I’m a bit conflicted on how to process Detroit high school student Brooke Kimbrough (pictured); her protest group, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN); and the protest staged on Tuesday demanding more diversity at the University of Michigan.
On one end, her credentials are undoubtedly impressive: Brooke is as a part of University Prep’s award-winning debate team, served as president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, and took part in a youth leadership program at Alternatives for Girls, a Detroit nonprofit.
But it appears that Brooke just didn’t make the cut when she applied to the University of Michigan, which is why she was ultimately rejected. In fact, here is her harsh reality (via Michigan Daily):
Kimbrough, who is currently a high school senior, has a GPA of 3.5, and an ACT score of 23 out of the possible 36. These scores are below the average scores of the fall 2013 freshman class in which students’ GPA averaged 3.85 and ACT scores ranged from 29 to 33.
It is fair to reiterate that colleges are not obligated to accept any and everyone, especially if your scores do not fall in line with the median GPA and ACT scores of students at the university. Some schools have such high standards that even with those, there are still thousands of students in contention. Would Brooke have gotten in if she were a legacy student or her parents were huge donators to the university? Probably so, but that is not her reality and her grades do not meet the criteria.
As someone who went to a high school that was described as being in the “inner city” or in an “impoverished area,” I understand Brooke’s frustration all too well: “It frustrates me when I’m actually trying to do something, bring this over to the University and show them that, ‘Yes, you can still come from this kind of area with one parent at home and not a lot of money, but still be somebody.’”
The admissions process at the school may indeed be flawed; however, there are some cases in which we all have to accept that at one point or another, we simply were not good enough.
So, it’s a little unnerving to read Brooke’s complaints.
The same goes for other students protesting, including one Daisha Martin, who said, “I’ve changed my community. You’ve denied me admissions, and I’ve already done what you’re trying to teach your kids here to do.”
I want to believe in their cause, but I also don’t want the methodology used to combat a perceived wrong to reek of privilege and victimization. That will only enable people to continue to “pull the race card” whenever valid criticism of racial bias occurs.
Brooke Kimbrough has been accepted in to other schools, and I wish her well. The same goes for the other students. That said, I do wonder whether the university should be targeted in this instance and whether BAMN should be using their resources to bring greater attention to the reality that the foundation many Black students receive in high school (and before that) doesn’t properly prepare them for college.
That, more than anything, would tackle the real issue at hand. As it stands now, though, Brooke and her fellow students don’t seem good enough. I don’t believe in basing college preparedness on standardized tests either, but I accepted my circumstances as they were given to me at the time. After that, I decided to do what I could to help those — who like me — couldn’t help themselves at the time.