Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin) from “Full House” done got indicted and turned herself in, y’all. If you’ve been keeping up with the news recently, a gang (🤨) of celebrities have gotten arrested for a scam that many of us wouldn’t have ever fathomed was possible, let alone had enough money to engage in the pay-for-play scheme. Loughlin, her husband Mossimo Giannulli, and about 50 others, according to the Washington Post, were involved in a shady dealings that allowed their children the privilege to attend prestigious colleges and universities by paying recruiters. Some recruiters and coaches were paid as much as $500,000 for students to join sports teams, though the students didn’t even play the sports. A few of us had a conversation about it via our internal office chat. Here’s the transcript.
Joecephus Martin: Sooo … we surprised these folks buying college admissions?
Natalie A. Collier: We are not. They buy everything else, trying to keep access from us.
Melishia Brooks: Surprised they got caught, maybe, but not that they were able to do it for so long.
JM: I wonder how the regular rich whites feel about it, seeing as though, they cant get in cause of quotas and such!?!
NAC: You know how they caught, though, right?
NAC: The regular whites didn’t even know this was an option for them!
JM: I know it was an FBI thing, so someone told
MB: The regular whites have convinced themselves that affirmative action is the reason their kids are not getting in. This story, to regular whites, is fake news.
NAC: It started off as an investigation about taxes!
NAC: To cut a deal, someone snitched.
JM: And they followed the money …
NAC: What is the story to regular Black folks? The regular blacks who tell poor black folks how to “make it to regular”?
JM: Is there a story for us?
NAC: Like, what are other people who do leadership development work (not at all the way we do it) saying to the young people they work with?
JM: I was getting my haircut and my barber was just trying to figure out how you could randomly say you’re top 50 in tennis
MB: “Don’t do that when you get rich.”🤷🏽♀️
JM: I def think it’s more in line with their thinking
NAC: LOL! at “Don’t do that when you get rich.”
JM: like it reinforces the lie of twice as hard for half as much
NAC: I think so too. “See! This is why you have to work twice as hard. In fact, you have to work three times as hard!” Which still completely ignores the fact that none of this is merit-based.
MB: I do not think there has been a space in the conversation for poor Blacks, because like with most things related to access, poor Blacks are on the outside, looking in. Poor Black people are just trying to understand HOW.
NAC: We’re telling our children it’s based on merit and having them work hard; they’re having their children work (kinda) and buying access. As for how. We don’t know there’s any other way than working hard.
JM: I do think it also highlights how meaningless college CAN be, but still how valuable the name at the top of the degree is.
NAC: Despite the lie that we don’t work hard, that’s all we know how to do is work hard–at everything. People tell us it’s the only way.
MB: There must be two definitions of merit?
JM: Like, you can’t get into Stanford without help, but showing you graduated from Stanford passes a class test
NAC: OMG, yes! Do you know what it says to me? If you got into Stanford and graduated and are a “nobody” you actually might be somebody.
MB: How do we create value for the colleges at the top of our degrees?
NAC: But that’s not what others think.
JM: AND re: Stanford, wasn’t there just a thing where most of the grades received at Ivys “A”s?
JM: Yes, Stanford isn’t an Ivy, but its the same thing. it’s just like these high schools they graduate from, they’re just for them
NAC: Buuut that’s not how people see that because they’re so invested in this system. They won’t interrogate much of this–this scandal, for example–because they’re more blindly invested in a system than even they realize.
NAC: Should’ve said Harvard. (smile)
JM: like your kid going to a private high school, got parents in the home worth millions and STILL can’t write
JM: I went to community college and an HBCU
MB: This scratches the surface of the mess, and if they dig, well … You know what happens. The whole system is exposed
JM: I ain’t smart enough to know anything anyway 😒
NAC: The system can’t be exposed, not in its entirety. Too many things are at risk. Way too many are culpable, and they’re not all white.
JM: I think you’re more hopeful than I am, Melishia. Cause … I think they expose it all and folks will still be like, that’s why I need to go so I can work for this guy who works for his parents
MB: I mean, heads should roll, on all levels. If we use the Atlanta cheating scandal as an example.
JM: They showing us it’s still segregation
JM: White college admissions, black college admissions
JM: White cheating, black cheating
JM: It shows how pitiful we are in America!!!
MB: And the people within the systems would be held accountable, and that DOES not happen in these kinds of systems.
JM: these folks cheating for college and we cheating for elementary school. what’s more American than that?
MB: Big picture: Why they cheated vs. why we cheat …
JM: we so behind we trying to GET OUT of elementary and they trying to GET IN to college
NAC: It’s funny. On an episode of “Full House”— y’all probably don’t remember this—Becky (one of the actresses who got arrested; the one who isn’t Felicity Huffman, whose name I can’t remember) kept Uncle Jesse from cheating to get the twins in pre-school.
MB: I remember that episode. I wonder if it will be pulled from platforms?
MB: I think that deserves attention too. They cheated because they could. The Atlanta folks cheated because they wouldn’t have jobs/funding otherwise
NAC: That’s an important conversation, too, Melishia.
JM: all this makes me think of Eddie Murphy as a white guy on that bus
MB: We are behind because we keep focusing on figuring out how to navigate these systems that were not created for us or our children to get ahead.
NAC: Because we’re too invested in said systems and can’t imagine anything else other than operating within them (generally)
JM: Also all the other Black women who tried this and got the book thrown at them
MB:Y’all think ol’ girl thought about that episode when she wrote the check?
JM: Idk … I think about how much of a scam most of this stuff is and how unwilling folks are to really challenge it
MB: And Black girls. The Florida student who had to prove the improvement of her SAT scores.
JM: Looka here…
MB: Because there was no way she could have studied hard to improve the score by the margin she did.
NAC: I think sometimes we don’t give enough credence to the idea that poverty isn’t only about the lack of money. There are spheres of poverty, and when we are navigating spheres of poverty, some of the things we expect from people are just … not there. They can’t be. They require … I’m about to say it: space and time.
JM: Idk, it also reinforces my belief that degrees are status symbols
JM: Well, Natalie it’s the love of money
JM: Like, we think money can buy things that aren’t for sale
JM: And this degree is going to get me some money so I can get away from these negroes over here
MB: Poverty is definitely about what people outside that sphere say you are or are not worthy of. This money, this name, this skin color …
JM: AND then you running around thinking that going to MSU or UM will put you in conversations we don’t even know are happening?
JM: It also makes me realize how distant “regular” rich whites are from these kinds of white folks
NAC: They don’t even realize it, though.
MB: This should also prove to upward mobile Black people that private school does NOT mean better. These kids couldn’t pass a spelling test!
JM: They buying a slot at a college ye’en even gone try to apply to
JM: It’s a caste system for real
NAC: And it’s not school and learning, right? You have to HAVE schooling. You have to go to school to be a mechanic, just like a doctor. Whether you go to school for two semesters, eight or 12, you have to have school/training to do something. The crux of the matter is that there are things and people we value more.
JM: AND we give more money to keep it exclusive because there are jobs and people we don’t value at all
JM: The dominant culture tells us a story, we buy it, they then do whatever is necessary to get beyond that story.
MB: In their worlds, there are jobs and people that are nonexistent, basically.
JM: This is the epitome of Calvinball.
JM: Calvinball is from Calvin and Hobbes
JM: Let me find it
NAC: Oh. Calvin and Hobbes. Right.
MB: If you ever want to gauge whether white people have really messed something up, watch “The View.” If Megan McCain takes the commentary as a personal affront to her and her family, then, YEP! It’s rooted in racism and the TRUTH.
MB: Joy brought up that legacy admissions were rooted in racism and Meghan acted like Joy had called her daddy a dirty dog. SMH
NAC: <please hold, nac. has left the computer to scream-laugh>
MB: She said she’s proud that her family has a legacy at the Naval Academy and it’s nothing for her to be ashamed of.
MB: Well, ma’am. It’s also nothing to be proud of since, technically, y’all didn’t have to do anything except be born.
JM: Me and my buddy Mac was talking about this. calvinball is a game where the rules change at a moments notice so Calvin can win
JM: The rules are never the rules
NAC: Oh. It’s like when you used to play checkers with my nephew when he was a little boy, except he’d tell you: “I just want to let you know I cheat.”
JM: No. See, Calvin ball, it ain’t cheating. It’s THE RULES
JM: The only rule is Calvin wins
NAC: Gotcha. Like white supremacy.
MB: Like white supremacy.
JM: So the game can be any game, it’s, ultimately, gonna be Calvinball. The only rules in this thing is it’s all mine, even that ghetto I gave you. When I want it back, it’s mine.
MB: So even though Aunt Becky and ‘nem got caught, they still gonna win because they are NOT about to kick those kids out of school.
JM: EXACTLY! let me cheat to get in … I’d cheat for nothing. lol
MB: They might pay a portion of the money back. But that’s still winning ‘cause white folks get that too; they’re not paying it back but paying a fine.
NAC: Y’all just mad because y’all ain’t got the money to cheat. That’s what some people on the internet are saying.
MB: This is us watching them play Calvinball. Thinking we got something because we can see into the game, but still can’t play it, ‘cause we poor.
NAC: Speaking of that, I saw an article on NPR about how this scandal uniquely impacts disabled people. I saved it to go back and read it.
NAC: I thought of that when I saw that wheelchair, but I assume it will probably touch on a myriad of things.
MB: YES! Because in some instances they paid for doctors to say the kid had some sort of learning disability.
JM: I like the one where there isn’t a fence and its like freedom or something
MB: To have ACCESS to more relaxed test settings.
JM: But we get free disability stuff in our schools
JM: WE WINNING! ALL OUR KIDS GOT ADHD!!!
NAC: Y’all! I’m over here laughing with anger at the absurdity of this hypocrisy!
MB: You forget you can’t afford to take your child to the doctor for the proper diagnosis.
MB: That is behavioral, and doesn’t require any special academic accommodations.
MB: Most Black kids have 504 Plans under the IDEA act, which is different than an Individual Learning Plan. The IEP specifies academic barriers that must be removed. ADHD? TUH. You’re still in the same room with everyone else, struggling.
NAC: What’s a 504 besides New Orleans area code?
NAC: I knew IEP, but I’ve never heard of a 504 Plan.
JM: Wooooooowwww. I’m over here thinking its all the same!!!
NAC: Y’all have more background in school districts than I do. Catch me up.
MB: It dictates that schools have to make accommodations within the regular school setting for students with emotional and behavioral issues.
MB: Oh, no, sir. There are levels to ALL of it.
NAC: I’ve only heard of IEPs. My aunt taught special education for years, and that’s how I first heard of them.
MB: BUT the disability does not mentally impact a students ability to learn, so the material does not have to change, the physical accommodations do.
MB: So a child with ADHD will be able to have frequent bathroom breaks during a test. But a child with a learning disability might have a personal proctor during testing.
JM: So, I get my doctor to say my child needs accommodations, then the school has to comply
NAC: This is super new to me—this 504 thing. It also makes sense (as far as not making special accommodations in a good way) to me that people who are not separated would have something different that’s not necessarily more beneficial to their learning style. Wow.
MB: Your doctor needs to say your child has something like dyslexia or something.
JM: Being rich gets it done!!!
MB: Otherwise, the accommodation is a physical one: more scratch paper so he can doodle, larger desks, an extra highlighter.
NAC: But when you don’t have money having dyslexia still proves a nuisance. I have a cousin who has it and the school is always, basically on some, “I guess you gotta figure something out” to his parents.
MB: Because of the lack of access to the right doctors and resources.
MB: I mean, no one else has a chance if you can pay a doctor to lie for you. IJS.
NAC: I’m tickled because the absurdity and hypocrisy has quickly turned into an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
JM: ‘CAUSE that school can’t afford those resources!!!
NAC: They don’t even live in the south, which is supposed to be the worst at everything, right. So it’s not supposed to be an under-resourced school.
JM: I think there is hope.
NAC: YOU think there’s hope?!
JM: lol! I do… at some point we gotta stop playing.
NAC: What do we do? What do we keep doing, stop doing or change? Plus, Delta, Minus for our org.
JM: To just not play calvinball no more
MB: What kind of hope? Obama hope? Or Black Jesus hope?
MB: For us? Education. Context. The conversation is lost on so many because we don’t understand the historical context of any of this.
NAC: Yes, us. We can only really do anything with ourselves.
JM: Dogs quit on Iditarod leader when musher yells at one of his animals https://sports.yahoo.com/dogs-quit-on-iditarod-leader-when-musher-yells-at-one-of-his-animals-024330136.html
JM: Dogs quit on Iditarod leader when musher yells at one of his animals
The refusal of dogs to run Monday at the Iditarod magnified scrutiny of animal welfare at the annual race.
JM: These dogs recognized it. we have to do something similar. our athletes wont go to school here. our best wont go here. we will not work here. we have to starve the machine of our labor
NAC: We can’t tell anyone where to go to school or work.
JM: Oh. well, we have no hope. lol
NAC: I’m saying what will WE do organizationally? I mean, you can tell them, doesn’t mean anything, though. Because people do what they want.
MB: I gave my answer. We work alongside women and girls to make sure they know the historical context of these types of situations, and then join them in the problem solving.
NAC: You did.
JM: I think we have to do some type of political education that gets people beyond the 101 systemic analysis that social media affirms. i also think we gotta keep creating powerful spaces and trusting that folks will see the fake cause we that real
MB: In the larger scheme of things, we want this sphere of ours to have a snowball effect. As we continue to grow the network of Black girls and women who are apart of this work, the bigger the snowball will get. And we change from within, instead of trying to change the outside world or systems.
NAC: <sighs) That’s the hard work we signed up for. Love ain’t no punk.
JM: Ain’t …