David Sidoo & the U.S. College Admissions Bribery Scandal

This story really gets under my skin. I have a hard time listening to it or keeping up with its developments because it’s so infuriating.

Growing up poor, the most important goal I constructed for myself in my late twenties was to get my education. To be able to prove to myself, the socioeconomic hurdles I face, even to those who doubted me and attested I wouldn’t be able to—that even I can get a higher-level education. That relying on my determination, the tools at my disposal and the incredibly strong support system (particularly the unconditional love I am thankful to receive) I have backing me, that it would be possible.

Even though I understand corruption exists, I wholeheartedly bought into the idea of meritocracy. Like the majority of people, I believe that if a person truly decides to work hard, they can, with a little luck and good health, be able to rise to levels they could only dream of. But I am also a realist; I understand that the better-off in our society (Canada and the United States in particular) are more likely to succeed on average because they have the stability (emotional and financial), the access, connection, and organizational and institutional know-how of their parents, mentors and peers to be able to navigate the halls of success much more readily than myself and those I grew up with. Nonetheless, I bought into the idea that I could reach heights my loved ones could never predict I could achieve. Call me naive, I guess.

This is why this entire scandal is something I just cannot process fully without feeling the embers of rage. These people, like Vancouver’s Mr. David Sidoo (who has taken himself off Twitter and any other popular social media), a prominent member of British Columbian and Canadian society, a well-respected philanthropist and member of the Order of British Columbia, have almost an unlimited amount of resources and clout to allow his children the ability to access the best of the best. The best after-school programs (something many in my position could only dream of), the best tutoring (something I, even at my age, only have to scrape for to be able to afford) all which can culminate to a path with the least resistance towards the best schools money can buy.

David Sidoo and Justin Trudeau.

David Sidoo & Justin Trudeau.
source: The Toronto Sun, 2019.

But of course, that’s not what these people allegedly did. Using their incredible wealth and influence, they worked to corrupt and circumvent the educational systems that many of us are forced to navigate and conform to in hopes it will pay off for us. Instead of instilling in their children values of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and familiarizing them with the sweat, anxiety, and tears that comes with earning a degree that means something in the international community, these people subverted this idea; treating it as if it was simply a nuisance for us peasants to worry ourselves with. They attempted to use their elite status to bypass all the checks and balances that were put in place by these institutions to (hopefully) only allow the best and the brightest in their acceptance rolls.

If these charges end up being proven in a court of law, shame on all of these people but most importantly, shame on you and your children, Mr. Sidoo. I cannot stress enough how utterly disappointed I am to read about how the supposed best and brightest, at the very top echelons of society in our province and country, can allow themselves the gall in believing that they and their families are somehow different than anyone else; that their wealth and power can afford them not only the very best at their disposal, but the ability to sidestep the work and dedication that our so-called meritocratic institutions require.

Do you have thoughts on the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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