Does Bill Gates Hate White People?
Microsoft gazillionaire-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates has apparently decided to award Gates Millennium Scholarships only to Americans of non-European descent. He did so back in January but the word is just slowly getting around.
Brian Garst observes, “Now, he is free to direct that his money be spent however he pleases. The rest of us, likewise, are free not to purchase the products of a racist.” He’s right on both counts. But is Gates really a racist?
First, to state the obvious, Gates looks, um, white. I mean, he could be the archetype of whiteness. Granted, there’s such a thing as self-loathing. But charges of racism against your own kind do tend to require a higher burden of proof.
Second, the stated purpose of the Gates Millennium Scholars program is “is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential.” Given that whites remain the majority (if not for long), we’re excluded by definition.
Now, my personal preference would be for need-based scholarships to be race neutral. It’s not obvious to me why a poor white kid from Appalachia is any less deserving than an equally talented poor black kid from Compton. But, then again, it’s not my billions funding the program. Most notably, because I don’t have any spare billions laying about. So, if Gates wants to use the money he’s earned and raised to combat the vestiges of a system that privileged his own race over others, I won’t hold it against him.