Monday, February 28, 2011

White Male Angst

A nonprofit group in Texas has announced it is starting a scholarship fund exclusively for white males. The founder, Texas State University student Colby Bohannan, said that when he tried to find the money to pay for college he saw scholarships specifically for women and minorities, but none for white males. Revealing a staggering ignorance of current American society (not to mention American history for the last 300 years), Bohannan said, "I felt excluded. If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?"

You could make the (weak) argument that this is no different than religious denominations offering scholarships only to their members or scholarships specifically for certain ethnic groups. However the name of this white male scholarship foundation reeks of resentment about the browning of America: The Former Majority Association for Equality (in Texas it is technically correct to consider non-Hispanic whites a minority). And since financial need is the overriding criteria (regardless of race) for financial assistance with higher education, the whole notion of white males being victimized in the competition for scholarship money is absurd. In Bohannan's specific case, as a veteran (he served in Iraq) who is attending a state school, he is almost certainly eligible to have his tuition and fees covered under the Post 9-11 GI Bill.

But here's the best part: to demonstrate the lack of racial resentment underlying the founding of Former Majority, Bohannan has said applicants who are "at least 25% Caucasian" are eligible.* This is ironic given the historical definition of race in the United States: if you had an antecedent who was not Caucasian, their non-whiteness determined your race. So if you had one black grandparent and three white ones, you were considered black. People half Hispanic and half Anglo have historically been considered Hispanic.

By making men less than 100% Caucasian eligible, isn't Bohannan's program just another minority scholarship program of the sort that makes him feel "left out?"

*Don't ask me how you prove that.

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