Colleges nationwide are now opening hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and other programs previously created for minorities and women to white students and men. Nearly half of the four-year colleges in the United States had reviewed or modified programs that used race as a criterion.
As a female minority student who receives little financial aid, I applaud this motion. You might think I should be the last person to encourage a policy like this, as if it might negatively affect me – but it won’t. I don’t feel that white students are taking away money that is rightfully mine.
I don’t feel as if “the man” is trying to keep me down by giving even more opportunities to the already over-privileged white population. If I did not acquire the scholarship or internship in the first place, then it was never mine. Furthermore, any individual who meets requirements for these programs deserves them regardless of color.
This new policy is a crucial step in achieving equality and racial tolerance across the board. It’s not a myth that, in this country, being born a minority puts you at an instant disadvantage, not to mention being female. This is a white man’s world. I am the direct opposite, but I am wholly in favor of integrating these minority programs. If the “disadvantaged” can expand programs like these to include all groups then the advantaged has no excuse not to do the same.
These scholarships were originally created to level the playing field of an already racially skewed society; however, in order to rise above the evils of institutional racism these new policies should be enacted. This new motion is a step to progress the overall goal of equality and can be a precedent for future policies. Scholarships and programs should be equal opportunity, just as any person of color would want a job or internship to be equal opportunity. It is hypocrisy to have these programs exclusively for minorities when everyone wants equal-opportunity jobs.
Conversely, professor Max Sanford of the African American studies department said it is fine to expand these programs. Yet, at the same time, they should double the amount of programs to minorities because the educational racial divide today is greater than it was in the ’70s. He also stated that complete expansion of minority and women programs is “educational genocide” and is insensitive to reality.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “People should not be judged on the color of their skin, but rather on the content of their character.” If someone is qualified for a program or is in need of a scholarship, his skin color should not decide whether or not he should get it. Broadening scholarships or programs that were historically intended for minorities is a step forward in achieving diversity, and would actually promote this ideal rather than deter it. It is time to do this if we want to progress and truly fulfill the mantra of “everyone is equal.”
In a country that has and continues to try to transcend such an extensive history of racism and discrimination, race should not be used as a criterion for anything. Race should not be an issue when it comes to opportunity.
In this day, any type of racial divide should not exist. Minority programs were necessary in the past to promote minority participation; but as we are moving more and more toward racial tolerance and acceptance, everyone should be included. Minorities are better equipped for the working world and are presented with the same opportunities, so these programs should not be a crutch or the only reason why a minority gets a job.
Yes, it will take years and more work to fully end racism, but this is a move in the right direction.
Dashira A. Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.