White scholarship should be allowed

James Dyer

Back in 2002, Texas State University student Colby Bohannan was both working and going to school full time while sharing a one-bedroom apartment with his cousin to save money. Financially, Bohannan was barely scraping by. It was then that he decided to track down a scholarship to help with tuition and bills. Unfortunately for Bohannan, though many different forms of aid based on race are currently available to college students, not a single one of them applied to his race: Caucasian.

Financial aid based on race and gender has been around for years, and is largely accepted in the United States. Scholarships such as the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial scholarship for African Americans have helped countless minorities attend college, who otherwise would have been unable to attend due to monetary restrictions. When I learned that 11 years later Bohannan had created the only scholarship specifically for white males, it immediately threw up some red flags.

And why shouldn’t it? For centuries to be a white male meant that you had every opportunity to succeed in life, often at the expense of minorities. Land ownership, job opportunities and even our sacred right to vote catered exclusively to Caucasian men. The newly created Former Majority for the Association for Equality (FMAE) and its scholarship for white men clearly had to be an example of bigotry and backwardness reminiscent of America’s pre-civil rights days. Or at least some practical joke by white supremacists to poke fun at the idea of  minorities attending college. Upon taking a closer look, I realized this clearly was not the case. The scholarship requires only that applicants are 25 percent Caucasian; a fact that can be proved on a birth certificate in most cases. President Barack Obama, if he could show financial need and write two application essays, would be eligible for this scholarship.

In an interview with NPR, Bohannan clearly affirmed that his organization, the FMAE, had no interest in promoting racist ideologies. In fact, any money donated by known white supremacist or racist groups will be in turn donated in full to another federally approved ethnicity based scholarship. The FMAE scholarship is simply another niche that financially strapped students can fall in to receive aid.

Critics of the scholarship claim that it is unnecessary to support a collegiate population that is already dominatingly white. According to the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, 70 percent of 2011’s incoming freshman class was made up of Caucasians. Most critics are complicating the issue with racial anxiety that is the product of America’s long history of discrimination. The point of this scholarship is not to entitle Caucasians over minorities to provide them an education, and re-enthrone white males as the dominating class in the United States. The real reason for the FMAE scholarship is a simple one: to provide for students who desire to attend college but lack the funds to do so.

As a white male myself, it’s difficult for me to make a case for the FMAE scholarship without coming off as slightly self-serving and perhaps a bit racist. A long history of discrimination precedes me, and to say that racism has been eliminated in modern society would simply be naïve. The point of having a scholarship for white males is not to affirm that we are entitled to anything, and it’s certainly not an attempt to even an uneven playing field in the academic world.  FMAE founder Bohannan said that, though some would try to complicate the matter, the reason for the scholarship is actually very simple.

“All we’re trying to do is help poor people. And if we can do that, then we’re helping these people help themselves have a better life,” Bohannan said.