Tech

Conservative Provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos Starts “White Men Only” Scholarship Fund

The Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant exists because, its founder says, “young white boys are suffering.”

Alt-right provocateur, Breitbart.com technology editor, #GamerGate champion, Twitter martyr, and inveterate self-promoter Milo Yiannopoulos now has another qualification to add to his CV: race- and gender-based scholarship creator.

Yiannopoulos, who has made a career out of inflaming the tensions between the progressive, identity-group-focused social internet and the roiling anti-PC counterculture that opposes it, has created a college scholarship fund only for white men.

According to its website, the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant is “exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.” Yiannopoulos is its president.

An American attorney, who spoke to BuzzFeed News on the condition that neither his name nor the name of his firm be used, confirmed that he had been investigating the legality of the fund on Yiannopoulos’s behalf and that the fund is real.

It’s the latest brazen act in a busy new year for Yiannopoulos, who earlier this month was unverified by Twitter for violating its terms of service — possibly for inciting harassment — putting him at the center of a controversy about free speech and trolling on the social platform.

The inaugural $2,500 grants, available for the 2016 school year, will draw from a pool that Yiannopoulos hopes will reach $125,000, for 50 grants in total. That money will come from private donors, whom Yiannopoulos would not name, and a $25,000 initial donation from Yiannopoulos himself. Yiannopoulos did disclose that one of the first group of donors is among the “very famous rappers, novelists, politicians [who] are all fans of mine on the DL.”

The idea for the white-men-only grants, which Yiannopoulos thought up within the past month, “started off as something that would wind up social justice warriors,” he told BuzzFeed News. “All of my very best ideas start as mischievous jokes because they will wind up the right people.”

Of course, It’s well within the independently wealthy British writer’s wheelhouse of harnessing the anger of young white men on the internet who feel disempowered by an increasingly diversity-focused digital media.

In its contrarian concern for the well-being of young men, the project echoes the work of Yiannopoulos’s frequent online ally, the anti-modern-feminism philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers, herself an alt-right icon. Pointing to the fact that males made up less than half of students attending American universities in 2015 — and that a variety of high-profile college scholarships exist for racial minorities —Yiannopoulos said he felt the fund was a way he could make a difference, a “last push to get them to college.”

“Young white boys do not have any advantages whatsoever and are significantly disadvantaged,” Yiannopoulos told BuzzFeed News. “We’re just trying to level the playing field for an underprivileged group.”

According to a 2011 paper by financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, “Caucasian students receive a disproportionately greater share of private scholarships and merit-based grants. Caucasian students receive more than three times as much in merit-based grant and private scholarship funding as minority students.”

Indeed, there are many scholarships that are in effect whites-only because they are restricted to students of German, Polish, Irish, and other European ancestries. In the same paper, Kantrowitz identifies other whites-only scholarships such as the Former Majority Association for Equality and the United Caucasian Scholarship Fund, but concludes that “most such Caucasian-restricted scholarship programs do not survive for more than a few years.”

And there are dozens of scholarships aimed at men.

Yiannopoulos said there will be no strict race or gender test for eligibility, and that the scholarships will be need and merit based. “I don’t think we’re going to be hugely policing people’s skin color or demanding DNA samples. If people apply to us and they consider themselves white, that’s OK. Statistics tend to rely on self-identification.”

The application process will start later this year, according to Yiannopoulos, who is paying for the legal, administrative, and staffing costs of the fund. He hopes to eventually expand the grants beyond the United States.

“Young white boys are suffering,” he said.


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Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.
Contact Joseph Bernstein at joe.bernstein@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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