The Comment of the Day: “The White Male Scholarship”

Tim LeVier defends the controversial white male scholarship, as well as other scholarships determined by race and gender. Here is his Comment of the Day, in response to my post, “The White Male Scholarship”:

“…This is actually a subject that I feel passionate about for exactly the reasons you state. I’ve mentioned on this blog (in the comments) before about how I feel with regards to student groups that support every student except the straight white male. What’s a guy like me to do when everyone’s at their meetings? The names of their groups suggest exclusion of others and create an unwritten rule that you should only attend if you meet the qualifications.

“With regards to student groups, I think your post would be more accurate. I think there’s more opportunity for all individuals to flourish in mixed student groups plus it spreads awareness of your “race-based” goals when you aren’t just ‘preaching to the choir.’

“However, for scholarships, surprisingly, I have to take the opposite approach. I think it’s because I believe that with scholarships, it’s about providing opportunity, whereas with student groups it’s about taking opportunity.

“Yes, I’d like to see as many groups as possible offer their scholarships based on ethics, character, and need vs. genetic profiling, to reduce division and entitlement. However, when providing opportunity, there needs to be some assurance that your goals and motivations (if you had any) for creating the opportunity are met. I think we can see the value in elevating certain individuals because they are more easily able to connect and inspire future generations.

“I don’t think I’d ever want to take away the ability to inspire someone based on their specific situation. Whether it’s a scholarship because of skin color, height, disability, traumatic event, or physical ability, scholarships provide inspiration that no matter how you look upon yourself, there is opportunity.

“There are innumerable situations that arise that provide opportunity to a limited and select few. Many of the scholarships are targeted to replace what was lost. A scholarship for 9/11 victims to repair a family. A scholarship in memoriam of a specific individual to someone of similar characteristics.

“The system as it is, with many donors, shows that it can balance itself out as needed. So there’s one white male scholarship fund. Does that hurt the many other scholarship funds out there? Or does it bring balance to a system that brings opportunity to those with a need?

“The opposite would mean that you can’t inspire a kid with subjective reasons and using an objective system would turn the perception of the scholarship “system” into a lottery. The current system gives more than just scholarships. It gives inspiration and hope.”

3 thoughts on “The Comment of the Day: “The White Male Scholarship”

  1. I think that positive discrimination is morally the same as negative discrimination. It is still discrimination. Why should anyone be given preference over someone else for a scholarship based on their ethnicity?

    • You are correct, it is “Discrimination”. However, discrimination isn’t wrong. Everyone discriminates every day. People are said to have “discriminating tastes”. In business, there is a distinction between legal and illegal discrimination. Of course, that doesn’t really help in this case because illegal discrimination is defined using protected classes, among which are race, religion, and sex.

      I think it depends on the scholarship. I think a government scholarship should be open to everyone. However, a private scholarship should be permitted to fulfill the donor’s wishes. It’s his/her money and if they can’t have their wishes respected, he/she may not offer the scholarship money at all.

      Other than that, it would be impractical to regulate who gave who money for school when it didn’t go through a formal scholarship program.

      For me to be swayed into changing my opinion, I’d have to hear why it wouldn’t be moral or ethical for the following situation:

      In a black family, a father saves all the money necessary for his son to go to college. During the son’s senior year of high school, he is killed. The father still wants to use the money to fund the college education of someone that reminds him of his son in both physical attributes (black) and his character.

      • It’s a hard line to draw sometimes; the line between your right to have the wrong opinion, and how much the law should push you to have the right opinion.
        In the UK, since 1996 it has been illegal for B&Bs to refuse rooms to gay couples. These are private businesses – should they have the right to offer their services in a discriminatory way also?
        The situation you describe is, in my view, unethical for the reason that it perpetuates the idea in society that racial discrimination for an academic award is OK. The sooner and stronger the message given by the law is, then the sooner the views of society change. To paraphrase Cesar Millan: change the behaviour, change the thoughts.

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