Balance of power
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It begs to ask: what is the point of making it to the mountain top if your loved one cannot benefit from it? When I move to Senegal to attend Hann Mariste’s boarding school, one of the top schools in the nation, I had to take an exam to be formally accepted. I did, but I scored lower than expected. However, I was accepted. Looking back now, I feel that my father’s position played a role in my acceptance. He did not break the law, but by simply being who he was at that time in history, it was much more acceptable for the admission officer to turn a blind eye with a lower average score. I was not just a number; I was the son of someone, of a somebody. I went on to become an above average student, proving that I deserved to be there.

My score was not an outlier. It was simply lower than the average score of foreign incoming students as far as I was told. My dad did not break the law, but his position gave him notoriety that benefited his son. The point here is that power, defined here as the ability to act, gives access to things and people that most everyday people can only fathom. It creates an imbalance of opportunities/chances. Furthermore, when one has access to power/privilege, one does not always need to act for his loved one to benefit from his status or position in society.

The recent college scandal reminded me a bit of this time even though the actors in the college scandal were more insidious and chose to be intentionally deceitful. The parents involved in the college scandal clearly chose to cheat the system at the expense of others. Thus, it is easy to see them as evil. However, the truth is that most parents would have acted the same way when in this situation. When given the opportunity, most parents intentionally or unintentionally will always do what they can to provide an opportunity or an upper hand to their kids.

As I said, it is worth asking again: what is the point of making it to the mountain top if your loved one cannot benefit from it? Instead of acting self-righteous or just castigating or shaming the parties involved, we got to realize the college scandal is a symptom of a bigger trend in our society. As our world normalizes extreme level of inequality, people will gradually come to doubt the procedural fairness of most institutions and violate their underlying principles, legally or in spirit; thus; leading to the disintegration and devaluation of our social contract.

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