White-Only Scholarship Controversy
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Diversity, a word often heard growing up. In high school diversity was an issue that was pushed repeatedly. I attended a school that had a student body of over 2000 students, in which diversity was not really an issue. As time passed I found that diversity affected my life more and more. As college neared filling out applications became more of a ritual, and I found that by being born into a white middle class family would hinder my financial status rather than help it. Recently an article appeared in the Iowa State Daily, which addressed the issue of a white-only scholarship. In addition to the scholarships offered to members of the minority races, a scholarship should be offered to the members of the decreasing majority.
Whites or Caucasians make up a group just as Native Americans, blacks, and Hispanics do. The one thing that separates whites from these other groups besides skin color is the fact that for each minority group, there are several scholarships that pertain to each. As a nation we have placed a great deal of emphasis on making sure the minorities are getting equal opportunities, but we forget that there are members of the Caucasian decent that need assistance as well. Most times minorities are the ones that need financial assistance in a college situation, but we have forgotten that there are white families that have grown up in the same neighborhood as these individuals, who also need financial assistance. This is why the idea of a white-only scholarship is not so unrealistic.
A group of students attending Roger Williams University have created a Whites-only scholarship to initially protest affirmative action. This protest however has snowballed into the real thing. This protest has now become a $250 scholarship available to only white students. This award shows America that whites are becoming the minority, and no matter how much we fight it, it is going to become a reality sooner or later. This then opens America’s eyes and shows them that by being a minority there are more opportunities for financial aid based on skin color than there are for whites. This said, there should be at least one scholarship for just whites to counteract the many minority scholarships available to other races. “Many people think that coming from a white background you’re automatically privileged, you’re automatically rich, and your parents pay your full tuition.
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Scholarship Controversy Skin Color Financial Status Roger Williams Equal Opportunities Middle Class Whites Heard Sure
That’s not the case,” (CNN). Race has become a major factor in life in general; scholarship applications do not have to be one of them.
“Almost every race and color has scholarships widely available except for whites and Anglo-Saxons,” (Dateline Alabama). Whites have many scholarships that they are eligible to apply for, but these same scholarships are available to minority students as well. While other races have scholarships not available to other races but their own, whites do not. From a personal stand point, looking back on filling out scholarship applications I realize now that the majority of them ask for a persons decent. If race did not pertain to the content of the application, and judging was based on merit and need, those offering the scholarship would not ask that question on their application. “Skin color should not be a factor while judging someone on character and academic ability,” (ISU). This shows that by creating an all white scholarship people are taking a stab at the balance of academic scholarships available to whites and other races.
Schools are doing so much to diversify their student body. They are handing out scholarships to minorities just to get them to attend their school, so their diversity rating will be at a higher level. Somewhere in time people decided that by being more racially diverse, a school is more credible. I do not believe this is the case. Scholarships should not be based upon color of ones skin, but on need and achievement. Jason Mattera is the president of the organization that created the Whites-only scholarship. By seeing that Mattera created this scholarship one would think he was a white student with no form of financial aid in scholarship form, while in actuality Jason Mattera is of Puerto-Rican descent, and is receiving a $5000 minority scholarship based on his race (UI). Mattera included this statement to the press, “No matter what my ethnicity is, I’m making a statement that scholarships should be given out based on merit and need,” (Dateline Alabama).
The statement being made here shows that this group of students, the College Republicans, was originally making a stand against racism and affirmative action. Matt Diller the president for the UI chapter of College Republicans, said his first reaction was to applaud the group for taking a closer look at the “darker side of affirmative action programs,” (UI). Affirmative actions should not be the barricade between scholarships and recipients. People should be eligible for a scholarship based on their financial status, not their color of skin. Scholarships are not awarded based on shoe size or height, so why is such a big deal being made over skin color. The creation of a Whites-only scholarship just shows how much emphasis is really placed on diversity and equality. A Whites-only scholarship would have probably been a little too controversial ten years ago, but now this scholarship is an example of the poor job America is doing to send students to college based on their need and how much they really do deserve it.
“The NAACP is allowed to give black only scholarships, so why isn’t it okay for a white organization to do the same?” (Dateline Alabama). An African American University of Alabama student made this statement, showing only that he favored the idea of the Whites- only scholarship. Other ethnicities are taking stances on this issue, and most are for the scholarship. This shows a great deal about the United States these days, and that it is true that scholarships are being awarded based on other attributes besides merit and need. “Affirmative action is the most heinous and despotic type of discrimination in the history, and future, of our government,” (Dateline Alabama). This is not how America should be. Affirmative action should have no effect on college acceptance and scholarship awards. America is the land of the free and home of the brave. This nation should be about equal opportunities, therefore a scholarship available to only whites, is only fair. If all other ethnicities are eligible for an entirely separate scholarship based on race why should not whites have a scholarship of their own? As stated in an article from the University of Alabama, “Everyone, no matter what color their skin, should have a chance to apply for a scholarship towards education, because in this nation, education is the key to ensure success later on in life,” (Dateline Alabama).
This leads back to the topic of diversity again. In the last decade diversity has become substantially more important than education itself. Students are now being educated on the role diversity plays in a community and a culture. The more diverse a college or university becomes, the better. “…I laud their efforts because they are bringing to the light a racist issue that most get pigeonholed as a racist for pointing out this inequity,” (Dateline Alabama). A former chairman of the College Republicans made this statement. This statement shows that racism is on the tip of everyone’s tongues, and that more than likely people are going to be jumping on the idea of racism. A scholarship for only whites is not a racist issue, for all other groups are offered scholarships that pertain to their ethnicity or culture.
As many people are enthusiastic about the stance that has been taken on the issue of scholarships, there is always another side to the argument. Many people oppose the Whites-only scholarship, saying that it is not fair, or even racist. One man said, “They represent a different mindset altogether… a racist mindset,” (UI). This stance may be new but not necessarily a racist one. A junior at Iowa State University felt that the dialogue had been pushed too far, and that it has already made the point it set out to make (ISU). Originally the group of College Republicans did not mean for the issue to go beyond a dialogue and make a point, however it escalated into a larger issue.
While the topic is debated on college campuses nationwide, others have voiced their opinions, and despite the facts many feel that the Whites-only scholarship is “absurd” and even “offensive.” Many students feel that the scholarship has been blown out of proportion. “…this scholarship that was established has gone a bit too far to prove this point… students must learn in order to get their message across, it cannot be as offensive as this has become,” (Dateline Alabama). Other students across the country feel the same way. “…The scholarship was effective only as a propaganda technique,” (ISU). Despite the negative opinions formed by some students, the scholarship did come to be of monetary value. We do not know how divided the sides are on this topic yet, and only time will tell.
College was meant to be an education to those pursuing a brighter future. Scholarships were forms of money awarded to those who needed it, and achieved it academically. The times have changed, and diverseness has become more of an issue. Scholarships are now being scanned for race and other criteria that do not necessarily pertain to academic achievement or need. A Whites-only scholarship has been introduced, and really throws a dagger at minority scholarships. “…Some people today are mistaking equal rights for special rights,” (Dateline Alabama). This statement is applauding the College Republicans or making a valid point. The sole purpose of the scholarship to begin with was to prove a point that affirmative action should not have anything to do with scholarship awards or college entry, and therefore, a this Whites-only scholarship is not out of the question. All other races and colors have their own scholarships available to only them, why are whites a group that cannot. This country is about equality, and fairness, a Whites-only scholarship only seems fair.
The ongoing struggle for civil rights and social justice lies at the heart of America's evolving identity. The pursuit of equal rights is often met with social and political trepidation, forcing citizens and leaders to grapple with controversial issues of race, class, and gender. Renowned scholar Harvard Sitkoff has devoted his life to the study of the civil rights movement, becoming a key figure in global human rights discussions and an authority on American liberalism.
Toward Freedom Landassembles Sitkoff 's writings on twentieth-century race relations, representing some of the finest race-related historical research on record. Spanning thirty-five years of Sitkoff 's distingushed career, the collection features an in-depth examination of the Great Depression and its effects on African Americans, the intriguing story of the labor movement and its relationship to African American workers, and a discussion of the effects of World War II on the civil rights movement. His precise analysis illuminates multifaceted racial issues including the New Deal's impact on race relations, the Detroit Riot of 1943, and connections between African Americans, Jews, and the Holocaust.
Subjects: Sociology, History