Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Racism

Molly has just been accepted at Stanford University and calls her friend Terri to tell her the good news.

MOLLY: Hi, Terri! Guess what?

TERRI: Hey, Molly! What happened?

MOLLY: I got accepted to Stanford!!!!

TERRI (surprised and disappointed): Oh. Cool.

MOLLY: Thanks, Ter---you sound soo enthused!

TERRI: Oh, I am. I have to go---my Mom's calling me for dinner.

MOLLY: Oh, ok. See ya!

TERRI: Bye, Molly.

The two girls hang up with each other. Terri picks up the phone and calls her friend Monica.

MONICA: Hello?

TERRI: Monica? It's Terri.

MONICA: Hey,Terri! What'sup?

TERRI: Listen to this, Mon. Molly got into Stanford!

MONICA: Oh, that's great! I'm so happy for her!

TERRI: What? Why?

MONICA: Terri, Stanford is like the hardest school to get into in the country! Why shouldn't I be happy for her?

TERRI: Well, I didn't get in.

MONICA: Oh, I didn't know---I'm sorry.

TERRI: I don't understand how she got in, though. I have a higher GPA and SAT scores than she does.

MONICA: Maybe she had a better application.

TERRI: Or maybe it's what was on her application.

MONICA: What do you mean?

TERRI: Oh, come on, Mon! Molly's black!

MONICA: Yes, and. . .?

TERRI: Don't you see? It's called affirmative action!

MONICA: Terri, give me a break--

TERRI: Oh, please. You know it and I know it: She only got in because of her race and because she's poor. Her GPA is really low and so are her SAT scores.

MONICA: Did you ever stop and think that maybe she had a good essay?

TERRI: Yes, but we've both read some of Molly's papers, and we both know she can't write. Listen, Monica, if you're Black, Asian, Native American, Mexican, or any other minority and poor you've got it made. You can be as stupid as Forrest Gump---which most of them are---and you can still get into any college. It's not fair at all.

MONICA (angry): No, you know what isn't fair? That I'm sitting here listening to my so-called "friend" insult my intelligence and my race. How dare you sit here and tell me that the only way I'll ever get into college is through my race. Listen, honey, the only way I'm getting to college is through my brains, and from talking to you it looks like I have a lot more than you!

Happy Ending

TERRI: Oh, please. You know it and I know it: She only got in because of her race and because she's poor. Her GPA is really low and so are her SAT scores.

MONTCA: Did you ever stop and think that maybe she had a good essay?

TERRI: Well, yes, but we've both read Molly's essays and we know she can't write.

MONICA: Well, maybe she had some help. Maybe someone told her how the essay could be improved and she took their advice.

TERRI: Well, maybe. . .

MONICA: Molly's not stupid, Terri. She got into Stanford for a reason, and apparently her brain had something to do with it, not her skin color or her Financial situation. It sounds like you're blaming Molly because you didn't get in.

TERRI: No, that's not it. I just don't understand why I didn't get in.

MONICA: Well, why don't you call the Admissions Office instead of blaming Molly?

TERRI: Yeah. I'm sorry, Monica.

MONICA: It's okay, Terri. I've heard this before. People just don't understand. If I'm going to college, I'm going because I earned it, not because I'm Hispanic. If that was the case, why should I even bother to apply, ya know?

TERRI: You're right. I'm gonna call the Admissions Office and find out. Thanks, Monica.

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