So today, I was futzing around on Yahoo! and came across this article about a scholarship aimed at white males. The guys who started this scholarship have a Web site and claim that they aren't bigots, they just want to even the playing field for white males, who don't tend to be targeted for grants and scholarships.
I will admit that I haven't really looked into this myself, mainly because I'm female and my college days are hopefully behind me. However, I do have to admit to being intrigued by this idea. On the surface, I don't see anything wrong with it. There are plenty of scholarships aimed at members of "minority" groups. No one has the ability to choose which gender or race they are born into.
I don't think this group is trying to be racist, I think they're trying to make a point that seems to be lost on a lot of people. If we want racial and gender equality in this country, we all have to embrace true equality. That means we can't give people preference based on their skin color or whether or not they lack a penis. Certainly minority groups of all walks of life have experienced discrimination... and some groups have experienced it more than others have. The list of currently and historically oppressed people in America alone is very long and includes blacks, hispanics, native Americans, Irish, Jews, Mormons, JWs, Catholics, women, homosexuals, obese people, handicapped and disabled people, ugly people, nerdy people, short people, tall people, the list goes on and on...
The one group that most often gets blamed for oppressing everybody else is white males. However, not every white male is an oppressive bigot. In fact, there are a lot of white guys out there who feel guilty for their "privileged" lot. On the other hand, there are a lot of folks out there who don't feel guilty at all and don't feel they should have to feel guilty. Like I said, no one can help their race or gender. What they can help is their behaviors and attitudes. And if you're a white guy who doesn't mistreat those who aren't like you, why should you be expected to feel guilty for what you are? And why should you be expected to feel sorry for what other people are?
While I understand that America has an ugly history, so do most of the other places on this planet. And most of us agree that it's wrong to be a bigot, right? So why should we have scholarships that are given to people based on their genders or racial heritage? Why not give people rewards for their achievements, skills, talents, and productivity instead? Yes, it's true that some people don't have it as easy as others do, but in this country there should be no reason why anyone can't succeed, despite their race or gender. We won't get past discrimination as long as we continue to practice it by giving handouts to people for things about them they can't control. If we really want an even playing field, we need to actually even the playing field... and give everyone a fair shot at success... not just those who happen to be part of a protected group.