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OPINION: Press the Pause Button on College Admissions Outrage

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The reality in many of these universities is that by the time you subtract preferences for minorities, the spots reserved for athletes, the preferences given to the children of donors, the places taken by children of the well-connected, college admissions is a process where the only people seemingly ‘guaranteed’ a spot, are people who have the system rigged in their favor. It’s clear, from reading some of the emails, that many of these parents were trying to ‘rig’ a guaranteed spot for their kid.

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By Armstrong Williams, NNPA Newswire Contributor

The media is baring its rancid teeth again. We have more people whose lives we can now rip apart. In the latest frenzy of outrage and recrimination, the collective disdain and finger-pointing and “how could they-ism” of the media establishment has new, fresh meat: the wealthy and sometimes famous and sometimes powerful parents who were involved in a scheme to bribe and cheat to get their children into college.

Let me be clear: what these parents did is wrong. What the coaches did is wrong. What the test-proctor cheaters did is wrong.

But let’s also consider this: the whole college admissions system is rigged, and wrong, and instead of simply tsk-tsking these people who allegedly illegally paid to help their kids, maybe we should also consider why what seem to be otherwise good and upstanding people would be driven to engage in this kind of behavior.

The fact is, the whole college admissions system is rigged in one way or another to give unfair advantages. It is rigged to give preferences to black students, even if their parents are wealthy, their schools comfortable, and their lives privileged. It is rigged to give preferences to athletes.

It is rigged to give preferences to Hispanic students who write admissions essays (read by liberal college admissions officers) arguing that their family has been oppressed. It is rigged to give preferences to people who can donate $20 million to a school, have a building named after their family and have “helpful” calls made on behalf of their children when they apply.

Is any of that fair?

Parents love their children. The want to do right by them. Most parents would gladly give their lives for their children. Believing that admission to a particular college is crucial for their child’s success or imagining that it is the fulfillment of a dream—these parents looked at a system that is, by any fair account, rigged to favor a few, and they tried to make their children one of those few.

Now here’s where this gets hard: my bet is that 98% of the people involved in this scheme are upper middle-class white people. Their children, I bet, are mostly good people: involved in the community, good students. And the fact is, college admissions is rigged against white and Asian students, who often have to have better test scores and better qualifications, simply to gain admittance to a college.

The reality in many of these universities is that by the time you subtract preferences for minorities, the spots reserved for athletes, the preferences given to the children of donors, the places taken by children of the well-connected, college admissions is a process where the only people seemingly ‘guaranteed’ a spot, are people who have the system rigged in their favor. It’s clear, from reading some of the emails, that many of these parents were trying to ‘rig’ a guaranteed spot for their kid.

Think about this. Being on the Board of Trustees of a college and giving $20 million and talking to the college admissions officer about your kid or a friend’s kid, is legal. Being a black student with lower test scores than other applicants, but getting a special preference, is legal. Being Hispanic and having lower test scores than the average applicant but writing an essay about the prejudice your family faced and playing to the sympathies of the admissions committee, is legal. All of it plays to getting a special advantage in admissions. And all of it is legal.

What these parents did was clearly illegal. It is not justifiable. It is wrong. But for anyone who has ever loved their child—it is understandable. I’m not justifying their behavior, but I understand it. If you love your kid, wouldn’t you do anything for them? And when you look at a system that is so clearly rigged, why wouldn’t you try to rig it in your kid’s favor?

It’s easy to blame the parents. And, they should be blamed. But let’s also not let the colleges off the hook completely.

Everyone knows that the system they’ve set up is rigged. So, let’s unrig it. Make all admissions blind. Instead of names on applications, substitute an anonymous number. No information should be included about race or gender. No contact should be allowed between rich, well-connected donors and college admissions officers. Applications should be graded in the way that some law school classes are graded—blindly—based on the quality of the application.

Let’s have blind admissions. Let’s unrig the way that America admits young people to colleges. What these parents did is wrong. But the system itself is wrong. Let’s see if the liberal media, the celebrities, and the college admissions officers are willing to ask hard questions about the very system they all support.

Armstrong Williams is a conservative columnist. To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BlackPressUSA.com or the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

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Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner has been sentenced to more than 9 years in a Russian prison following her conviction on drug charges.

Her lawyers called the verdict a disappointment and vowed to appeal.

The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice.

“Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal,” they added.

Russian officials contended that Griner committed the crime on purpose. They also levied a fine totaling about $16,400 American dollars on the basketball star.

Authorities arrested Griner on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after finding less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

She has been detained since then.

Recently, American officials revealed that the Biden-Harris administration had offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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Report: Human Rights Violations in Prisons Throughout Southern United States Cause Disparate and Lasting Harm in Black Communities  

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

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NNPA Newswire

NEW YORK – The Southern Prisons Coalition, a group of civil and human rights organizations, submitted a new report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on the devastating consequences of incarceration on Black people throughout the southern United States.

With the long-term goal of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination in the criminal legal system, including the carceral system, the report describes the widespread, disparate harms resulting from the arrests, harsh prison sentences, and incarceration on Black communities.

The report also cites the devastating impacts of solitary confinement, prison labor, the school to prison pipeline, and incarceration of parents on Black families.

On August 8, 2022, the UN will review the United States’ compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination for the first time since 2014.

Among the ongoing stark racial disparities throughout prisons in the southern United States, Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated in state prisons.

In states like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, where Black communities comprise 38% of the total population, Black individuals account for as much as 67% of the total incarcerated population.

While incarcerated, Black people are more than eight times more likely to be placed in solitary confinement, and they are 10 times more likely to be held there for exceedingly long periods of time.

By submitting the report to the United Nations, the Southern Prisons Coalition hopes to solicit concrete recommendations from the UN Committee as well as commitments from the United States delegation about their plans to address systemic issues in the United States prison system, particularly in the South.

According to the report, several states in the United States have also failed to meet several of the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of incarcerated people, including:

  • Work should help to prepare incarcerated people for their release from prison, including life and job skills;
  • Safety measures and labor protections for incarcerated workers should be the same as those that cover workers who are not incarcerated;
  • Incarcerated workers should receive equitable pay, be able to send money home to their families, and have a portion of their wages set aside to be given to them upon release.

“The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We hope the Committee will help to shine a light on these very dark truths and prompt the U.S. to take its obligation to make significant improvements more seriously.”

“The abuses of forced labor are inextricably tied to racial discrimination in our nation,” said Jamila Johnson, Deputy Director at the Promise of Justice Initiative.

“In Louisiana, for instance, people are still sent into the fields to labor by hand in dangerously high heat indexes, for little to no compensation, and with brutal enforcement reminiscent of slavery and the era of ‘convict leasing’.”

“This report reveals the suffering of Black people in southern U.S. prisons, whose stories of marginalization and discrimination echo the racial subjugation of slavery and convict leasing during our country’s most shameful past,” said Antonio L. Ingram II, Assistant Counsel at the Legal Defense Fund.

“Despite widespread knowledge of the longstanding racial inequalities in the criminal legal and carceral systems, the United States continues to allow egregious human rights violations to persist for Black incarcerated people in violation of international law. This report serves as a sobering reminder of how far we need to go.”

Read the full report here.

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Celebrate your birthday with 10 free items

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

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By Angelina Liu, Entertainment Editor of The Trendsetter / Texas Metro News

Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

1. Chocolate Secrets

At Chocolate Secrets, located at 3926 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219, you can celebrate your birthday by getting one free piece of candy under their candy cases.

2. WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”

Head to WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”, located at 684 W Pioneer Pkwy Suite 100, Grand Prairie, Texas 75051, to claim a free small personal daiquiri on your birthday. Quench your thirst with signature flavors such as “Strawberry Shortcake” or “Bahama Mama.”

3. Sephora

Sign up for a free, Beauty Insider account and receive your choice of 250 bonus points, Laura Mercier, Amika or Tatcha sets on your birthday. The choice of powders, lipsticks and skincare is bound to make you look fabulous for your special day.

4. Starbucks

Need a quick pick-me-up on your birthday? Starbucks has it covered! Join the Starbucks Rewards Program seven days prior to your birthday and make one purchase. Starbucks will then email you a coupon for a free food or beverage item two days before your birthday. The birthday reward qualifies for anything on the menu, including any size handcrafted drink or food item.

5. Jersey Mike’s

In the mood for a sub? Head over to Jersey Mike’s and receive a free sub and drink. Make sure to sign up for the Jersey Mike’s Subs Email Club prior to your birthday to receive this reward. Nothing tastes quite like melted cheese and meat in between a toasted baguette, along with an icy cold drink.

6. The Cheesecake Factory

Celebrating with friends? Tell your server it’s your birthday and receive a free treat as well as a song. It may be mildly embarrassing, but hey, it’s free!

7. Culver’s

Need something cold and sweet to beat the Texas heat? Head to Culver’s for a free sundae when you sign up for their rewards program. The sweet creaminess will surely not disappoint.

8. IHOP

Want to indulge in a sweet breakfast before birthday festivities? Join the International Bank of Pancakes rewards program to receive a free stack of pancakes on your birthday. Pair your pancakes with a choice of chocolate chips, syrup, fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream.

9. McDonald’s

Need a snack before embarking on your next birthday adventure? Download the McDonald’s app and join MyMcDonald’s Rewards to receive free large fries. Mmm, the taste and smell of fresh, perfectly salted french fries.

10. Smoothie King

Want to celebrate your birthday with a healthier option? Enjoy a birthday smoothie at Smoothie King. Download the Smoothie King app to receive this offer.

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