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Racial Stereotype

We have all heard about scholarship programs for minority or underprivileged students, so why does this story from Texas make us feel uncomfortable?

After all, technically whites are a minority in Texas.


Brendan Baird is studying to become a physician’s assistant; a $500 academic scholarship will help pay the way. He had to demonstrate things like a high GPA, community service, and financial need. But what sealed the deal is the fact that that he’s a white man.

Says Baird, “If anyone wants to say it’s an issue of color, it’s the color of green. And we all need it.”

The award was presented by a nonprofit called the Former Majority Association for Equality. Its president, Colby Bohannon, says he’s been called a racist, akin to the KKK.

Says Bohannon, “We’re not racists. We have no agenda for bigotry. We’re not trying to take away anything from any other group. We’re just trying to help poor, Caucasian males afford college.”

The group’s vice-president [Marcus Carter] is black. There are also two women, and an Hispanic man on the board. Says Carter, “Right now everybody else has their own specific scholarship — for minorities, left-handed people, people who like the color green, or people who like Star Wars. I don’t feel that animosity toward helping this group, in with everyone else.”

But is a white-male scholarship necessary? Skeptics say while there are funding programs geared toward specific races or genders, many others are need-based and color-blind. One of the state’s biggest, the Texas Grant Program, has no gender nor race factor, and it’s geared toward low-income students. Over the past decade, the program has spent about $2 billion on 310,000 students.

Bohannan, meanwhile, says he plans to expand his scholarship program to $25,000 for another 5,000 while males who may need them.

What makes this story even more ironic are some of the comments on MyFox.



  1. starluna wrote:

    If the criteria is based on income, I personally do not have a problem with this. I do have a concern about the name of the foundation. “Former Majority”? That kind of smacks of wistful thinking about the past. I’m all for helping first in family, low income young people go to college, regardless of race or gender. But I am not too keen on supporting any romantic notions about past racial supremacy.

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink
  2. il-08 wrote:

    I’m kind of ambivalent on the issue, race related grants exist and help minorities so why not, but the comments on the tv station’s website were particularly disturbing.

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  3. David Freeman wrote:

    The purpose of race related grants is to counter ongoing systemic bias after overt conscious bias (such as Jim Crow laws)have been eliminated. It would be naive to assume that opportunities for blacks, hispanics and women were immediately equal to whites as soon as legal barriers were eliminated. In this country, there is clearly no history of systemic bias against white males in hiring, housing or admittance to colleges. Therefore there is no valid purpose for white male grants.

    The majority of grants should be based on income or circumstances and will tend to benefit minorities but as long as racial institutional bias exists there will still be a need for minority targeted programs.

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    But whites are a minority in Texas (and in California and New Mexico). And whites have always been a minority in Hawaii.

    David, you are correct, but in general I feel that if someone wants to give a scholarship for any reason, that’s their business. If I don’t like it, I can speak out against it or protest it, but I wouldn’t want to prohibit it.

    I look forward to the day when discrimination is such a distant memory that we don’t even have to consider race as a qualification for a scholarship.

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  5. Falkelord wrote:

    This is actually highly illegal, aside from the fact that it’s for a white guy.

    Read em and weep. He’s not a racist, it’s just illegal anyway.

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink
  6. Falkelord wrote:

    Apparently I read this wrong, but I thought this was an application process based on race, not a scholarship (which on a third read appears to be but I’m not 100% and I’m having trouble distinguishing the two now).

    If it is, it’s illegal, even if there are other criteria (but if race doesn’t negatively affect your chances of getting this scholarship, only positively, then it’s legal)

    Monday, July 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink
  7. starluna wrote:

    The Regents decision held that government entities and those who receive government money (by extension) are prohibited from using race as a primary or top factor in admission decisions in certain college programs (in a later decision, race could be used as a factor in law school admissions – go figure).

    Regents does not stop a private entity with private funding from using race as primary or top factor in its decisions. Otherwise, all National Council of La Raza scholarships for Latinos would also be illegal. As would NAACP scholarships and even my (private) university’s scholarships for students of color.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  8. Falkelord wrote:

    Yeah, I think where I was having trouble distinguishing was between government-funded and non-gov’t funded entities. I can’t really find whether or not they receive federal grants on their website anywhere, but my assumption is no because they seem inclined to donations rather than grants.

    If this were the case, then, Regents would apply (as they would be receiving federal money) correct?

    And yes Starluna, I rolled my eyes at Gratz/Grutter decisions as well. Apparently, undergraduate admissions need to have more broad standards than a law school program, go figure haha.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
  9. starluna wrote:

    Falkelord – Regents would apply if the foundation used government money to pay for those scholarships. Or if they could not distinguish between the government money received and private donations in the budget for this scholarship. But if they had a separate dedicated fund that came out of private donations then they still could have this scholarship. This is how private universities, all of which get government money in one form or another, can still offer race based scholarships. It is usually a small dedicated fund started and maintained by alumni or some other private group.

    I personally think the Regents decision is wrong. I see Gratz and Grutter as almost making amends. What’s stupid to me is that the case in Regents also involved admission into a post-baccalaureate program (medical school), so the distinction given to law schools just comes across as self-serving.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink