When this student learns that she is accepted at UCLA, she is shocked to realize that the students in her honors class, most of whom are white, ask her about her GPA and SAT scores, as though questioning whether she deserves to have gotten in. One girl becomes furious and tells everyone that she only got in because she is black, even though this is the first year of the “anti-Affirmative Action” laws. Even one of her former teachers responds to her acceptance calling it amazing, given that there are no more Affirmative Action laws. This student cannot believe that people think she is simply lucky to have gotten accepted, when she has always been an excellent student.
This student’s experience demonstrates that even people who do not seem openly racist might harbor racist assumptions and attitudes which become apparent in times of crisis. She feels the deep injustice of having achieved an impressive goal while simultaneously still having to prove to people that she is smart—even though her acceptance should, in itself, be proof enough.
When she tells the Freedom Writers this good news, everyone is happy for her and congratulates her in a heartfelt way, sharing in her joy like a family and telling her they are proud of her.
The Freedom Writers, in contrast to the rest of the school, celebrate her acceptance on its own terms—as this student’s own achievement, not a function of her race.