A black high school student gets admitted into all eight Ivy League schools. That’s not the premise of a joke. It’s the latest news story to have fanned the racist fire among Reddit users.
Kwasi Enin, a 17-year-old from Shirley, N.Y., was accepted into Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, and Cornell (yes, it turns out that Cornell, despite being part state school, still counts as an Ivy). Getting into one of these schools is difficult to do—most of the them have an acceptance rate in the single digits, and the others are not far off. Going eight for eight? That’s nearly impossible.
There are many reasons why Enin got into all eight schools. According to USA Today, he ranks 11th in his class (out of 647), got a 2250 on his SATs (putting him in the 99th percentile of all students), has taken 11 Advanced Placement classes, plays sports, sings in the a capella group (such an Ivy League thing to do), and volunteers at a local hospital. He’s also a first generation American (both his parents are from Ghana) and male (women constitute of 57 percent of the population at colleges). He’s an admissions officer’s wet dream.
On Monday, the aforementioned USA Today story was submitted to Reddit’s /r/news. A good portion of Redditors weren’t as happy for Enin as the rest of America was, choosing to focus on his race instead of any of his achievements. Here’s a sampling of some of the most unsavory comments—typos and all— that are still fit for publication:
Harilesswalkingchimp (It’s worth noting that out of more than 1,200 comments, this is the most popular one in terms of upvotes received. ):
I’m gonna get real with you reddit, no matter how pissed this makes you it doesn’t change the fact that he would not have had this absurd success if he was a white kid.
“Don’t you realize that white children of this boy’s generation have to atone for the sins of their ancestors by giving him greater access to opportunities and education for the display of equal merit? /s
“I'm Asian. I had higher numbers, was a three-sport varsity athlete, took 12 APs, was a church leader, and participated in a slew of other activities but ended up at my state flagship school (granted my engineering program was ranked right below MIT) but no Ivy's would touch me with a 12 foot pole. In fact, no one in my graduating class got Ivy acceptances and the previous year only had one (Hispanic girl - Yale).
But this isn't the whole picture. I will refrain from playing the affirmative action card because I was a huge slacker in high school (sleeping in class, terrible attendance, etc) and I think this was reflected in all of my letters of recommendations.
"Seriously? My application was almost identical except that I was first in my class out of a top ranked tech academy focusing on a biotechnology program. I listed "white" for my ethnicity because they didn't have an option for Armenian. F**k affirmative action."
With better credentials than the guy in the article my white fiance only got into two Ivy schools, and I only got into 1 Ivy with similar scores.
2250 is not that great, and frankly I think that this kid is going to have a hard time keeping up if he goes to a school like Yale.
How is it that gender, race, and ethnicity are even considered qualifiers? I was completely unaware that those qualities related to intelligence…and these are "Ivy league" school standards?! what a joke. It's the god damn 21 century and racism and sexism are still acceptable by professional standards?
So what’s the takeaway from this awful Reddit exchange?
Look, I’m not going to say that the color of Enin’s skin didn’t play a factor into him getting a yes from all eight schools, but that doesn’t dismiss all of his accomplishments or give people an excuse to spew their racially charged bile.
Don’t like it?
h/t Cooper Fleishman
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.