Culture

The College Cheating Scandal Highlights The Different Paths Many Face Getting To College

karla_estrada_222 / oliviajade / Instagram | Getty Image

When Denise Ocana heard the news the about the college admissions scandal, she wasn’t surprised. Ocana, 25, worked weekends at a swap meet with her parents to save enough money to attend UCLA, her dream school. Coincidentally, UCLA was one of schools embroiled in the the nation’s largest admissions scandal. Whether it’s working multiple jobs, studying long nights for the SAT or applying for endless scholarships, Ocana is one of many individuals that have to make every sacrifice possible to even have a chance of attending college.

While some were shocked to learn of reports that wealthy parents essentially paid to get their kids into elite schools, the news is a shot of reality. It’s also a glimpse into the two different playing fields people face when applying to their dream school. The scandal has started discussions about why factors such as donations and legacy status are part of the admissions process, which has traditionally benefited wealthier families.

The college admissions scandal reinforced the belief the process can be gamed by those with wealth and influence.

@karla_estrada22/Twitter

Like Ocana, Karla Estrada, 28, wasn’t surprised when she heard about the scandal. Estrada, a UCLA graduate, said it reaffirmed her belief that a portion of her classmates “got some help” in the admission process.

“It was common knowledge that some bought their way in but to have it confirmed was satisfying in a sense,” Estrada said. “But there’s some bitterness because it’s not fair to just have it handed it to them and have us have to fight for it.”

Estrada was an undocumented student which made getting any type of financial assistance nearly impossible. She worked full time to save for school and had no financial help from her parents. There was no federal aid available for her let alone enough scholarship money for her to pay tuition. For these reasons, Estrada had to find a sponsor to help her get enough money to attend school.

“We barely had enough money to eat let alone for school. I had to get sponsorship so I literally showed up to random companies to speak to their CEO to ask if someone could pay for my college,” Estrada said. “Lucas Oil and Lite Source ended up helping and because of them I was able to afford college.”

The scandal has started a discourse around affirmative action.

@EricaLG/Twitter

The admissions scandal highlights the racial and economic disparities that plague access to higher education. Yet when many students of color get access to these institutions, a stereotype follows them. The notion that affirmative action is the only reason they are there. At times they are accused of taking slots from white students just because of their ethnicity or race.

Izaak Ramirez, 27, disagrees with the notion that students of color get into college easier based on the color of their skin. Ramirez applied to seven colleges but didn’t get into UCLA, his dream school. He had to go the community college route despite having a 3.7 GPA in high school.

“It was overwhelming and I sat there and cried because of all the efforts I put forward felt wasted in a way,” Ramirez said. “Being a person of color or a Latino doesn’t automatically means you’re getting through that door.

Ramirez knows what accessing an elite school means in terms of getting a career and making a name for yourself. Grads of elite universities tend to earn annual salaries that are as much as 50 percent higher than all other college grads. That alone is worth making countless sacrifices to get themselves into these institutions.

Even during college things don’t get easier for many.

@hija_dl_trueno /Twitter

Ocana is currently in a graduate program at California State University, Northridge where she is pursuing a degree in Public Administration. Yet as she pursues the next chapter in her education, she is still reminded at times how hard it is to stand out at these institutions. Ocana says at times she feels she’s competing against the system and the admissions scandal reminds her how easy it is for some.

“No one’s surprised by the news and honestly it was just a matter of time before everyone knew,” Ocana said about the scandal. “If we all had the money to pay to get into college we’d all be here but what’s the pride in that. If my option was CSUN or USC , I’d still go to USC but that’s not how it works.”

Despite the advantages that some may have, hard work is something that will always be valued.

@latinoheritagela / Instagram

While the admissions scandal has shined a light on what’s wrong about the college application process, it’s also highlighted what’s good. For the number of those that try to cheat their way in, there’s more that are working harder just to get their chance.

Estrada is an example of this hard work. No legal status, limited financial help but a work ethic that few can match. Today, she is a immigration law & criminal defense paralegal trying to make a difference in her own community.

Despite the negativity the scandal has brought, Estrada hopes it starts a much needed conversation about the reality that so many Latinos and people of color have to endure in college.

“Sometimes we believe that we don’t belong here even though we have earned our seat in the classroom,” Estrada said “We have to constantly prove to the world we are good enough and then prove to ourselves. I say we are more than good enough.”

READ: UCLA Men’s Soccer Coach Jorge Salcedo Is One Of More Than 50 People Indicted In College Bribery Scandal

The Daily Show’ Tried To Use The Term ‘Latinx’ And People Weren’t Happy About It

Entertainment

The Daily Show’ Tried To Use The Term ‘Latinx’ And People Weren’t Happy About It

Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic? You’ve heard all of those terms before, and you have, of course, also heard the arguments that come over their use. Nowadays, many younger generations of Latinx folks decide to opt for “Latinx” because it’s more inclusive but there are still others who haven’t fully accepted or adopted this term in their daily lives. 

Many people who are of Mexican, Argentinian, Cuban, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan (and many other countries!) descent, have a difficult time coming agreeing to one term that everyone can identify as. 

But that’s the point of having different opinions and experiences, so it’s important to learn more about one’s history and also be open to another’s point of view.

Reddit user u/Aldopeck posted a status on the thread r/stupidpol posted about the Daily Show trying to use “Latinx to seem woke to Spanish people. All the Latinos in the comment section react saying ‘Latinx’ is a bullshit term that’s never going to be a thing.” 

Many people have also tried to make sense of whether Latino, Latinx or Hispanic is any “better” or “more inclusive” of a term. For example, last year, Remezcla published an extensive article on a brief but thorough history of how these words originated.  “Through my conversations and research into the background of these terms, it became clear that the origins and evolution of what we call ourselves is as complicated as our history in the United States,” writes Yara Simón for Remezcla on the topic

“We’ll probably never find a perfect term, especially as some prefer to identify as their (or their family’s) country of origin.”

Arturo Castro went on the Daily Show last month to talk to Trevor Noah about his latest sketch show “Alternatino.” In the segment, Castro spoke to Noah about how difficult it was to juggle his characters from “Broad City” and “Narcos.” But he also talked about his heritage and how his experiences as a Latino influence his work. 

“You know, being Latino, everybody sort of expects you to be, like, suave, you know, and really like spicy food or be really good at dancing,” Castro said. “I really like matcha, you know?”

But regardless of his matcha-loving ways, Castro is very intentional about uplifting his community (he’s from Guatemala) and isn’t one to shy away from major issues affecting people of color through his Comedy Central sketch show, “Alternatino.” For example, earlier this week, Comedy Central aired an episode of “Alternatino” that includes a mass-shooting-themed sketch

In “The Daily Show” interview, Noah then asks Castro, “what do you think some of the biggest misconceptions are about being Latino that you’ve come across in America that you try and debunk in the show?” 

To which Castro replies, “Well, you know, there’s this thing about being ultra-violent or being lazy. Like, you know, the most common misconception is about Latino immigrants being lazy. Where I find Latino immigrants to be some of the hardest-working people in the world, right?” 

While Arturo Castro dropped some gems during the interview, notice that his quotes all referred to his community and himself as “Latino”? Well, when The Daily Show shared a promotional post on Facebook about the interview, they used the term “Latinx” and people were not happy about it.

“Arturo Castro pokes fun at Latinx stereotypes on his new sketch series, “Alternatino,” the social team for The Daily Show wrote on Facebook. 

It didn’t take long for the backlash to pop up in the comments section.

Users were quick to comment on the use of the term Latinx, and criticize the show for inserting the word into Castro’s quote.

While the argument about whether one should use Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic is still up in the air, people can’t help but have opinions about it. 

A reddit user argued that “you can’t really say [Latinx] in Spanish. I mean you can ‘Latin-equis’ but nobody does. The whole thing just reeks of white liberal wokeness being imposed on a community of smelly unfortunates. If they’re so concerned with gendered languages why don’t they do the same thing with French, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.?” 

But other Facebook commenters weren’t going to let people off the hook for criticizing The Daily Show’s use of “Latinx” in their promotion. 

As one Facebook user pointed out, “not everyone identifies as binary male/female…hence the use of Latinx…it is for people who can’t or won’t identify as either. If you don’t like Latinx then don’t use it…see how simple that was?”

So, what’s it going to be? Latinx, Latino, or Hispanic? This social outrage also begs the question, if someone didn’t refer to themselves as “Latinx,” then should you omit the use of that term completely? Should brands be thinking harder about this before they hit post? 

You tell us! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

We Haven’t Fully Recovered From The Frustration And Anger With The Aunt Becky College Scandal But Lifetime Is Already Working On A Movie

Entertainment

We Haven’t Fully Recovered From The Frustration And Anger With The Aunt Becky College Scandal But Lifetime Is Already Working On A Movie

Lifetime is gearing up to immortalize the epic college admissions scandal into our digital zeitgeist and release a two-hour movie this fall. The movie will highlight two mothers obsessed with getting their children into elite colleges and the consequences of their actions as they unfold. Audiences are hoping the movie will feature the lives of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — the two most famous women involved in the scandal.

As juicy as it will be to see the dramatization, there’s another layerLori Loughlin, also known as Aunt Becky from “Full House,” was on Lifetime’s payroll until the network terminated their contract after the scandal erupted.

The network does not plan to hold back.

@DrakeBeTheTypa / Twitter

In a statement released by A+E Networks, College Admissions Scandal will center “on the story that captivated a nation where over 50 privileged and elite individuals from across the country were exposed for criminally conspiring to influence the undergraduate admissions decisions at some of America’s top schools.”

The Internet is assuming this movie will focus on Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

@runningjoke / Twitter

While there were plenty of high-profile names involved in the scandal, including several fathers, the Internet is taking a cue from A+E’s own description of the movie. According to A+E, “College Admissions Scandal will follow two wealthy mothers who share an obsession with getting their teenagers into the best possible college.”

“When charismatic college admissions consultant Rick Singer offers a side door into the prestigious institutions of their dreams, they willingly partake with visions of coveted acceptance letters in their heads. But when Singer cooperates with the FBI and pleads guilty, the mothers who risked everything for their kids, must face the consequences of their crimes and the loss of trust and respect from their families.”

Here’s a breakdown of the charges.

@historyjk / Twitter

Felicity Huffman pled guilty to paying $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT scores. Huffman and husband, William H. Macy, are parents to Sofia Grace Macy. Since the chaos, Sofia has put her college plans on hold, taking at least a year off.

Ironically, Felicity Huffman has previously played the role of a criminally-minded mother on screen.

@swim24 / Twitter

Huffman is best known for her role as Lynette in Desperate Housewives. During Season 1, she “donates” $15,000 to an elite private school to get her twin boys accepted. During a tour of the school, the headmaster suggests that they make a generous donation to secure the spot, so the family sells their boat and the boys go off to school. 🤯

Meanwhile, Lori Loughlin has pled “not guilty” to a much bigger charge.

@THR / Twitter

Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were both indicted on fraud and money laundering charges for paying $500,000 to “admissions consultant” Rick Singer. The donation went to Singer’s nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation, which prosecutors are alleging is just a front for accepting bribes.

Loughlin’s two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, were designated as crew team recruits for USC, though they’ve never played crew, and are not listed on the USC women’s rowing roster. If convicted, Loughlin and Giannulli could spend up to 20 years in prison on each charge.

The television network may have already released the names of the cast.

@davidmackau / Twitter

Currently, all the Internet can think about is who will be cast to play who. While some are rooting for their favorite actresses, others don’t want them dragged into this mess.

Writer, Stephen Tolkin, has already co-created a series with Loughlin.

@SarahWatson42 / Twitter

Tolkin and Loughlin co-created Summerland together. That time, Loughlin’s character was the hero raising her niece and nephews after their parents die. This time, Tolkin may be using his intimate working relationship with Loughlin to depict her character on screen. It is to be determined if Tolkin be objective in this new movie.

By the time the movie is released, the public should know whether Loughlin is guilty or innocent.

@TheHEartBroke / Twitter

Still, many students, especially first-generation students, are left with loan debt and a decreasing number of opportunities for college graduates.

Despite obstacles, Latinos and POC have been getting into college without help from SAT rigging and privilege.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are fewer and fewer Latino students going to college. In fact, despite how rapidly the Latino community is growing in the U.S., a widening education gap lands us at half as likely to hold a college degree as non-Latino white adults according to The Education Trust.

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