by Gracie Wright
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”- Martin Luther King Jr. Recently, on Monday, January 18th, 2021, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
I reflected back on this day while completing college and scholarship applications. What do these things and MLK Day have in common, though? Both of my parents attended the University of Mississippi, and when I discovered the University’s legacy scholarship, I was ecstatic and immediately notified my siblings. College can be tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars even with a high ACT score and GPA- and to expect a family that is not boasting millions to pay for three children’s college expenses is absurd. I excitedly clicked the scholarship form and began filling it out. As I was moving along in the application I noticed at the top, “Recipients of this scholarships must be full-time minority students.” After noticing this, I searched and searched for more legacy scholarships: no luck. I was more than disappointed that my parent’s years of hard work- one coming from a low-income home and one an orphan coming from complete poverty- would mean nothing for their children because they happened to be born caucasian.
I noticed a constant recurrence on scholarship and college applications repeatedly asking, stating, and notifying statements regarding race. I saw no questions in any college application I completed asking me to exemplify my character, work ethic, or personality in any way- none even asking a simple question on the matter.
So with noticing the significance of race in simple things like college and scholarship applications- are we even being judged by the content of our character today? Or is Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream still millions of miles away?