Brace yourself, partners in Bitchdom: this week's recipient just might be a real-life incarnation of the now-defunct Privilege Denying Dude.
Never fear, young "Caucasian" guys: someone has heard your plea! Declaring scholarships awarded to women and racial minorities "exclusionary," two students at Texas State University have founded the Former Majority Association for Equality to financially assist white men. Yes, only white men, because according to co-founder William Lake, they are "one group that just doesn't have any support." He went on to tell Talking Points Memo that "[Co-founder Colby Bohannon and I] don't have enough money to solve all the world's problems, so we thought we'd start by solving this problem." Bohannon says "It's time in our society to look at the way our culture views race. It's time to give everyone an equal shot."
Read on once you've picked your jaw off the floor.
What's wrong? I'm just trying to solve the world's problems!
What's in a name? Well, when you're a group specifically for white people with the name Former Majority, it says a lot. Presumably in response to the U.S. Census, which reported that Texas citizens are 46.7% "white persons not Hispanic," the moniker Former Majority Association for Equality reeks of aggression and misplaced nostalgia. This incident plays into a repeated racist tactic of depicting non-white people as a threat possessing magical privilege by virtue of being a U.S. minority. Has anyone told Lake and Bohannon that white people, let alone white males, are not the original majority of Texans?
The founders of FMAE (or maybe it's the FMAFE, since the initials change repeatedly throughout their website) freely admit that their own grades aren't high enough for scholarships in the first place. That's strange considering the sad story they keep telling about being "excluded," but maybe it's why they've failed to notice that there are, in fact, Texas scholarships for low-income students with no race specifications, not to mention federal loans. (That's aside from financial aid for veterans, of which Colby Bohannon is one.) So... what exactly is FMAE doing here? Here's how their offical Mission Statement begins:
Our goal: To financially assist young Americans seeking higher education who lack opportunities in similar organizations that are based upon race or gender. 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.
Hold on. Let's read that last part again: "[...] they do not fit into certain categories or any ethnic group." White people do not belong to ethnic groups, apparently! I don't think it's a stretch to extrapolate that this is because Lake and Bohannon see whiteness as the norm. Also, do I need to point out the obvious irony in protesting scholarships "based upon race or gender" by creating a—no, I don't think I do.
This is the background image on fmafe.org, presumably because smart white guys understand the philosophical value of reading empty books.
Most alarmingly of all, FMAE has raised more than $3000 since they began getting media attention several weeks ago. Despite the fact that even articles that aren't labeled "opinion" are oozing with mockery of the group, they clearly have supporters. But even while thriving on attention for their own wrongheadedness, the group is running around in circles trying to reassure us that they aren't racists. (If you want to know all of Lake and Bohannon's Bingo-esque self-defenses, see the links below, but it might be too much douche for your browser to handle.) In addition to spouting cringe-inducing, Microaggressions-esque lines on MSNBC, FMAE has this to say on their official site:
One obstacle that we immediately anticipate is to not appear racist or racially motivated. We do not advocate white supremacy, nor do we enable any individual that does. We do not accept donations from organizations affiliated with any sort of white supremacy or hate group. [Note from Deb: anonymity. 'Nuff said.] We have no hidden agenda to promote racial bigotry or segregation. FMAE's existence is dedicated around one simple principle, to provide monetary aid for education to white males who need it.
No worries, William 'n' Colby: I don't think your agenda is "hidden" at all.
Texas Group Offers Scholarships Exclusively for White Males [Colorlines]
Texas Group Will Offer Scholarships to White Men Only [Huffington Post]
Nonprofit Gives Scholarships to White Males Only [ABC]
The Whites-Only College Scholarship [The Daily Beast]
Concerned White Man Starts Scholarship For Guys Like Him [Jezebel]
Texas Student Defends Scholarships For White Men [Talking Points Memo]
Texas State students offer scholarships exclusively for white males [The Austin American-Statesman]
College Scholarship Is for White Males Only [The Root]