An open letter to Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post- ( your slip is showing ma’am)

Every day, I am reminded by the sheer ignorance of folks disguised as enlightened writing and most days, I simply smile and keep it moving. Today, I stopped mid-sip In drinking my water and stared at a piece written by Education reporter Valerie Strauss of the washington Post who wrote about Ivy Leagues under the guise of ” we should stop treating the Ivy leagues as the holy grail of education”

A snippet of what she wrote below that earned her this open letter-

“Have you heard yet about 17-year-old Kwasi Enin of Shirley, N.Y., who applied to all of the eight schools in the Ivy League and got into every single one? If not, you are, by now, the only one.

The William Floyd High School senior told Newsday that he couldn’t believe it when, one right after the other, the Ivy League schools — Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University — all welcomed him into the class of 2018.

Congratulations to Kwasi Enin. Now can we stop talking about him?

We might as well also congratulate Avery Coffey, 17, a senior at D.C.’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, who was admitted to all five of the Ivy League schools – Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brown — to which he applied, according to Well done. But that’s enough.”

Dear Ms. Strauss-
Seriously? You took what was could have been an interesting piece on the Ivy leagues to not so subtlety “slam” two boys of color, who worked their behinds off with stellar work to get into not one, but several Ivy League schools.
What exactly was your point here?

Was it necessary for you to be so “nicety” in suggesting you had heard enough already? As an education reporter, I’m sure you have covered enough news about children of color failing all over the place; where the stats are reported with no issue. You get awesome news to share of brilliance and that was all you could come up with?

Have you EVER once thought, what those young men had to go through to accomplish such a feat? And before you say ” yep, like any other smart child” let me take you “back to school.”

Believe me when I say, those young men were told time and again, challenging courses might not be for them because the work was too hard. Trust me when I say, they were probably in classes filled with people who looked nothing like them and it was a lonely place indeed between some educators discouragement and the turned up lips of their peers, who found it distasteful they had to share classes with them.

Why is that you say? Easy. It is often felt that if a child of color is smart enough to do the work, then the work must not be hard enough or they just do not belong. They had prayers, hard work, teachers who believed in them and family who pushed them to dare greatly. They did and earned these accolades.

Did it once occur to you that being kind and congratulating them properly instead of adding to the fray of naysayers, was the decent human thing to do?

Instead of accomplishing your goal, what many of us saw was your privilege, standing front and center within your writing and you let your ” slip show” . Or maybe it really wasn’t about the Ivy Leagues after all…hmmm?

Shame on you.

Whenever you are ready to write a substantive piece on children of color who excel despite the odds, please, call me. Hell, send an email. I would be happy to share nuggets as a parent with two boys living and dealing with this every day.. You won’t get an angry rant either. It will be filled with stories and data that may very well stop you from Doing what you did above ever again.
Enough said.


About lawfultrainer

Passionate Educator on all things but especially family partnerships. Determined. Driven.

Posted on April 6, 2014, in College Bound, Education, history, literacy, men, sons, washington Post and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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