TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, February 18, 2004
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Radical stunts don’t help GOP

COMMENTARY
Patrick Jennings

I had a revelation this Sunday. While looking at the headlines I realized that the Republican Party (which I’m a card-carrying member of) has crazy morons in it, too.

I know, shocking.

The nutty folks in this instance are from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. The College Republicans there set up a small scholarship of what has grown to $250, available exclusively to white students. The application requires an essay about why the applicant is proud of their “white heritage.” You must also include a picture to confirm your “whiteness.”

Cute. Really cute fellas.

The idea is to parody the abundance of scholarships set aside for ethnic minorities instead of solely on merit or need. It’s a rehash of the time-tried “reverse discrimination” argument which theorizes that policies which give minorities a leg up take the majority (i.e. white guys) a step down.

I agree with the sentiment, but my problem is with the methodology. Taking out a full-page ad in the student newspaper and putting the phrase, “Evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants,” in the application is crossing the line. That line being between calm, coherent protest and inciting controversy for controversy’s sake.

It’s the kind of stunt I’d expect from a Democrat in Seattle wearing a chicken suit to protest China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. I still don’t know why it’s a chicken suit. I can only assume the guy came straight from his job at the local Chic-fil-A.

Pulling stunts like this weakens our position on the issue, my fellow GOPers. You just make it easier for the people who make decisions on this policy to ignore our side. “The only people against this are right-wing radicals,” is not the type of sentiment you want to elicit.

Case in point, the administration at Roger Williams is distancing themselves from the organization as much as possible. The College Republicans there won’t be able to get within 100 feet of someone in charge until the controversy dies down. You can be sure that any respectable group will use the exact same tactic when asked about the appropriateness of race-exclusive scholarships.

Next time, it might be better to, oh, I don’t know, use reason to get people over to your side. Write a letter to the editor of any local newspaper. Talk to your congressman, bring up the question to school officials. A better high-profile protest would be to have one of your white members apply for a minority scholarship. Odds are you have one guy in your ranks who could win it. When they take back their offer after finding out the applicant’s white, well, then you can find a lawyer looking for national exposure willing to take your case pro bono. It may still be a stunt, but it will be a stunt with the purpose and goal of getting the policy reviewed by a judge in a court other than the one of public opinion.

Just remember how Affirmative Action’s quota system was repealed and how the point system in the University of Michigan law school got a serious look-over. If you actually want to accomplish something (and I don’t know if you really do) take the time to do it right.

Patrick Jennings is a junior economics major from Melbourne, Fla.

 
 
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