It’s tough being a white male. They can’t dance. They can’t jump. And they can’t apply for minority scholarships. But while most college applicants would apply for, well, the plethora of others available, Colby Bohannan, an Iraq War veteran and a student at Texas State, created his own: a scholarship for white males.
Dubbed the Former Majority Association for Equality (FMAE), the scholarship’s name is derived from the speculation that “if you’re not a male, and if you’re not white, you’re called a minority … [but] I’m not sure white males are the majority anymore.”
Here’s the scholarship’s mission, according to their website:
To fill in the gap in the scholarships offered to prospective students. There are scholarships offered for almost any demographic imaginable. In a country that proclaims equality for all, we provide monetary aid to those that have found the scholarship application process difficult because they do not fit into certain categories or any ethnic group.
The scholarship awards five lucky white males—who are at least 25 percent Caucasian—$500. Scholarship hopefuls must also have a GPA higher than 3.0 and have financial need.
“There’s a scholarship out there for just about any demographic, except this one,” said the group’s treasurer, William Lake. “We realize it’s for good reason—this is a touchy subject.”
And their good reason? It’s not to challenge affirmative action, but to challenge “our society to look at the way our culture views race,” according to Bohannan. The scholarship’s website claims that it “has no political aspirations, financial agenda, or radical social philosophies whatsoever.”
Texas State’s vice president for student affairs, Joanne Smith, has said the scholarship is no different from any other ethnic scholarship. “From the university’s standpoint, we can’t take issue with a scholarship offered to a certain group.”
Started in March 2010, the scholarship board consists of nine members, including three women, one Latin American, and one African American. They have already raised $2,500, which they will reward on July 4.
Although the program is barely a year old, members of the group have already had run-ins with the law. Public records show that Bohannan pleaded no contest to charges of property theft in 2001 and issuance of a bad check in 2003. Lake has also pleaded no contest to issuance of a bad check in 2008.
FMAE is not the first “white male scholarship.” In 2006, Boston University College Republicans created the “Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship” to raise awareness on race in college admissions. And Tennessee State University also awards scholarships for Caucasian Tennessee residents in order to “increase minority enrollment at TSU.” Alabama State University and Alabama A&M also once provided scholarships for their white minority—before courts intervened.
Most of these “white male scholarships” are due to the decreasing white male population on campus.
“I felt excluded,” said Bohannan, who, as an Iraq War vet, qualifies for several forms of educational assistance and is protected from fluctuating financial aid rates. “If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?”
FMAE is still accepting applications until June 1, 2011.
Image brad montgomery/Flickr