Saturday, March 20, 2004

The academic world is full of minorities-only scholarships. Some of the ones I came across that only consider applications from certain ethnic groups are AT&T Labs Fellowship, the Graduate Scholars Program for Students of Historically Black Universities by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Physical Science Consortium, the Bell Labs Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the GEM Fellowship, and the Ford fellowship.

Now there is one more. The College Republicans in Roger Williams University in Rhode Island have created a Whites-Only Scholarship.
From a Reuters report:

The $250 award — which required an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and a recent picture to "confirm whiteness" — has invited the wrath of everyone from minority groups and school officials to the chairman of the Republican National Committee himself...

I think its a nice way of illustrating the double-standards that pervade pro-affirmative action thinking. If its OK to have a scholarship for minorities, why isn't it OK to have a scholarship for white people?

The responses to this cited in the article are incoherent and ridiculous:

Some minorities on campus, like Maria Ahmed, a 20-year-old junior from Providence, felt targeted.

"At first it was about the newspaper, just about every issue they were bashing some small minority group," said Ahmed, whose parents were born in Nigeria. "It's hard being a minority on campus, and it felt like (they) were directly talking about you."

This scholarship makes it hard to be a minority on campus? This is silly; do minority scholarships make it hard for white people to exist on campus?

This response is especially disturbing because it reflects a growing trend Erin O'Connor has extensively documented on her website: the conflation of conservative rhetoric with harassment. The scholarship in question -- and the Republican newsletter Maria Ahmed refers to -- did not target anyone, except in Ms. Ahmed's imagination. This tendency to view the world through a polarized lens -- where someone is either an affirmative action supporter or a racist targeting you -- typically results in attempts to supress conservative views. Affirmative action proponents should re-examine their beliefs and figure out why exactly a scholarship that benefits a specific ethinc group (like white people) is not OK.


Post a Comment

<< Home