A defense of race-based scholarshipsIn regard to Keith...

the Forum

July 01, 1991

A defense of race-based scholarships

In regard to Keith Alan Britt's June 5 letter to the editor, "Eliminate race-based awards," here are the facts: Jane is an 18-year-old high school graduate planning to purse a career in journalism. She was a "B" student, enrolled in accelerated courses in her school's college preparatory program. She was editor of her high school's newspaper and of her church's youth newsletter and has received numerous awards for her efforts. Jane was also accepted into the honors programs at the college of her choice. Despite the fact that Jane has applied for over 20 general scholarships, she has not received any. Jane is black.

I am not speculating that race is the only reason Jane didn't receive any of the scholarships for which she applied. But Jane is an above-average student with quite a few accomplishments, and though she seems qualified to receive scholarship help to defray the high cost of college, she didn't.

The truth is, I am Jane. The color of my skin has held me back, rather than helped me to get ahead. I do not want to be accepted, hired or promoted to any position just because of my race. I make the most strides when I do not specify my race on TTC an application, forcing the person who is evaluating me to make a decision based solely on my credentials. Yet there are those who, when they do find out I am black, avoid me like the plague.

I do not like being considered a token or a quota. I want to succeed on the strength of my qualifications, not the color of my skin. But there has to be cooperation on all sides as I cannot make it alone. We cannot just, as Mr. Britt states, "sue Holiday Spas, speak out against racism and stop the incessant 'black awards'." We have to change the system so that all people will be "judged by the content of their character," as Dr. Martin Luther King stated.

Once the doors to opportunity swing on the hinges of equality, then can we close the door to race-exclusive awards scholarships.



The naked truth

It was extremely rude of Dan Rodricks, an invited guest of the weekend nudist gathering in Darlington, to write a niggling, petty and sarcastic column on June 24 describing his interlude there. It was a graceless and crude diatribe.

I suggest Mr. Rodricks employ his meager talents in causes of more consequence, rather than ridiculing a group of naked people out for a weekend of fun. I'm sure his host had no such aim in mind in inviting him.

Mr. Rodricks owes all of us an apology for contributing to the undermining of President Bush's kinder, gentler nation.

Russ Seese


Missing the boat

One Sunday afternoon, I took an out-of-town visitor to the Inner Harbor where we boarded a water taxi for the Bay Cafe. No schedule was posted, but we were assured the water taxi came every half hour.

After our meal, we waited for the water taxi to return, but it never came. The unreliable shuttle services marred the otherwise good impression made by the Inner Harbor development on my visitor, a professional redevelopment director in California. I was embarrassed.

Governor Schaefer's commercial tourism message has probably not yet reached the water shuttle services: "Remember that company is coming. Let's do our best to keep them coming back."

John J. Pilch


Phony cuts

By now I am sure you are aware that despite Congress' promises to use the new tax revenue to reduce the federal deficit, it did the exact opposite.

That's right: Congress enacted the second largest tax increase ever and rather than reduce the deficit, it increased spending $111 billion (not including the gulf war costs) and pushed the 1991 deficit to an all-time record $320 billion.

When Congress talks about spending cuts, it is not talking about cutting actual spending, but reducing projected increases. If Congress just reduces the amount of increased spending, it calls that a spending cut ` even though actual spending is still increasing.

Confused? Let me give you a simplified example. Let's suppose Congress today is spending $1 on a program and has budgeted to spend $2 on the same program next year. However, if it spends $1.75 next year, it will call that a spending cut of 25 cents ` even though actual spending increased by 75 cents.

The promise of deficit reduction was nothing more than a myth. Congress just wanted more taxes for more spending. And members of Congress would promise anything just to get more of our income and to get re-elected to their lucrative jobs and perks. Congress is bankrupting you and me and America.

Dolores E. Grimes

Ellicott City

Kennedy query

During the vice presidential debates of 1988, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen stated he knew Jack Kennedy, and said that Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy.

If the Jack Kennedy whom Senator Bentsen knew is the one described in the recent biography of the late president, then the undercutting remark, "you're no Jack Kennedy," was surely an unintended supreme compliment to Dan Quayle.

Robert P. Wilhelm


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