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Stop normalizing wealth disparities

Meanwhile, communities absent of wealth are affected in a much more severe way. 

by Juan Vargas, Contributor

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Those who understand the dynamics of power that come with wealth don’t find the college admission scandal, well, scandalous. 

The world of wealth is set up by not only established connections through monetary support but also paved with personal relationships which let’s face it, can also be bought.

We have all heard the saying “time is money” but do we truly understand the implications of it? 

If a person is wealthy enough to pay someone to rewrite the past, whether it’s their children’s or their own, in hopes of producing a better future, is that not sufficient enough to illuminate the problem of wealth prerogatives in our society? 

The core issue of this scandal should not center itself around another set of wealthy families buying influence; the point should be that our reactions to these themes have become trivial and in doing so our absence of care perpetuates consequences onto the lower class.

Instead, we should focus on the evasion of the outcome the wealthy buy.  

We’ve become so accustomed to reading headlines that involve power and wealth, that even when something cynical like this occurs, we dismiss it as routine behavior from the wealthy. 

If there is legal accountability pursued, our reaction changes because we assume that the wealthy will ultimately elude consequences because of their financial status. 

It may be because we understand that their wealth allows them to bypass a negative situation which is quite literally what they did in the first place in this case of college admission bribes. 

I don’t mean buying their freedom from absolute consequence in a literal sense, of course, but one should note that they have the means to pay for top tier representation. 

Meanwhile, communities absent of wealth are affected in a much more severe way. 

For example in Ohio in 2011, Kelley Williams-Bola a black mother got convicted for lying to a school district about her daughter’s residency and she was put in jail for ten days along with three years probation

She reportedly told ABC News that she did this as an attempt to put her children in a better educational system. 

The school district responded by saying that she had not paid the appropriate taxes for her daughter to receive the education she did so she could either pay back $30,000 to the district or take the conviction.  

The jail time Williams-Bola received was not nearly as detrimental to her livelihood as the consequences engendered by probation. 

It affects the jobs one can get and maintain because

 of background checks and time restricted sessions with probation officers that can also impact the hours one can be scheduled to work. 

Also, a defendant can be ordered to pay a fine, court fees, attorney fees and restitution. It also jeopardizes the fate of her daughter’s education. 

It is a weight that can potentially sink someone who is not wealthy into even worse financial situations. 

Now, this may sound like a similar situation between poor communities and wealthy communities just trying to do the best for their children, but poor communities do not have the same opportunity to recover, so it is not the same situation. 

The wealthy will not have to find a new job or have to switch their child to another school or even be at risk of poverty because of attorney and court fees. 

This disparity exists, yet it is normalized. 

We have become desensitized to not only the rich paying their way out of their mistakes but overtly letting the poorer classes suffer their consequences. 

We believe that the legal system will treat everyone equally and while it might aim to do so, the players are not in the same classifications of wealth. 

We say things like, “well that’s just the way it is” or more overtly “just stop being poor and do better for yourself.” 

Because we have such a difference in wealth classifications, we need more people to advocate for a system that will take all of these factors into account.

Each level should pay fines that reasonably coordinate with their incomes and class status. 

In doing so, we would potentially move to a more equitable system that considers the reality of the wealth disparities in our country. 

Juan Vargas is a fourth year studying journalism.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Stop normalizing wealth disparities”

  1. Frank Davis on March 27th, 2019 9:05 am

    Case in point: Jessie Smollett. A former Obama staffer contacted the states attorney, friend of the Smollet family to see if they could “do something.” Smollet forfeited his bail, got credit for community service from another case and had his case dismissed and sealed. Just like that, 16 felony indictments get flushed away. The worst part is, Smollet is claiming he’s innocent even though the state’s attorney is disputing that. It’s not white privilege, it’s rich privilege and if you are not as outraged about the Smollet fiasco as you are about the college scandal, then you are biased.

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