Scholarship Screw Up

We've all taken standardized testing throughout our grand-old American education: from grammar school with the ever ending "Terra Nova's" to high school with the "Iowa" and the "PSAT/ SAT". We all have had to fill in those little bubbles, with only a number two pencil, which correspond to the letter in our name, while making sure that our marks were heavy and dark, and making sure that if we erased we leave no stray marks. We all have had to but our school name, gender, grade level, and sometimes our grade point average. Then comes the little box, the ethnicity and race part. They ask us (as an option) to put down our nationalities for the purposes of the test and scholarship opportunity. "After gender, that should be the last of the questioning," says Kim Newby '08 "they really don't need to know anything more than that." But when you think about it, what does it matter? Why would my nationality or the color of my skin matter on a test or even a scholarship?

Although the box is optional, the majority of students taking the exam fill it in. When the proctor explains the instructions, they include that the box is used to make sure the testing is "fair" and also provides scholarships to the student taking the test. But why "fair"? Do we get graded differently by the place our families were born or the culture we grew up in? The last time I checked, our nationality was American, and I am pretty sure I did not see that as an option. This makes me wonder, does a certain nationality get breaks, or gets graded harder because of the country their ancestors or relatives come from? Unless a student comes from another country, why would a nationality affect the way a student takes or interoperates a test?

In addition to the nationality "fair-ness" box, there also includes an option for African-American students to fill in if they wish to receive information for the United Negro College Foundation. Many scholarships are based on skin color or nationality, besides African American – Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, and Native American Foundation for Scholarships and Funds. Brittany Tuner '08, an African American student believes, "These scholarships aren't fair and shouldn't base anything off the color of my skin, rather what my grades are and how well I do in school. I would accept a scholarship from the UNCF only because nowadays who can afford college, but the color of my skin shouldn't give me an advantage." The question that can be raised from all these scholarships is why does it matter? Why should a scholarship for high school students in need of finical aid with great grades and amazing reanimations be turned down based on the pigments in our skin? The United States had a very large and devastating war that last four years over whether or not the color of a person's skin matters.

The way these racial scholarships are given out are un-fair and completely off-base. They provide funding for a certain race to attend a higher education who can not afford it. "What does it matter? What does a black person have over a white person? What does an Irish have over an Indian? America is the land of opportunity and we all have the opportunity to succeed if we work hard enough," quotes Derrick Neto '08, a Portuguese student. But nowadays who really can afford college? – maybe Bill Gate's kids – but for the rest of us "middle class" college prices make us run and hide underneath our covers. Krystal Thomson '08 says "These scholarships are completely unfair to all people no matter what race they are, but with the prices of college so high and the normal people's income too low, I'll take any money they'll give me for whatever reason." So why then do these foundations single out one race over another for funding? Do they think that their certain race needs it more than another? Just think: if you grew up in the non-so wealthy side of town next to an African American family with a kid the same age as you, your family (a Caucasian family) makes the same amount of money, and you both get the same grades. The day comes when you both fill out your college funding papers together. Would it be fair if they got more funding than you based on the color of their skin? Martin Luther king Jr., a wise and extremely motivated man once said, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." This man brilliantly put it that the color of our skin should have no effect on the way we are treated. Segregation was a great example of why the color of our skin can not divide us and make us into different classes.

Home Box Office (HBO) produced a documentary about the hardships, discrimination, and utter alienation of the Chicano students in 1968 California school district called "WALK OUT". The documentary shows the intolerance of a culture and the bias that the school district has towards the students of that race. They used the Chicano race to show that they were ignorant and unable to comprehend material the "white kids" could understand. Special classes were formed and a non-Spanish speaking code went into effect. The Chicano students in the district staged a walkout to protest the inequality they were receiving. This documentary holds many signification points that effect the way the educational scholarship/funding world views students of certain races. Does a minority student such as a Cuban, Chicano, Puerto Rican, or Brazilian student need more funding than that of an Irish, Italian, or French student? The documentary shows that the color of our skin or the culture of our homes we grew up in doesn't impact our capability to comprehend, learn, utilize, and interpret. So why then does a person's race or ethnicity award funding to only that "kind" of person? If we're all the same, what is the difference?

"In the past, these scholarships provided hope and opportunities to the under-privileged minority groups, but these scholarships need to stop being based on the color of a person's skin but rather the person's ability and intelligence." states Mr. Boer. It is true that in the past and maybe still present in society today, certain races face difficult hardships based on the color of their skin. "It's a lot harder to get into college now a days if you're not white, we need to help ourselves, but with all the racism in the world sometimes we need a little help" say Alex Bragg '08, an African American student. As a Caucasian male, I do not have all insight into the world of difficulties and prejudices that may ensue different nationalities and races, but I do posses an intellect that allows me to see that minorities in the world are not staying minorities but rather growing immensely each generation. We all can see the statistics that show that the race and nationalities of people re mixing so much that in a few decades we will be such complex "mutts" that know-one will actually know every aspect of where their family comes from. If the minority races are becoming majority, why then do certain races need extra help?

Desiree Valentin '10, a Puerto Rican student believes "Certain stereo-types exist today, that suppresses and even limits how far someone can go in this world. When you think about it, which has a better chance of getting into college – a white girl or a Puerto Rican girl? White supprression still exist whether anyone wants to admit it or not." But the question still remains, why does a scholarship based on skin color exist and why should we as a society accept it. "These scholarships are a great way for under-privileged students to get money for college, but they should have many standards and requirements, so that the people, who deserve it, get it?" says Alina Rodriguez '10, a Cuban Student. What Alina says brings up a very interesting point, shouldn't a scholarship be based on if someone deserves it, not the color of their skin? If the most deserving kids in the school are all one race, doesn't that mean they deserve the scholarship; and if so, why don't they get them? Scholarships should be based on the character of a person, not the pigment of their skin. Has race begun to control the race for education?