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Have aid for needy

regardless of race

The U.S. Department of Education's turnaround on the question of minority scholarships is disappointing, but not at all surprising. No one in politics wants to face the fact that James J. Kilpatrick underscored in his Dec. 21 column: The Bush administration's vaunted policy of "equality" is really preferential treatment for minorities.

It should be recognized that financial need for young people wanting a college education is color-blind. The bottom line of a needy family's checkbook is neither black nor white; it is red. At present any minority student who wants to attend college can do so, as colleges fall over themselves offering financial aid. But the same is not true for non-minority students.

It was a sad surprise for me to learn that two students at Southside School where I teach are members of one of The Buffalo News neediest families. When these non-minority students reach college age, will they be denied financial aid that would readily be granted to minority students?

Nagging questions go through my mind as I watch appeals for the United Negro College Fund. What percentage of a student's ancestry must be minority in order to qualify for financial aid? If traditionally black colleges increase their non-minority enrollment, will they be jeopardizing the funds they have received until now?

I heartily endorse Gov. Cuomo's goal of ensuring a college education for any student who wants it. To meet the crushing financial need in families across the racial spectrum will require massive funding, but it will be cheaper in the long run than paying permanent welfare or building more prisons.

The caps and gowns these students will wear upon graduation will all be the same color, as will be the money they will earn. To make this happen, let's chuck the race-based scholarships that make the academic paper chase an unfair race indeed, and provide aid for all needy students regardless of ethnic background.


Aid for minorities

gives hope for future

I was glad to see The News editorial Dec. 18 entitled "A misplaced 'quota' attack."

In this day and age when reports by prestigious institutions show that the rate of minority students in higher education has decreased, you would think that people would feel good about doing what they can to help the few minorities there are at the college level remain there. However, this is not so.

The "haves," otherwise known as the majority, do not wish to bring the "have nots," otherwise known as the minorities, to an even playing field.

Should many races of people be penalized for unfair practices in the past which have left them many generations behind most white people in this country? Until some system is established to rectify past discriminatory practices that still affect the minority people in this country today, the "haves" will continue to have while the "have nots" will continue to lose hope.

Minority scholarships are hope for the "have nots" in this country because students know that even though they cannot rely on their ancestors' accomplishments or finances to provide for them, if they work hard enough, they too can realize their dream of obtaining a college education.

Take this away and you take away hope for most minority people in this country. Once hope is gone, this will not be a world any of us, "haves" or "have nots," will want to live in.--


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