‘Tis the season to receive college decisions. Sure it is important for IMSA students to be accepted into great Ivy Leagues, but what seems even more crucial to students is knowing what schools their peers have been accepted to. The competition for acceptance letters is no longer simply rivalry but seems to have an underlying tone of racism and sexism.
Earlier this school year, an African-American female IMSA senior was discriminated against due to her race and gender. She had posted a status on Facebook that stated that she had been recruited by a highly selective university. The morning after, she was greeted by many questions on the Ask.fm, a social media website where people can ask other users anonymous questions. Some offered her words of encouragement and congratulated her on her acceptance. However, many others were derogatory, bringing her race into play. She later revealed that the status was a social project and was completely fabricated.
The following two responses were but a few of the many that appeared on her profile and they remind us that we live among students who strive to be the best.
Even though nearly a month has passed and the nasty student responses may be fading from our minds, the phenomenon of racial discrimination is still ever present.
It is common, not just in the IMSA community but elsewhere, to assume that minorities are chosen based on their gender and race, not their abilities.
In fact, a portion of the United Stated population is strongly against the Affirmative Action policy. Affirmative action is meant to provide equal opportunities for underrepresented individuals, meant to counteract racism and sexism. In the college admissions process, universities seek to accept a diverse student body. The Affirmative Action policy is meant to simply guarantee that students will not be discriminated against due to their gender or ethnicity, so each student is still hand-selected. Universities do not simply look at an applicant’s race but also their standardized test scores, essays, recommendations, and transcript.
Even with these policies in place, public opinion is still firmly set towards the majority, something we can see reflected in these questions asked anonymously. These students have not shared their names so as to keep up their public facades and not put their names to shame. Many IMSA students’ responses to this senior’s “good fortune” were appalling, to say the least. As the IMSA student body, we have grown so attached to first place that when we see success in the hands of another, we wish to take it from them, and when we can’t do that, we degrade them and make them feel unworthy, as if their race and gender accomplished their personal achievements. When competition becomes derogatory towards a person’s gender or race, it becomes discrimination.