Academia spearheads the return of race-sorting, by Daniel Hannan.
Last week, it emerged that two of Britain’s private schools had turned down a bequest from a philanthropist, Sir Bryan Thwaites, who had wanted to set aside a million pounds to provide places for white working-class boys.
Sir Bryan, who had himself attended both schools on a scholarship, pointed to a mass of evidence showing that white, working-class boys are the single worst-performing group in Britain. But the schools refused his gift, arguing that bursaries should be offered wholly on the basis of need, without regard to color.
No such objection was made a year earlier, when Cambridge University accepted a donation from the musician Stormzy to fund two scholarships for black students. Stormzy, I should perhaps explain, is a grime artist, grime being a British form of rap music associated with gritty urban life, redolent of gangsterism. Stormzy has taken the genre to a new audience. Indeed, as far as I can tell, his fan base is largely made up of middle-class white children. His politics, naturally, are far-Left: He led the 2019 Glastonbury Festival in a chant of “F— Boris!”
The arguments for and against:
The argument for racially limited scholarships … is, in essence, a libertarian one. It is Stormzy’s money to do with as he will. He is offering extra funding, so there will be no losers, only winners. There are plenty of other awards that, in accordance with the donors’ instructions, are restricted, to military personnel, say, or to children of alumni, or whatever. So, why not to black children?
That argument has a certain force. But it is, I think, outweighed by a higher imperative. In an open society, we are treated as autonomous individuals, equal before the law, free to make our own decisions, and answerable for our own actions. The idea that we should be defined by birth or caste or race, though common for the last 10,000 years, has no place in a post-Enlightenment, liberal country. Schools and universities, especially, should have no truck with the notion of sorting students into racial categories. The duty of preserving Enlightenment civilization falls most heavily on them.
The nasty anti-white politics that drives it:
But what we see throughout the Anglosphere is a truly bizarre double standard … Celebrating blackness is a form of happy, multiculti diversity, whereas celebrating whiteness is tantamount to being a Nazi. Offering scholarships to poor black children is uncontroversial; offering scholarships to poor white children is racist. …
Liberal academics … have no problem with the collectivism involved in racial categorization. Indeed, it attracts them. They argue, and seem truly to believe, that a wrong done to someone else, possibly long ago, is somehow felt by another who simply happens to share that wronged person’s physiognomy, an odd superstition that justifies all manner of random social engineering.
An anti-apartheid comedian in the 1980s used to end his routine by simply reading out the number of people who had applied for racial reclassification in South Africa, from “black” to “colored,” or “colored” to “Indian,” or whatever. The sheer absurdity of that list made the case against apartheid more strongly than anything else he said. Yet now, we are watching the most liberal of institutions tell people to self-define primarily by race. What a world.
The modern left is as racist as, while decrying its opponents as racist. Like so much of political correctness, it’s just crazy, wrong, and done for political gain by the left. What’s next? Trying to tell us that women can have a penis? Yep, now they want us to believe that.