Discriminatory Scholarships Advertised by Palo Alto High School Schools & Kids, posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 25, 2007 at 9:29 am
Palo Alto High School is advertising college scholarships that exclude applicants on the basis of RACE. See below, taken directly from the Palo Alto High School website. I don't think this type of racist behavior should be condoned by the high school.
"African-American seniors. Criteria include: Min. 2.5 GPA, SAT or ACT and 300-400 word essay addressing “What significant contributions have you made to the community and how do you plan to make an impact in the local community during your college experience."
"Asian/Pacific Islander Seniors with priority given to those who self-identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender and involved in the LGBT community."
"Bay Area Seniors of Japanese Ancestry or are legal Japanese residents of the U.S. and who have demonstrated academic interests in the study of fields significant to the relationship between the US- and Japan."
"Seniors wholly or partially of Filipino ancestry: Min. 3.5 GPA."
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 25, 2007 at 12:05 pm
I don't think the high school should be involved in advertising scholarships, or anything for that matter, on the basis of race. First of all it's against the law since they are accepting federal funds. Second, it find it personally offensive that some think that advertising a scholarship that excludes kids of certain race or nationality on a public high school website is OK. If a private group wants to offer scholarships to kids of certain color or nationality, that's OK, just not on the public school website. Keep it in the private sector and out of the public schools.
Posted by Take It Easy, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Apr 25, 2007 at 1:06 pm
I don't see this as discriminatory. I see it as acknowledging and celebrating diversity.
The Gunn scholarships (probably the same as Paly's) single out men, women, Jews, hard of hearing, citizens, and kids of various heritages (Japanese, Italian, African, Mexican, etc.). There are scholarships available only to kids residing in Palo Alto/Stanford, and scholarships available to kids not residing in Palo Alto (must live in area served by PG&E). PAUSD is merely helping to educate kids/parents about the range of scholarships available and that have sent info to PAUSD to be shared with students.
There may not be something for everyone, but it does help students target their application efforts in directions where they may have a better chance.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 25, 2007 at 2:08 pm
Take It Easy - I see you point, but don't agree with it. I think it tries to justify racism with the rationale that the end justifies the means. I don't think morality or the law allows such a view. Given the statements in your post, it sounds like you would find a scholarship, "For White Kids Only", to be acceptable. I don't find any of this acceptable.
Posted by Take It Easy, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Apr 25, 2007 at 2:31 pm
One solution, Walter, would be for the schools to simply not post any info about scholarships, other than identify outside resources for where to find them.
To post only the "no preferences/no limitations" type of scholarships in effect aims them at the kids most likely to go to college anyway because they've had the advantages that helped them excell or someone to pay for tutors, test prep, educational consultants/groomers. Somehow that seems a little discriminatory in and off itself.
Would you also disallow college recruiters from men's or women's colleges? Hispanic or black colleges? Religious colleges? Colleges for the deaf or learning-disabled?
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2007 at 7:34 pm
Parent - you said this practice is illegal. What law is being broken? Are you strictly concerned about the law, or are you concerned about the students who don't fit any scholarship categories (including the ones you omitted)? Are you worried your student won't qualify for any scholarships?
But hey - I suppose I could adopt the view that schools shouldn't advertise these scholarships, if there will be other changes. After all, colleges themselves discriminate. So prepare for the following:
- public schools cannot allow recruiting visits, or provide other materials promoting colleges that discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, political affiliation or religion.
- public schools cannot allow recruiting visits, or provide materials promoting colleges that engage in the discriminatory practice of preferential admissions for "legacy" students or children of staff/faculty.
- public schools cannot allow recruiting visits, or provide materials promoting colleges that offer or facilitate scholarships based on any "identity" basis.
These all seem like reasonable interpretations of the views of "concerned parents" online here.
OR, here's an idea... Let's do everything we can to get as many students as possible into college with as much support as we can possibly find to help them succeed. It's particularly sad to think that much of this "color-blind" crowd shows a conservative streak, which you would think is consistent with the ideal of people helping themselves rather than rely on government. So if a concerned group of citizens wants to fund a scholarship to help people of similar backgrounds to meet worthwhile goals, let's applaud that initiative.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2007 at 10:41 pm
If anyone out there would like to respond to my ideas with something resembling intelligence... oh, never mind.
And after all, I said I could come over to the opposing point of view if we're really going to make it inclusive. Any takers? Have the courage of your convictions and say that public schools can't promote Christian colleges, or any Ivy League school with legacy policies.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 26, 2007 at 10:40 pm
Skeptic-Al - The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits government sponsored RACIAL discrimination. It's really that simple. Your allegation that I have a student who wants a scholarship who will somehow be prevented from applying for one is absurd and pure conjecture on your part. I deal in facts and you should do the same. Racial discrimination is protected under the Constitution and that's what we are talking about here. If you want to change the Constitution to include protections for some of the issues set forth in your post, then go for it, but don't try to invent law so that it supports your positions.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2007 at 11:05 pm
I'm sorry if my post seemed to have a tone that I didn't intend. For the record, I didn't allege anything about you - I asked a question, and hardly an absurd one.
Thanks for the lecture about the Constitution. I'm sorry I still don't see the violation if a school informs ALL students, indiscriminately, about ALL the scholarship information they can find from outside the school. I'd imagine that if there were legal issues such as those you perceive, then somewhere in the past few decades something would have happened to reflect your interpretation of the law. Frankly, I'd be surprised if your interpretation is held as the norm in any significant number of public schools. Not to say your interpretation is without merit.
I appreciate that you actually answered one of the questions I asked. So if you please, continue. Tell me how a school discriminates by providing all sorts of information to all students. If there were a pattern, like they're only helping students of color, then you'd have an issue, but I don't think that's what you're suggesting. And then, please, tell me why a school should provide any information, or worse yet, allow access to school recruiters who represent private colleges with discriminatory admissions practices.
Posted by blah, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2007 at 11:23 pm
It's really disgusting that people are wasting their time on these non-issues. The more money made available to future college students, the better. I don't care what gender, race, or whatever they are.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2007 at 5:21 am
A republican student's group was punished recently for offering a $100 scholarship to white males. I guess there is nothing wrong with reserving the best seats in buses for Blacks, huh? Perhaps give them their own exclusive drinking fountains? I weep that such silliness survives with such twisted logic.
Posted by Senior, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2007 at 6:50 am
As a member of AARP, I got really excited to see so many scholarships available for Seniors! All right! How dearly I would love to continue my education and get a Ph.D.
But then I began to wonder if this offer was too good to be true. Alas! I conclude the definition of "senior" by the scholarship grantors is different from the definition commonly used in society to offer services or discounts to those of us beginning to count our age by decades.
And so I conclude, sadly, that high schools should not advertise any scholarships that are limited by age to oldsters or to youngsters. Therefore, I will forthwith surrender my AARP membership, since I do not want to violate or support any agency that violates any laws that discriminate on the basis of age.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2007 at 9:28 pm
Dear "Please" -
There's sometimes a debate to be had online here, in which people will read what others post, then respond to the post in a way that actually resembles an answer. Some people here will consider points of view other than their own, and even concede a point, correct themselves... you know - civilized conversation. Those are the people to whom you might respond and expect to get somewhere. And sometimes, responding to a non-sequitor just brings out another and stifles real conversation.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2007 at 11:40 pm
Dear friend - maybe it was the combination of the content and the fact that you came up with a name that seems to be taking a personal swipe at another frequent poster on here. I wasn't offended personally (sort of like being insulted by a child - it doesn't mean anything), but I can see why the staff might want to discourage that approach.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 28, 2007 at 8:02 am
SkepticAl - I think the main concern is that Paly is allowing scholarships to be posted on a publicly funded site, which clearly restricts who can and cannot apply for certain scholarships based on the color of their skin. Race is a protected area under the Constitution. That is the point. Let me ask you a question. Do you find any of the following scholarship offerings to be appropriate for the Paly website:
"White-Caucasian seniors. Criteria include: Min. 2.5 GPA, SAT or ACT and 300-400 word essay addressing “What significant contributions have you made to the community and how do you plan to make an impact in the local community during your college experience."
"White/Caucasian Seniors with priority given to those who self-identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender and involved in the LGBT community."
"Bay Area Seniors of White/Caucasian Ancestry or are legal Caucasian/American residents of the U.S. and who have demonstrated academic interests in the study of fields significant to the relationship between the US- and White/Caucasian ancestry."
"Seniors wholly or partially of White/Caucasian ancestry: Min. 3.5 GPA."
Are any of these OK by you? If not, why?
You point about discrimination by private colleges is answered by the fact that they are private and therefore not bound by the same principles. You can have private clubs and schools that operate as they like, so long as they do not take any public funds in the process.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 28, 2007 at 8:12 am
Good post, Parent.
My "test" for racism is to substitute either the word white or black into sentences, depending on the context, to see how disgusting it is.
This illumintates nicely.
I specifically checked "none of the above" on my college scholarships applications, and did not submit a photo. I did all I could to get my money/admission on the basis of merit. And still I was accused by others of only making it because I was (fill in the blank).
I find these practices degrading. I resent them. They degrade the spirit of the applicant ( I can only get in because of something I have no control over) and the spirit of society ( some of us are worth more or less than others because of the color of skin).
Yuk. Lived through the 60s, and was part of the great idealism that supported this trend, only to feel the negative impact on myself. Now I oppose it. Human dignity requires being rewarded for actual output, not charity.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2007 at 11:50 am
I appreciate the tenor of the responses above. The problem with "color-blind" advocacy is that it seems to negate past and present discrimination and imbalances. To the extent that it could be seen as validation of the status quo or protection of existing privilege, we can question why more white people than people of color seem to want to go that route. (Note: I said "more" - not all. I'm quite well aware that there are some prominent leaders and pundits of all backgrounds who advocate the "color-blind" ideal). But another way to look at it is that for generations we've had a system that favored certain people, and those imbalances still exist. The time for "color-blindness" might be when something more of a level playing field exists. Since it doesn't yet, I'm not offended that people are looking out for the interests of students with whom they identify, nor am in offended that a school would alert its students to opportunities to support education. To answer one question from above, I would be surprised, and maybe offended, to see a scholarship for white students. It's not a double standard on my part to look at different groups of people and expect that different histories and different situations would result in different outcomes and different needs. Having said that, I guess I'd have to go along with a school providing info about that scholarship - provided that the source isn't the KKK or some Aryan Nation group. Likewise, I wouldn't want the school to advertise a scholarship provided by a militant separatist ethnic group. I think the source of the money is relevant. But if local Latino buisness groups want to provide a scholarship to Latino students, no problem by me. I think their (hypothetical) organization and their aims probably fit well within community values.
I still think your argument about illegal discrimination by school still holds no water. The school is not discriminating. One could argue that by only advertising certain types of scholarships the school is effectively reducing opportunity for students from traditionally underrepresented groups.
I'm also waiting for your answers to my questions. If a Christian college wants to send a recruiter to visit with students who might be interested in applying, should the school politely decline the visit? How about military recruiters? On some college campuses there have been suggestions about barring them from job fairs because they do not comply with the equal opportunity provisions to which participating employers are held. And are you comfortable with discriminatory "legacy" admission policies which disproportionately favor white students and effectively reduce opportnities for non-white students?
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 28, 2007 at 7:19 pm
Walter answered you, Al. Any discrimination that is illegal one way, is illegal another.
I even think there shouldn't be scholarships "just" for girls or "just" for boys in high schools.
Any campus that wants to exclude any military organizations on the campus is free to do so..and free to not take the federal money it would mean losing.
Religions is interesting one. That is an "interest" in my book, therefore people have chosen it, or not, as an interest, like engineering or nursing. So, I don't see it as discriminatory. People can even "convert" if they wish to apply. Nothing stops them from making that choice.
But, I would be surprised if religious scholarships weren't actually offered only through the places of worship, to find those who have shown sincerity, so it is probably a moot point.
Anyone know of any scholarships offered on the basis of what religion someone is AT THE HIGH SCHOOL? I would be curious.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2007 at 9:23 pm
Draw the Line -
I didn't realize anyone found Walter persuasive - he loves to drop in one-liners that seem clever but fail to address the issue.
This is clearly not an issue of a public school offering anyone an advantage in a discriminatory manner. I'm just flabbergasted that there are a few people here who can't grasp this. The school is only providing information, it is providing the same information to everyone, and unless someone has evidence to the contrary, the school is attempting to help all students by identifying or passing along all relevant information, even though not every piece of information relates to every student.
I'm not sure what you're talking about in terms of high school scholarships. Public schools do not charge students, so what kind of scholarships serve students at public high schools? Your comment about religious based scholarships also confuses me.
But I do like this one: "Religions is interesting one. That is an "interest" in my book, therefore people have chosen it, or not, as an interest, like engineering or nursing." It's nice that you have your own book, but you should know that THE book that matters here - the LAW - includes religion with gender, race, etc., as a class protected against discrimination.
Posted by It's Just Information, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2007 at 9:54 pm
I agree with SkepticAl that the schools are just passing along information. High schools generally keep on hand flyers and promotions from colleges, the military, and other training programs that may be of interest to graduating students. It's a way of helping students educate themselves about post-secondary opportunities, and access to information about scholarship opportunities is part of that self-education. The compendium of information available is rather like a newspaper or magazine full of advertising. Schools are allowed to pass along info about boy scouts, girl scouts, and various other public and private opportunities that students may choose to pursue.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 28, 2007 at 10:33 pm
SkepticAl - All of the scholarships listed in my post discriminate against someone, and it isn't necessarily a white student as you seem to assume. Scholarships that are currently adverstised on the Paly website clearly exclude everyone except a certain enumerated race and are consequently discriminating against students that just happen to be born something other than the required race. Race has attained a high level of protection under our laws and that protection is for all races, not just those perceived by some to need protection.
ItJustInformation - And do those flyers and promotions exclude Paly students on the basis of race?
Your other points are just not relevant to what's currently happening at the high school nor to the topic of this thread.
Following your logic in the previous post, I was surprised to read that you might be offended seeing a replicate of the current posts at the Paly website with the word "white" substituted in. I really don't follow your reasoning here at all. I personally would not like to see any scholarships advertised at the high school unless they are available to all. It's really that simple. I do think the school has an obligation to remain color blind. However, I don't think we will ever agree on this issue.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2007 at 11:36 pm
Why would I think that a scholarship aimed at one group doesn't "discriminate" against all others? I get it - the Philipino Assoc. scholarship not only excludes white students but also black. Sheesh, between that and the Constitution remark above, you must think you're dealing with a child or something. I get it. Considering how far out your legal interpretations are... If you were right, or in the mainstream here, don't you think things would be different? I'm not sure how many high schools you have experience with, but what you're so up-in-arms about is a normal, natural process that schools go through to provide useful information to all students about all the opportunities out there. Not every opportunity is for every student, but from a legal standpoint, the school can hardly be considered discriminatory for equally telling everyone of every background everything -equally.
Why would I view a "white" scholarship differently? For the same reason that the existence of the NAACP doesn't bother me, but an equivalent organization for whites would. (Note, I'm not commenting one way or another regarding the NAACP's actions or positions - just using it as an example of a type of organization). As I said above, I do understand the reasoning and the appeal of a color-blind approach, but I think that such an approach serves the status quo and denies a whole host of inequalities in society. I don't mind that there's an effort to level the playing field, but I would view with skepticism an effort to further empower or advance the most empowered and advanced.
But Parent, I still don't have a clear answer from you. Would you then have the school turn around and deny access to recruiters whose schools discriminate?
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2007 at 11:52 pm
(sorry - one more thing)
Just for the record, if I were setting up a scholarship to serve a certain community or target population, I personally would avoid racical terms and criteria, and I would probably focus instead on a student's academic merit, financial need, family history (e.g., first to attend college). I might also try to target students interested in entering much needed helping professions - teacher, nurse, social worker.
Race and education are issues I deal with daily, and even in my extended family. On one side I have African American relatives, including high school and college students who need no help from anybody thank you very much, and I doubt they'd be interested in a scholarship that merely rewarded their pigmentation. On the other side of my extended family, I have some insight into the race-based disparities that this country has perpetuated to this day. The multi-generational lack of access to quality education, health care, and financial services, to name just a few issues, is undeniably related to the skin-color of the underserved, and so if someone might want to provide an extra boost to those individuals working hard to overcome such odds... that seems alright when I look at it that way. I think the scholarship issue is complicated, nuanced, but the legal question of whether or not the school can inform students is a non-issue.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2007 at 12:38 pm
My 20 year membership in the NAACP ended when they left King and embraced Jackson. I also consider the Congressional Black Caucus illegal and foolish. You may be willing to accomodate a "Gentleman's Agreement" but I have seen how any such accomodation becomes the tool of the scoundrel. When something is as settled as are the laws against race discrimination I feel it is not necesary to reargue Dred Scot et al.
Posted by Another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2007 at 1:30 pm
I don't get this at all. What is all the discussion about. Is anyone being hurt by any of this? I doubt it. It is all basically trolling.
The thing would be different if all the information given about scholarships meant that there was one race, or one group in the community that was excluded from all the scholarships offered. If that was the case, then yes, that would be discriminatory. But, if there was at least one scholarship offered to fill each category, that means that every person at Paly was eligible for, then I don't think there is a problem. So if an African American, mixed race, financially deprived, gay young woman, (or any like group) can find a scholarship she qualifies for, then there is no problem. If however, someone like her is excluded from every scholarship advertised, then there is a problem.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2007 at 4:04 pm
So, another parent, as long as the blacks have an equivalent drinking fountain, an equivalent school and an equivalent seat on the bus differentiation by race is O.K.? Separate but equal scholarships? Why did we bother with Brown vs Board of Education, anyway.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 29, 2007 at 7:42 pm
I agree with Walter. Many comments on this thread are really talking about a publicly funded high school website advertising separate but equal scholarship opportunities as if that is OK. There have been numerous Supreme Court decisions acknowledging the invidious effect of such a policy. In the field of public education the doctrine of separate but equal has no place.
SkepticAl - You keep coming back to denying access to recruiters who represent schools that discriminate. Of course I would have the same reaction if the high school were allowing recruiters to use public high school facilities in order to advertise racially discriminatory schools. Such racially discriminatory behavior should not be promoted by a publicly funded high school.
What I find most troubling about your post is your statement that "the existence of the NAACP doesn't bother me, but an equivalent organization for whites would". Being color blind is the only way that people of all different races and ethnicities are going to learn to respect each other and live peacefully. Discriminating against any person (including White/Caucasion) because of race is a palpable violation of the Fourtenth Amendment.
Posted by Another Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2007 at 7:52 pm
I do get your point. Yes, what you describe would indeed be wrong. However, I think you are comparing apples with oranges here. In an apples to apples comparison, any type of segregation is completely wrong. Likewise, I think quotas of any description would be wrong - a token member of any race in any institution would be just as wrong. We should get where we are going in life by ability, not by segregation or quotas. However, advertising what is available for a scholarship is completely different. As long as no group is left out for any reason then I see no harm.
In fact, I think it would be some kind of reverse discrimination if the alternative occurred. If a group had to be vetted out because of who they were aiming at, then that could also be called discrimination. I haven't checked, but I assume that the majority of scholarships offered are for one segment of the population and not everyone.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2007 at 11:03 pm
Parent, You like to throw in that Fourteenth Ammendment stuff a lot. Quite the legal eagle! I trust you also know then that federal courts, from the Supreme Court down, have consistently ruled that the state, and therefore schools, have a legitimate interest in considering race in policies such as school boundaries. That's exactly why affirmative action (I'm not debating it here) is acceptable under the courts' interpretation of the Constitution. You don't have to like it, but stop throwing your legal interpretations out without knowing your stuff.
You also focus on race more than other forms of "discrimination." I trust that your concern for equality extends to other groups protected by law, so if you call Paly to demand (fruitless as it would be) that they stop advertising these scholarships, I trust you'll ask them to remove catalogs, take down posters, block web sites, and decline recruitment visits from:
Religious colleges such as Baylor, BYU, Yeshiva U.
Women's colleges such as Wellesley, Barnard, Mills, Mt. Holyoke
Galludet college for the deaf and hard of hearing
You should also have them block web sites that tell students how to find and apply for these scholarships. Why should they use school computers and school internet access for that? And what about the school spending money to buy books for the college center that advise students about these schools or these scholarships? That's your tax dollars funding discrimination, right? Once your efforts are underway, let us know how it goes.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Apr 30, 2007 at 2:56 pm
To Skeptical Al
Re: Walter- He is smart guy, and frankly usually quite relevant to the point. His way of communicating it bypasses some people, especially younger people, but that doesn't make him less right.
RE: What kind of scholarship you would set up- total agreement. Gets rid of a lot of the problem, and targets those who could most benefit.
Re: Religion being constitutionally protected against discrimination: I knew that when I wrote it, and forgot to say that though I believe no scholarships should be offered "for Lutherans only" or "for Jews only" through the public school, "my book" had less of a problem with it since religion is a choice, unlike the rest. But, would want consistent application of the law.
Re: Your quote "The school is only providing information, it is providing the same information to everyone, and unless someone has evidence to the contrary, the school is attempting to help all students by identifying or passing along all relevant information, even though not every piece of information relates to every student." Well, I believe that a school has also an obligation to uphold the values of the laws we put into place. I would strenuously object, for example, if the school just was "providing information" for a scholarship from the KKK for whites only.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2007 at 9:42 pm
Draw the Line -
At least we have several points of agreement. Your KKK example is something I mentioned above, too. All of the actual scholarships seem to come from organizations which, on face value at least, seem to advance causes consistent with community values. Some here might not like the race-based approach, but the ultimate goals - education and community development - are ones most of us buy in to.