Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Republicans offer "Whites Only" Scholarship

Wow. A group of Young Republicans at Boston University is offering a scholarship to white students. (link) They say they are doing it to encourage people to recognize the racism of race-based scholarships. Apparently there has been some terrible reverse racism going on at BU, because the school now boasts a whopping... (wait for it) 2.6% black population. Oh, how the poor whites are suffering.

I understand these Young Republicans are trying to raise awareness of this grave injustice, and I completely affirm their right to give their money away as they see fit. However, it must be said that a scholarship of this kind, no matter how small (it's $250) sends a larger message than merely promoting awareness. When a school's Black Student Union offers such a scholarship they are not only making a statement about an historic injustice. They are also saying that they would like to see a higher percentage of black students on their college campus. When Republicans offer a "Whites Only" version they are saying... oh, yeah. They're Republicans. They're probably saying something remarkably similar.

Now I know that Republicans want everyone to believe that they have a very large tent. I think this scholarship sheds some light on why they need more space. They have to be able to clearly demarcate the "Whites Only" and "Colored" sections.

These Young Republicans have cleverly designed the scholarship so that anyone who is at least one quarter white can apply. If they really want to show that they are offended by race-based scholarships but are also committed to diversity, they'll end up giving the money to a student who is ONLY one quarter white. But somehow I have a sinking suspicion that the 250 bucks will end up in the pocket of the Armani slacks of a blond, blue-eyed, Ann-Coulter-loving, white guy wearing a bow tie.

To be clear, I am NOT saying all Republicans are racist. I'm not even saying these guys are racists. But I want everyone to think about this: After Michael "Kramer" Richards launched into his N-word filled rant he went on The Letterman Show to say he was not a racist, and I don't buy that for an instant. However, he did not stoop so low as to give out a "Whites Only" college scholarship, now did he?


laurenj said...

Maybe they were pointing out that most non-race-based scholarships are "white only" even if they don't say that they are.

And there IS racism in race-based scholarships, just perhaps not the kind that directly affect your armani-wearing Young Republicans. It's worse- its the kind of racism that continues to divide us by racial categories and assumes that one kid needs an extra leg up over another because they are of an inferior race. You know what we should have instead of "minority-only" scholarships? "Shitty-ass public school" scholarships, for kids who went to schools so bad that regardless of whether they are Black or White or Latina, they're going to need the extra help to even the playing field because there is no amount of pluck and hard work that is going to make up for them being abandoned by the system before they even had a chance.

Sorry, Ben, I'm not much of an Affirmative Action girl. (which, by the way, is an awsome super-hero name). Do most Black students in this country need scholarships? Yes. do they need them because they are Black? No.

Benjamin Gorman said...

They don't need them because they're black. They need them because the are disproportionately poor, and if the scholarships don't favor a racial designation then the money might go to poor whites, reinforcing the lily white nature of most of our colleges. Colleges that over-represent any ethnic group provide a disservice to ALL students. A higher percentage of minorities of all kinds is a boon for all students on a campus. Complaining that whites are at a disservice because they don't have access ignores the fact that white students who are admitted are being underserved by not having enough minority students to study with. Too small a percentage of any ethnic group makes those students feel like "token" representatives of their race/gender/sexual preference/etc. and does not allow them to freely share their own views, which in turn creates the false impression for majority students that all minority students of a particular group think alike. The ideal solution in free public higher ed for all students, but I think we're still to stuck in the hold-over feelings from the Red Scare to accept that higher education should be free. As long as it is expensive we need systems like Affirmative Action, flawed though it may be, to address the situation in which education exacerbates racial and economic segregation rather than eliminating them.

I guess that makes me Affirmative Action Guy. So does that mean I'm a super-hero, now?

laurenj said...

Sometimes its funny how the ads on this page correspond (or don't) with what we're talking about. Today's ads are " An African American Portal" and "Homes of Color: The magaine of African American Living and Style". I'm pretty sure after Ben's post about immigration there was an ad for a gun show. Come on, now, guys, lets see if we can't get any porn ads like a normal blog.

@bdul muHib said...

I think there are good Republicans. Lincoln was a good Republican. Of course, that makes the only good Republican a...