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The GEM Debate: White Men Only?

It’s been relatively quiet around here lately so how about a rousing debate on race in America?

Iraqi war veteran Colby Bohannon has founded a group called the Former Majority Association For Equality and plans to offer five scholarships for qualified male students – the only catch, they have to be at least one quarter Caucasian.  When interviewed by the American Statesmen Bohannon, who says his group doesn’t take a stand for or against Affirmative Action, said he’s just not sure that white men are the majority anymore.

Okay, NO ONE should be denied an opportunity for an education, regardless of race, religion or color. But opportunities are not equal and fair is a concept that really works best when forecasting the weather. I wonder if Bohannon has any idea of the numbers of very smart students of color who couldn’t afford to go to college or were denied admission for various reasons. Reading this story brought me right back to the discussions I had at points in my career in various newsrooms where someone told me I was ‘lucky” I was black because my resume tape would stand out.  Forget the fact that I was typically one of only two people of color working in the newsroom.

I’m not exactly certain this plan of his wasn’t hatched on a bar napkin somewhere over a pitcher of margaritas because it doesn’t seem to be real well thought-out.

Bohannon  says he’s not sure white men are the majority anymore, which, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why that’s such an earth-shattering concept. I guess because I’m not a white man. Bohannon would do himself well by snagging one of those scholarships and take a class on how to use the Internet because a quick Google search will tell you according to the latest figures, white people (not Hispanic) make up over 65 percent of the population. If we assume half of them are men, that’s still more than double the nearest group, African Americans (nearly 13 percent). I’m not even going to go into the history of race in this country and how people of color have long been discriminated against. Something tells me it would be lost on him.

Se let’s start today’s GEM Debate…

Should there be a scholarship for white men only? If so why? If not, why not?



  1. VictorHM

    March 2, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    This man’s plan seems to work from the premise that white males previously served from a position of entitlement, and that that position has been taken away from them. I’ll believe that notion is true when the Boards of Directors of most of America’s corporations aren’t comprised mainly of white males.

  2. martin bryant

    March 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I believe everyone should have Android equal opportunity at everything. However, since racism has always existed, there shouldn’t be any extra special concession made. Instead let’s rewrite And re-established the rights And constitution of America. However because elitiest will always have to exist; racism And reverse racism will forever exist. To answer the question, no there shouldn’t be a white man scholarship nor should there be a black man’s…there should just be scholarships.

  3. Ruth

    March 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Just an another white man with tunnel vision. Glad I’m not a white woman from Texas!

  4. Rich

    March 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    More white (straight) male entitlement issues!

    Boo hoo – my heart bleeds for them 🙂

  5. Joss

    March 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I’m a white female. I was a single mother going through university and I couldn’t get a single non governmental scholarship because they were ALL for women or people of “minority”

    So, if that’s the way everyone else is doing it, why can’t white people?

  6. RJ

    March 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I say go for it. Doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I just spent the last 28 days telling those who complained about Black History Month to grab a month of their own. Their are 11 others you know.

  7. Jayson

    March 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Ok now let me see…….were we not been told for the past one hundred and fifty years that nothing was owed to us and we rose or failed according to our merits? Were we not told that there should be no special quotas set aside for us to succeed? Oh now I see when the shoe is on the other foot, rules change. Is this the same policy that was used to grant native Americans their land? Same policy to grant Blacks their freedom? Same policy that says we have free and honest elections? Same policy until you are the dis-infranchised, then all bets are off!

  8. Katrina

    March 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Let them have the scholarship. While I don’t agree with anyone’s viewpoint that ALL scholarships seem to be for women or people of color (by the way Joss, if you’re a woman and the only scholarships you could find were for women or minorities – um, why didn’t you, as a woman, apply?) scholarships, are by nature, usually intended for certain people.

    I’ve seen such a wide range of scholarships (some just for C students, some for kids whose parents are farmers, some if you are a music student, etc…) that this doesn’t bother me at all. And I”m African-American and attended school in the mid-west at a large state college that, at the time, was only about 6% African-American.

  9. Matt

    March 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    the kid initiating this is clearly a dirtbag, but it is hard to argue with his logic. This is unfortunately the result of a society that values race and gender as being a more deserving factor than test scores, work ethic, and tenacity.

  10. Rene Syler

    March 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    @Matt: Honestly, he can do what he wants with private scholarship money. But he should check his facts before he goes spouting off to the newspaper. Whites are not the minority, not by a long shot. And the reason magazines, scholarships, colleges were set up for people of color in the first place was because they (we) were excluded from society as a whole. People like this guy think that 50 years of civil rights will reverse 150 years of systematic racism. That’s just not the case. Thanks for weighing in.

  11. Irene

    March 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    “I’m not exactly certain this plan of his wasn’t hatched on a bar napkin somewhere over a pitcher of margaritas because it doesn’t seem to be real well thought-out.” rene

    there is alot of that going on in this society…..why not just give the scholarship to the most qualified?

  12. Pam

    March 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Once again we get our panties all in a bunch because someone declares they can do something that basically has nothing to do with us. Think about it- if this gentleman had not promoted this action, we would not know about it. We seem to fall for the okey doke every time. A person announces a hot bed issue, and we start either complaining or agreeing with it. I, personally could care less what he does with his money. It would not make a dent in my life. What his aim is, I believe, is to solicit some type of response from us, knowing full well it would start controversy. Couldn’t he have done this anonymously? Does he need the publicity? Maybe he needs more people to agree with him to make his statement seem viable. Who knows? Who gives a crap? By the way, Rene, I love ya! Keep on being a GEM. I am one too and I am loving it. I will spill the beans about it to yo one day. You will not be able to close your mouth! LOL!!!

  13. Lisa

    March 2, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    It seems the most important fact about this article was over looked. Here we have a veteran who has formed a group called, “Former Majority Association for Equality.” Excuse me, but has anyone questioned what this groups purpose consist of? I mean the words; “Majority” and “Equality” raised some red flags for me. I am not worried about the five scholarships created by this group. That can easily be questioned solely on the idea that the scholarships may create a disparate impact. Adversely affecting members of a protected group, and let us not forget last time I checked “Caucasians” are not listed as part of a protected group due to an injustice.

    Should there be a scholarship for white men only? When you use race as a stipulation you had better be prepared to provide proof as to why they deserve “special” treatment, and right now, I do not see a valid answer. However, back to the group…what is the purpose of their formation?

  14. Rene Syler

    March 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    @Pamela: You know what, I happen to agree. There are all manner of scholarships out there for all kinds of students. I really couldn’t care less what he decides to do with his dollars. BUT, and this is a big but, he needs to get his facts straight before he’s quoted in the media. When he came out with this nebulous “white men aren’t the majority anymore” is when it got a little nuts so. Google the census, it’s super easy to do and get the F-A-C-T-S in advance. The other joke, and I have said it before, is that racism didn’t go away with the passage of the Civil Rights act and a black man in office. I love how people try to gloss over that like if we do it will be all better. UGH. Talk about it folks. We have to talk not storm off.

  15. valerie porter

    March 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I hope no one forgot that less than 40 years ago a Black person could not even darken the doorstep of a college, never mind enter it’s doors. That was the reason for affirmative action in schools and companies. Really, have things changed that much that white men only need scholarships? Well I remember Gov. George Wallace standing arms outstretched blocking Blacks from ever attending the University of Alabama, and you can be rest and assured it wasn’t white boys that he was blocking. My answer is NO, they don’t need scholarships for white men only. Yes! I live in Alabama…

  16. DawnKA

    March 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    There are scholarships out there for everyone. Scholarships for button lovers, people over 30, Jews, young mothers, ex offenders, you name it. So to say that as a woman you couldn’t get one is mighty suspicious. Perhaps you did not qualify for the ones you applied to. Personally, I received scholarships based on my academic performances. Let them have their scholarships. Hopefully,
    they can find some deserving young minds who can use it to have a great future.

  17. Smarty P. Jones

    March 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I’m sure my opinion will differ from a lot of folks’ here. I say the organization can give its money to whomever it wishes. As long as its not receiving government funds, it could do whatever it wants.

    Far be it from me to say it’s racist or whatever. I have been a recipient of several small scholarships that “targeted” women and minorities. This is simply another “targeted” scholarship. Sure it sounds racist, but these folks reserve the right to reward or whatever folks in they want to.

    We could re-hash and point out reasons why targeted scholarships and such are necessary for minorities. We could also say that this is a retalliation tactic for white male privilege. We’d be right on both accounts, but, getting upset about it won’t change anything. We won’t accomplish anything except more arguing and quite frankly, I’m tired.

  18. tammyele

    March 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    @Joss, I’m getting ready to go to college again and can’t find ANY scholarship to fit me, period. Often the list of requirements are so tight, one or another of them (not grades, mind you) usually knock me out of the running. While I do agree that scholarships should represent the group giving the funds (there are plenty of “decendents of daughters of the American Revolution,” “first generation from Cuba,” “one brown eye, one blue with size eight shoe,” directed scholarships, so why can’t there be a “white man” scholarship?) My finding is that MOST scholarships are created to support a specific group anyway–journalists, scientists, children of immigrants, etc.–so what makes his group any different? He also said the person just needs to be 25% caucasian. As a person of color, I see nothing wrong with this scholarship.

  19. Rene Syler

    March 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    @Tiffany: I agree. I don’t care what private parties do with their money. But he should have researched his facts first because he just sounded stupid, thereby proving he, himself was in need to a scholarship.

  20. Smiley

    March 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm


    I didn’t say as a woman I couldn’t get a scholarship, I said as a white woman I couldn’t get one not funded by the government. And fyi my degree is with distinction and my overall 5 year GPA is a 3.7 (I’m pretty sure academic merit wasn’t much of an issue here)

  21. Joss

    March 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I didn’t say as a woman I couldn’t get a scholarship, I said as a white woman I couldn’t get one not funded by the government. And fyi my degree is with distinction and my overall 5 year GPA is a 3.7 (I’m pretty sure academic merit wasn’t much of an issue here)

  22. Joss

    March 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm


    THANK YOU! You totally get it. It is/was so frustrating to be requiring the help and seeing so many tight restrictions. If I am ever able to create a scholarship I would like to have one directed so single mothers, can you believe I actually couldn’t find one that wasn’t for minorities. (I am from Canada, so it was mostly aboriginal or immigrant)

  23. M.E. Johnson

    March 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    White men can’t stand even the thought of not being the ones in power. But this punk sounds like the ones who ask “Why can’t we have a WHITE history month?” They know they have all 12 months year after year, begrudge us one(1) lousy month.

    Yeah, he can do what he wants but he better damn well know that WE know his stupid game.

  24. Nikki Newman

    March 3, 2011 at 1:53 am

    I think the name of the group is so telling – it just smacks of impatient toddler foot-stamping to me. Couple that with going public with it like this and as you say, Rene, spewing out a load of old nonsense about white men/minorities, that’s what sets alarm bells going for me. Just. So. Tiresome.

  25. Pingback: Race and Racism: Why is it STILL too hot to handle?

  26. Tim E

    March 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I support the white male only issue one one condition: they must come from an economically or socially deprived household. Otherwise, their time would be better spent destroying the system that promotes and coddles well-connected white males only.

  27. Jessica

    March 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Honestly, whoever the scholarship wants to give money to is up to them. One man’s opinions differ from another man. The general idea to me is wrong because I feel that the goal of America is not to keep one race in a dominant percentage than the others but rather to provide a safe place where opportunities are for all races.

    The percent of whites in America will be significantly higher than blacks for a long time solely because most blacks are in America because of slavery which was only present in some areas of the US. Basically, it would take a lot of African immigrants to make the Black population higher than whites.

    At the end of the day, like I said, it really doesn’t matter what cause the founders and members are trying to promote but if this was just a general statement, it would be very different.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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