This week Long Island resident Kwasi Enin was accepted to all 8 Ivy League colleges, which includes the Harvard, Yale, Princeton (“HYP”) trifecta plus Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania. For any mere mortal, getting admitted to or even wait-listed at one Ivy League school is a huge feat, so getting in to all of them is big news indeed. Most people who go to these types of schools should feel lucky because the numbers are simply against you, so Enin’s story is one about what happens when luck, talent, and hard work come together.
Unfortunately, the fact that he is a 17-year old black kid makes his acceptances even more newsworthy. One of my Facebook friends — a black female professor at a top tier research university — wondered why people are so surprised it’s possible for a black kid to get into all 8 Ivy League schools, her point being that black kids get into Ivies all the time. And it’s true. My best friend — a black male — got admitted to Harvard, Yale and Columbia. That’s 3 for 8, which is still amazing. Others celebrated Enin’s achievements without even knowing he was black. But predictably, whenever any black kid gets into a top school, here come 1000s of white people who say that he “took their place.”
Here are 5 criticisms I found that people are making about Enin’s Ivy League Victory and why they are ridiculous.
1. OMG He Just Got In Because He’s Black
Ah, yes. The age-old affirmative action argument whereby some white people feel like whenever a black person does something good it’s clearly just because he is black and because all universities everywhere are against white people. But like bro, have you ever set FOOT on an Ivy League campus? PRO TIP: They are not crawling with black people!!! In some ways there’s nothing whiter than an Ivy League campus, even the most diverse ones. I always thought Yale was super diverse, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t always aware of being one of few black kids wherever I was, or that people didn’t look directly at me when the professor posed a question about race. What’s even more sinister is the thesis that a black or brown person snatched “your place” at an elite college. But don’t you see? Thinking that you already have a place — and getting mad if you “lose” it to a brown person — is perhaps the defining feature of white privilege.
2. He Just Got In Because He’s An Athlete
True, he did play sports. But let’s talk about the fact he graduated from a public school in Long Island, not some fancy prep school in New York or a boarding school in England. I am always more impressed when people get into great colleges from public schools than I am when people come from private schools, and maybe that’s wrong of me. But I feel like people who go to public schools have to work a little bit harder and a little bit smarter to stand out.
3. He Should Not Have Gotten In Based On His Credentials Alone
One thing I notice about college students is that they often talk about where they applied to college and where they could have gone. Everyone loves to say, “Well I got wait listed at X but I just choose to come to Y because slutever.” College and test prep are huge businesses for a reason. It’s about making sure you have the “right” credentials for the job. But they also LOVE playing the role of college admissions officer and being all, “I don’t think you would get in based on X Number.”
Um HELLO. Have you seen his credentials? Dude played three instruments in the chamber orchestra, in addition to being on sports teams. He’s been in plays, volunteered as his church and in animal shelters, volunteers in the Radiology Department at Stony Brook University, took 11 AP courses and, oh btw, scored 2250 on the SAT which puts him in the 99 percentile of everyone who has taken the SAT.
I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that fact that lots of white people are angry that he did something that so few can do, or that he actually has to rehearse his credentials to prove that he is worthy.
4. He Would Not Have Had This Absurd Success If He Were A White Kid
There are plenty of white kids in Ivy League schools with below-average test scores and grades, who are absolutely terrible writers but who have the right connections or went to a top prep school in Europe or are a legacy admit or have their last name on a building or have a lot of money or who are a celebrity or a child of a celebrity. What say ye to that?
5. Being Rejected Is A Reflection Of Your Self-Worth
At the end of the day, Kwasi Enin seems brilliant and he deserves all of the success he is having, regardless of skin color. But it’s like I said earlier, getting into a single Ivy League school is tough for everyone and there is no way that every single person who applies is going to be admitted to any of them, let alone all. Getting denied from a top college is part of life. You are not going to win every scholarship or get every job or internship or position you apply to. People need to learn to CALM DOWN and deal with rejection and stop pulling the race card every single time a brown person does something right.