Home > Podcast > Nina Turner, Operation Varsity Blues & Black Student Debt

Nina Turner, Operation Varsity Blues & Black Student Debt

Monday 26 September 2022, by Abla Kandalaft, Coco Green

"What unites these documentaries is that they both believe in a meritocracy"

Summer break is officially over... In this episode, we discuss the problem of student debt in the US, the very specific ways it affects Black Americans and the elitism of higher education, through:
 The Intercept documentary Freedom Dreams: Black Women and the Student Debt Crisis, narrated by former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a longtime ally of the growing debt abolition movement, which looks at the crippling student debt in the US specifically affects Black women. You can watch it HERE.

 The Netflix documentary Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal about the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal. The doc is a mix of re-eactements and real life interviews, and stars Matthew Modine as Rick Singer. It depicts the scandal surrounding the uncovering of a scam run by a private college councillor and “adviser” Rick Singer, who used bribes and doctored photographs to get rich people’s kids into elite universities.

The issues we take with both docs is that they don’t quite address some of the more fundamental, systemic inequalities, which mean that tackling the debt crisis in this way, or condemning Rick Singer’s "side doors" into higher education just isn’t enough. 

Here is some additional reading on the subject that will hopefully help you gain more context: 

Black Student Debt
7 findings that illustrate racial disparities in education

Degree Attainment for Black Adults: National and State Trends 

How Black Women Experience Student Debt

Raising Undergraduate Degree Attainment Among Black Women and Men Takes on New Urgency Amid the Pandemic

Student loans, the racial wealth divide, and why we need full student debt cancellation

The Student Debt Crisis? It’s Infinitely Worse for Black Women

Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education

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