As any U.S. college applicant knows, there are a lot of scholarships aimed at specific racial groups (e.g., African American, Hispanic, Native American, etc.) and at women. Now there is reportedly a non-profit group dedicated to providing scholarships to white males. Is a scholarship for white males racist, or just leveling the playing field?
A non-profit called the Former Majority Association for Equality intends to grant college scholarships to white males, starting with four small ($500) scholarships this coming school year, with the goal of helping those who “found the scholarship application process difficult because they do not fit into certain categories or any ethnic group.” [Source: The Huffington Post News Editors. Texas Group Will Offer Scholarships To White Men Only, 2011-02-26T22:22:21Z. Downloaded from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/26/texas-group-to-offer-coll_n_828684.html]
Inevitably, some people will label the new group’s scholarships for white males “racist,” but is that true? In a general sense, any scholarship that treats people differently on the basis of their race is racist, so the Former Majority Association for Equality’s scholarships are racist in the same way that thousands of scholarships aimed at other racial groups are racist.
But is there something peculiarly wrong about rewarding white people (and especially white males) instead of another ethnic group? One obvious difference is that the United States was founded by whites, and they have generally not been a minority in the way that African Americans, Asians, and others have been. But with a shifting ethnic mix in the United States, it is only a matter of time until whites become minorities, too. Does this scholarship simply come too soon?
This incident might make us rethink whether any scholarship should favor one race over another. Favoring the financially disadvantaged over the wealthy makes policy sense, but why should anyone be treated preferentially based solely on their race (whether that person is a white male or not)? Why not focus on factors that actually justify assistance instead (e.g., academic excellence or lack of financial means)? This new scholarship for white males is certain to prompt discussions regarding these issues.
The Huffington Post News Editors. Texas Group Will Offer Scholarships To White Men Only, 2011-02-26T22:22:21Z. Downloaded from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/26/texas-group-to-offer-coll_n_828684.html