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“She only got in because she’s black.”

Admit it, you’ve either thought of it in your head, said it aloud or heard it from someone else. It has become an idea that permeates through the college admissions process. And as the Supreme Court looks to review the concept of Affirmative Action in admissions this fall, the “race card” has once again captured the national spotlight.

Fischer vs. The University of Texas will once again regenerate the Affirmative Action debate. The case involves Abigail Fischer, a Caucasian student currently in Louisiana State University, who is challenging the university’s admission process.

The state of Texas currently uses the “Top 10 percent rule” as apart of its admission process, in which the top high school students within the 10 percent margin are guaranteed admission to all public Texas universities. Those who don’t qualify then apply through a regular admissions process.

Abigail Fischer applied to the University of Texas with a 3.59 GPA and an SAT score of 1180, yet wasn’t eligible for the rule as she wasn’t within the 10 percent range. Like many, she found herself applying through the standard admissions process and found herself rejected.

She cites that the university had favored minorities after accepting the top 10 percent, since the UT policy uses race as a factor in choosing applicants.

But, it seems to me that Fischer is just finding an excuse for her rejection. As she finds herself rejected, the scapegoat: the black student who worked hard throughout their high school career, seems to be the only clear reason for why.

Let’s start off with a history lesson. Affirmative Action is a set of policies that were created to eliminate the effects of past discrimination through either race, religion, sex, or national origin. One of these policies allows colleges to use race as a factor in college admissions, meaning a minority student has a small advantage when applying for college.

A heated topic that has created ongoing debates, the Supreme Court has reviewed multiple cases concerning this provision of Affirmative Action. Today, based on previous precedents, including the infamous Gratz vs. Bollinger court case in 2003,  the Supreme Court has ruled that colleges may use race as one of many factors that determine a student’s admission. However, a student can’t be granted “extra points” simply because of his race nor can a school assign a set amount of students to be filled by minorities. And this fall the Supreme Court will once again take on the issue of race concerning university admissions in Fischer vs. The University of Texas. 

Reality check Ms. Fischer: what makes you so sure race was the only factor that impeded your admissions? How can you be sure to pin-point your personal rejection on affirmative action? Why not blame the legacy students? The poor students? The extraordinary students? The list goes on.

Unfortunately, many fail to see that necessity Affirmative Action. To get rid of it completely would be an ignorant and naïve move which suggests that racism is no longer an issue in American society; which is an oxymoron in itself, as this issue highlights the existence of racism today. As much as many try to avoid the idea, racial discrimination is still a major force in American society. Not to say that we are in the same state as were 50 years ago, or ignore the strides of progress that have been made. But, to declare it non-existent or having played no effect on society today is simply ill-bred.

Especially when statistics shows that an African American is three times more likely to live in poverty than a Caucasian child, and the National Center of Education reports that African Americans and Latinos are more likely to attend high poverty schools.  A large pool of minority students seem to be steps behind in the academic race to college, add malfunctioning schools, and a lack of resources. It seems unfair to compare them to a student whose parents enrolled them into after-school tutoring, SAT Prep classes, and successful schools. Which is why the one key improvement to Affirmative Action is to factor in socio-economic background. We can’t categorize one race to fit statistics, trust me I understand that complexity.

What really doesn’t make sense is how many seem to overlook other so-called unfair disadvantages in the college admissions process, specifically legacy-admissions. It is common knowledge that a student with alumns as relatives have a larger probability of acceptance into that school, a probability that nearly doubles-solely on the basis of your family. At Harvard University, the legacy acceptance rate is a whopping thirty percent, more than four times the regular admissions rate according to The Crimson. Interestingly, Yale University noticed a large correlation between alumni donations and legacy-admissions. Meaning rich have a larger unconsecrated advantage, one that is largely overlooked.

Oh, and Ms. Fischer, Texas A&M has one of the biggest legacy programs in the country, according to the Houston Chronicles.

In the end, colleges there are many injustices that occur in the depths of the college admissions office. No doubt about it. But to blame a certain set of students because of your rejection is unfair and quite frankly, pretentious, if you’re not blaming everyone. Colleges don’t simply look at your skin color, your gender, you ethnicity and admit you in simply because they’re in need or because policies tell them to. So the next time you think a black kid got in because of their race, think again.


 
It seems in the last year America has suffered an epidemic of bullying. The news is constantly filled with
heart-breaking cases of kids and teens who are being tormented all over our country.  Statistics say 1 out of 4 kids has experienced some form of bullying.   As a result they commit suicide, drop out of school, runaway, or express violence upon the entire school body.  Alarmingly, Suicide as a result of bullying or depression is now the number three cause of death in children age 10-14. My school, as well as many others, has held assemblies on how to prevent bullying and what to do when you witness it.  

However, as much as they want to help it seems their plan isn’t enough.  The students themselves have to take action.  Empower themselves and encourage their peers to do the same. If you see anyone being bullied speak up! The next victim of hatred could be someone you know, but not if you take time to change the pattern.  
 
WeStopHate is a teen-run website launched by Emily-Anne Rigal who was bullied continuously throughout elementary school.  The website combats bullying through social media videos created by teens
themselves. Check out the site and see what you can do to Stop Hate!
 http://westophate.org/



By Melissa Stamp,
#Real Talk Blogger


 
    On Monday April 2, 2012, a shooter went into Oikos University in Oakland, California and went on a shooting rampage.  According to many news reports, this has been the deadliest campus shooting in five years.  The suspected gunman, One Goh, had shot and killed 7 students, while leaving 3 injured.  Apparently he was targeting a female administrator, and when he found out that she wasn’t there, he started shooting. Later on that day Goh surrendered to police, not showing any signs of remorse for the 7 lives he took, and the 3 he wounded.  
    How could he kill so many people and not even care? I feel so terrible for the family of the wounded and dead. Nobody deserves to die because of one guy who’s lost his mind. Apparently Goh had been teased at the school for his poor English, and was later expelled in January for behavioral problems.  But, even though he was teased it doesn’t give him the right to hurt people who hadn’t done anything to him.  They were just innocent people trying to get an education at the small college.

- Roya Ansary, #RealTalk blogger
 
    Exactly one month ago today, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black male, was shot in his gated community in Sanford, Fla. He was on his way home, Skittles in hand. Martin was shot by self-appointed neighborhood watch George Zimmerman for looking suspicious.
    But what exactly was suspicious about Martin? Was it his suspicious looking hoodie, or his suspicious bag of Skittles or maybe his suspicious skin color?
    Zimmerman, a white Hispanic man, has admitted to killing Trayvon but has yet to be imprisoned because “the evidence doesn’t establish so far that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense,” Sanford police chief Bill Lee told The New York Times last week.
    After listening to the 911 calls, it seems more than obvious that Zimmerman should have been arrested, contrary to what the police believe. Zimmerman was told time and time again to stay inside and to let the police handle the “dangerous” Martin. But he did not. In the call, Zimmerman is recorded saying that Martin “is running” and continues to follow him. What seems to bewilder me is why anyone would follow and run after someone who is deemed dangerous.
    What is more aggravating about the situation is that Zimmerman himself has a criminal history. He was arrested in 2005 for resisting arrest and for acting violently toward a police officer.
    Many find it precarious to label this incident as a race issue. To that I say: think again. We may not know all the facts of the case, but there are things we know. In the 911 calls, Zimmerman states that “these assholes always get away.” What group, exactly, might he be referring to?
    Harassing “a young man simply because he is a black man is unacceptable,” Tukufu Zuberi, chair of the Sociology Department, said.
    “The injustice is resonating,” he added. “This event is a flashpoint — it happened at a time when the information about it is being made public. Now that we know it happens, we cannot close our eyes.”
    But the fight is not over. Martin is not dead — his memory is giving life to a powerful movement. This is not just about Trayvon Martin. This is about Sean Bell, who was shot 50 times by undercover NYPD policemen the day before his wedding. This is about Patrick Dorismond, Oscar Grant, Ousman Zongo and the scores of black men who were brutally killed by police officers, most likely because of their skin color.
    This is not just about Trayvon Martin. This is about the expectation that 32 percent of black males born in 2001 will spend some time in prison, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This figure has dramatically increased over the years, from 13.4 percent in 1974 to 29.4 percent in 1991. The same study revealed, in comparison, that 5.9 percent of whites born in 2001 expect to spend time in jail.
    `Zuberi added “the fact that a third of all black men have had an experience with the criminal justice [system] is unacceptable. We have to foster a better understanding of the humanity of African-American men. I reject the idea that African-American men are in some way more violent. There is something structurally biased in American society.”
    This is not just about Trayvon Martin. This is about the brutal murder of an Iraqi woman in California this weekend because she was Muslim and thus deemed dangerous because of her religion.
    This is not just about Trayvon Martin. This is about the black men on campus who are stopped and asked to prove that they are in fact Penn students.
    This is not just about Trayvon Martin. This is about my father, my future children, my friends, peers and scores of people who belong to marginalized communities that have been victimized by the same systems that is made to protect us as American citizens and as humans.

Aya Saed, Special to #RealTalk, is a College junior from Washington, D.C. Her email address is saed.aya@gmail.com. Seeds of Reason usually appears every other Friday in The Daily Pennsylvanian.
 
 
A new hot topic has arisen only around the world- Kony 2012. Kony 2012 is a promotion by the Non-Profit Organization Invisible Children that brings awareness to the crimes committed by Joseph Kony against children, thousands of whom he forced to become soldiers and prostitutes. Facebook and Twitter have been filled with posts from kids about the video and many have taken to setting their default pictures as the campaign’s poster. 
Director Jason Russell made the 30 minutes video on YouTube which talks about the experiences he had encountered in Uganda, Africa, which lead to the popularity of the topic. 

Kony, leader of the Ugandan party Lord’s Resistance Party (LRA), has been abducting kids for nearly 26 years and turning girls, around the age of 5 and older, into sex slaves and boys into soldiers. The boys are forced to either kill their own parents or to disfigure or injure other children’s faces. According to Invisible Children, Kony's main purpose for doing all this is to gain power.     

Russell then later on explains that the only way to stop Kony is to make the world realize who he is and what he is doing, since 99 percent of the world population isn’t aware of his existence. The news of Kony’s action swept through social media sites, as #StopKony and #Kony2012 became worldwide trends. Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Chris Brown were just a few who tweeted about this and promoted their followers to watch the video and sign the petition to help stop Kony.   
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Above: Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA