Sunday, April 10, 2011


"For Whites Only" scholarships take you back to the "good old days" when the concept of white entitlement was a given: the overriding custom, law, and influencer of opportunity and access affecting all aspects of life from cradle to grave.

For less than 50 years -- and that would be less than a quarter of this country's long, sordid history of institutional racial terrorism and oppression of African Americans to the benefit of whites as a group, mind you -- programs have been put in place to try to "even" a racial playing field in a country that has yet to acknowledge the severity of the impact of racial terrorism on generations of its citizens of color or the myriads of ways in which its white citizens continue to benefit, especially economically (

Yet a new generation of young white men in Texas and elsewhere -- the same generation famously touted as being "colorblind" and "post-racial" -- have decided to take a "blast from the past" and institute their own form of Jim Crow, 21st Century style, with the introduction of scholarships for whites / white men only.

In its most recent incarnation, 28 year old founder and Iraqi veteran Colby Bohannan says "We're not racists, just guys trying to help young Americans." He says "In the landscape of the scholarship foundations in this country, there is just one demographic that does not have a single dedicated scholarship, and that demographic is white males. That's the gap we're trying to fill” (

Although careful to distance their group’s philosophical perspectives and motives from "extreme" white supremacist groups, they heartily continue the (white) American tradition and mindset of ignoring the historical and on-going manifestations of institutional racism, opting instead for a "fish in water" approach to the issue: if you are a fish, you do not see your water privilege --even though you swim in it every day (or maybe because of that?) -- until you see your exclusive right to the water being threatened.

Although much of the recent press has been about the Texas "For White Men Only" scholarship, this concept, and the white racial victimology that drives it, is not new or strictly Southern.

Any rudimentary Google search will bring up pages on the subject, including one, established in 2004 by a Republican student organization at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island and another established by college Republicans at Boston University in 2006.

Those who create “For Whites Only” scholarships are disingenuous in their logic about the purpose. They ignore the vast number of opportunities and scholarships at their disposal. They also very deliberately and willfully ignore the fact that what they term "affirmative action" scholarships account for less than 4% of college scholarships.* They are ignore a couple of other very pertinent facts: that those 4%of scholarships targeted toward racially marginalized groups were created less than 50 years ago -- in their parents and grandparents time -- when scholarships and most opportunities were "For Whites Only"; that they are still economic and social beneficiaries of privileges bought as a result of the racial oppression of the very groups they accuse of receiving "racial preferences" today; and that they, as a group, still hold the "golden ticket" when comparing life opportunities and chances of any other racial group.

So what gives here? Draw your own conclusions -- panic over changing racial demographics that have whites seeing themselves as "minorities" and "victims" because of the color of their skin, stoking their racial fears; the changing national and global economic climate which stokes their racial insecurities and fears; inch-worm slow movement toward a semblance of "racial equity" which stokes their racial insecurities and fears; and a myopic view of life, centered on the fast growing concept of white racial victimhood which obliterates historical perspective and all data regarding current racial realities of life's opportunities and chances.


As a country we are famously ahistorical, and whites as a group -- famously -- seem to have perfected a form of collective amnesia when it comes to acknowledging and truly seeing the day-to-day impact of their continuing white privilege, even as they pass the baton of this legacy to succeeding generations.

But whether we as a country acknowledge the slippery historical slope of "For Whites Only" scholarships or continue to falsely equate them with so-called "affirmative action" scholarships, one thing is for sure:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

Moving Forward (or, in this case, Back),


*U.S. General Accounting Office, 1994. “Information on Minority Targeted Scholarships,” B251634. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January.

**George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1

1 comment:

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