When Drake Johnson, his high school’s valedictorian, student body president, world champion cheerleader, and National Honor Society member, and president of two other clubs, decided he would be attending Harvard in the fall, he decided to post some photos on his Twitter account to commemorate.
The 18-year-old Marina, California student was also accepted into other schools, including Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, and UCLA; he was accepted into Harvard sometime last month. "Harvard has been my dream school since I was little," Johnson told BuzzFeed News. Harvard provided him with the financial aid he needed, and that helped cement his final decision.
Most people, when confronted with this news, would be happy for Johnson. That’s not how George Clayton, who held a position on the Texas State Board of Education from 2010 to 2012, felt. “Congrats. Were you admitted on merit or quota?” Clayton asked.
Oh, one more thing: Johnson is biracial.
Congrats. Were you admitted on merit or quota?— George Clayton (@SBOEDist12) April 20, 2018
"Thank you!" Johnson replied. "Valedictorian, ASB President, World Champion, good SAT, and a couple handfuls of other involvements, so I would think merit?"
Thank you! Valedictorian, ASB President, World Champion, good SAT, and a couple handfuls of other involvements, so I would think merit?— Drake Johnson (@_littledrizzy) April 20, 2018
Clayton’s Twitter also shows he asked the same question of many other high school students of color throughout March and April.
Was you admittance merit or quota based?— George Clayton (@SBOEDist12) April 3, 2018
Was you admission merit or quota based? Or, do you know th difference?— George Clayton (@SBOEDist12) April 3, 2018
Were you admitted on merit or on quota regulations? If on merit, great job--congratulations. If on a quota number, work hard, make the best of it and thank the merit applicant you replaced.— George Clayton (@SBOEDist12) March 30, 2018
Although the comment seems starkly racist, the Harvard-bound student “didn’t want to just jump to that conclusion.” His counselor and friends agreed it sounded like Clayton was questioning Johnson’s abilities because of his race. Still, Johnson decided "the best way to do it is to just lay out all my accomplishments and then leave it up to him."
According to Dallas News, Clayton declined to comment. Dallas News further reports that Clayton’s Twitter bio says he is running for the Texas Board of Education against this year, although there is no record of him filing to become a candidate.
It’s “unfortunate that some people… don’t fully understand what people of color can do,” Johnson told BuzzFeed.
Johnson plans on studying government and politics at Harvard.
"My end goal is to be president of the United States," he said.