little extra insight on Operation Varsity Blues; from Rolling Stone magazine- https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/college-admissions-scam-lori-loughlin-felicity-huffman-807208/

“5. Felicity Huffman was concerned about getting caught.
… In 2018, Huffman allegedly paid CW-1 $15,000 so her oldest daughter could participate in the SAT exam scheme. When it came time for her younger daughter to apply to college, Huffman considered enlisting CW-1 again, but ultimately chose against it because she was concerned her daughter’s SAT tutor would be suspicious if her score increased too much: “I just didn’t know if it’d be odd for [the tutor] if we go, ‘Oh, she did this in — in March 9th, but she did so much better in May.’ I don’t know if that’d be like — if [the tutor] would be like ‘Wow,’” Huffman told CW-1, per the court docs.”

The thing that bites me more is the fact that she. has. an. SAT. tutor. This doesn’t sound like much, and quite frankly, this isn’t that uncommon. However, this is privilege, plain and simple. All the privilege, and they *still* want *more* advantage. It must be nice to have all that disposable wealth.

Things like this are the reason that black and brown students don’t get into the good schools at rates they should. There is a multitude of chain reactions here that cause inequality. I’ll get to that in a minute.

We are a family of privilege. I am fully aware of that. We up and moved *twice*, once literally across the country, to live in the area with the best public schools we could get into. That was an advantage we had because of wealth. I absolutely understand the need to provide the best lives for your kids, and being willing to take extreme measures to ensure the best lives you can give your kids. Not everyone can afford to uproot and move to get to better schools, though.

There is a vicious cycle, and we are part of it. I feel a level of shame for that, but I also know we didn’t get where we are entirely by privilege. Sure, we’re white, but that was the limit of my privilege growing up. Looking back, though, I’m certain that was a big, big, big slice of how we got here. We had all sorts of disadvantages- we were working class, there were substance abuses, a constant lack of money, (partly owing to the substance abuse, but also from my being the result of a high school pregnancy in the endtimes of manufacturing jobs), physical abuses, being the “poor kid” getting bussed to a more affluent school (I had really good test scores…). Regardless, we’re now firmly out of “working class” economic territory. We’re nowhere *near* wealthy, but generally, I’m no longer floating checks to payday. Still, I’m very much a lucky man, on many fronts.

There’s this image of the “welfare queen” from the Reagan campaign- you know the look. Picture her in your head, go ahead. If you pictured a white woman, I’m not going to believe you. The prevailing theory from certain conservative circles is that black and brown people are poor by circumstance, not the system; and they will cheat and take advantage whenever it suits them. Those people completely fail to see the irony when rich people and businesses take advantage of the system- that’s just a bad individual, after all.

The “truth” is that people of color collectively have less wealth than people who look more like me. That means POC are poor. Poor people live in areas with higher crime. Higher crime is indicative of lower quality people. The people who commit crimes are people of color, because that’s what we see on the news. People of color use drugs more, just look at the prison system! Black people are violent! That’s why there’s more police related deaths! People should just be more compliant! Black people and brown people live in crime ridden areas because most of them are drug dealing criminals, and the drugs are the reason they stay poor and go to prison more.

OMG. The logic from that paragraph makes my head hurt.

The chain reaction I mentioned way up above is real. That “logic” that hurt my head has actual valid facts, just misattributed reasons. POC are in prison for drugs more, not because they use drug or sell drugs more- it’s because they are prosecuted more. Statistics say they tend to be more poor- that leads to not being able to hire expensive lawyers. Statistics also say they tend to be poor. Poor people stay poor because it’s harder to develop wealth in poor neighborhoods, because property values are kept low, because wealthy people don’t want to live in those neighborhoods, because of the crime, caused by poor people who often don’t have better prospects, because education money is tied to property values, which is tied to the neighborhood, which is poor, which is blacker/browner than white neighborhoods, which causes poor people to suffer, which encourages escapism with substances, which leads to arrests, which is crime, which lowers property values, with diminished wealth…. have I made my point here? The death spiral needs a way out. Nobody chooses to be poor. Poor people don’t choose to live in poor areas. Poor people live where they can afford to. POC who do make it out of the poor communities have the added insult in that often they don’t feel welcomed in white neighborhoods- often rightfully so, as the white people can get very unwelcoming.

I can’t *not* see the racial component in that, but let’s step away from that. Race aside, that way out is *supposed* to come in the form of higher education. The bastion of meritocracy. If you are smart and capable, you have as good a chance as any others. We are well off. We still can’t buy our way into Harvard or Yale or …. wait a minute… apparently we can. That’s why I’m angry at the people perpetrating this. We play by the rules, we encourage our kids, we want the best for them, but we still play by the rules. Cheating the system is one of the fastest ways to make me angry- the guy that flies up the shoulder to merge ahead of traffic; the lady that slaps a “service dog” harness on her chihuahua to take it into the deli; the guy that has zero shame in claiming to be a Christian family man while making his mistress get an abortion, paid for as a congressional expense; virtually every single thing 45 has ever done. All with no sense of shame. Gleefully.This sort of thing is bullshit.

This is unrelated, but the worst are the people who not only cheat, but feel people who don’t cheat are the suckers for doing the right thing. See: Merrick Garland.

Throw the book at these people, ESPECIALLY the ones that took the money.

I feel a sense of pity for the kids that are getting mixed up in this. Some of them will have had zero knowledge of what their parents were pulling behind the scenes. Some will have known, but even so- they are being taught how to cheat the system by a parent, and are thus betrayed, too. There’s a sense of schadenfreude at the rich kids getting hurt in this, but I can’t say they necessarily deserve it. The worst part is that it’s really hard for a child to recognize when a parent has failed them. Some of the worst parents I’ve ever seen had children that worshipped them.

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