Racial scholarships

December 12, 1991|By Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.

FEWER than 1 percent of the scholarships given to college students in this country are based solely on the recipient's race, but for some reason, the Bush administration has felt a burning desire to address this non-issue.

For the second year in a row, its Education Department has endorsed a ban on such scholarships, antagonizing educators, civil rights activists and minorities.

But there's something strange about this year's proposal: It appears to contain so many loopholes as to render the idea of a ban virtually meaningless.

So why did the administration bother?

For example, race-based scholarships would still be acceptable as remedies to proven discrimination, or when the money came from private donors.

Moreover, according to Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, financial aid will still be acceptable to promote "racial, cultural or geographical balance."

Isn't that what targeting scholarships for minority students is essentially about?

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