Tiffany Trump, the president’s daughter by his marriage to Marla Maples, is applying to law school. The Washington Post’s report makes two points: (1) children of celebrities normally receive preferential treatment in admission to colleges and law school, but (2) it’s not clear that such treatment will be granted to the daughter of this particular celebrity, the non-liberal President of the United States.
Both points are scandalous. They illustrate the bankrupt, pseudo-progressive nature of American higher education.
Why should the children of celebrities receive preferential admission? Why, in particular, would progressives indulge in this practice? Such applicants in most cases have had every conceivable advantage when it comes to building a strong resume. If, notwithstanding those advantages, their application falls short of a university’s usual standards, it should be placed in the “reject” pile without a moment’s thought.
“Privilege” is a central concept in the leftist dogma that many colleges and university subscribe to and inculcate. Whites are presumed, sometimes irrebuttably, to have it; certain minorities are presumed not to. The allegedly inherent disparity is thought to justify, for example, the failure to discipline African-American students who taunt and assault white students in a college library.
The concept is mostly nonsense. Most white kids who want to go to elite colleges have the “privilege” of busting their tails in high school, competing for honors in activities like debate and the school newspaper, engaging in community services, writing ridiculous essays, and then hoping that they aren’t rejected in favor of a minority student with far less impressive credentials.
Their main advantage over minority students? They are more likely to come from a stable, two-parent family.
But the sons and daughters of celebrities arguably are privileged. Consider the Obama daughters. It’s almost certain that they possessed significant advantages in building strong resumes — attendance at top private schools, access to the most expensive SAT tutors, travel and public service opportunities — that almost no applicant, regardless of race, had. (Whether they needed these advantages to get into elite colleges, I don’t know; nor do I know whether Tiffany Trump needs them.)
Yet the same colleges that inculcate the evils of “privilege” are delighted to grant admission preferences to those most likely to have been privileged.
Why do they do it? For one thing, it probably turns them on to have the sons and daughters of “stars” on campus.
For another, it’s a selling point. I’ve heard students and/or their parents (who paid the big college bills) brag about the fact that they attended school with this or that celeb.
But this explanation demonstrates even more starkly the hypocrisy of progressives. Shouldn’t the “social justice warriors” who attend elite colleges and their progressive parents be offended that their institution grants preferential admission to “the privileged?” (The Washington Post article cited above makes clear that this practice is known to students). Instead, for most it seems to be a point of pride.
Things weren’t always this way. As a freshman at Dartmouth, I heard rumors that a member of our class was the son of a major Hollywood star (or perhaps producer or director). The rumors were probably true because just a few years after graduation, this guy was already a player in the movie industry.
The identity of the star was a secret. The son, whom I knew slightly, didn’t want anyone to know. Nor do I recall his fellow students being overcome by curiosity.
Now let’s turn to the second element of the Post’s story — that Tiffany Trump may not receive the usual celebrity preference because her father is despised by the leftists who will make the decision. The Post quotes David Lat, founder of a leading website that covers the legal profession, who says, “The X factor is how her father’s controversial presidency affects what would normally be a big plus.” (Emphasis added)
In other words, it’s possible that one or more law schools will decide that Ms. Trump will have to “check her privilege.” She may be denied the preferential treatment she would receive if her father were a liberal president, or even just a liberal congressman, Hollywood B-lister, or journalist.
This is speculation, of course. But the fact that people who follow these things closely are wondering whether Tiffany Trump will be discriminated against in relation to similarly situated offspring of celebrities is more evidence of the sickness that prevails at elite colleges and universities.