The BU College Republicans devised a $250 Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship in order to prompt dialogue about race-based scholarships.

Rather than talk about the specific merits and demerits of such a scholarship, I want to discuss the response offered by the president of a Latino fraternity at BU; it’s palpably absurd.

David Coreas, billed by ABC as “the 21-year-old senior who is president of the Latino fraternity Phi Iota Alpha at BU” reportedly said that scholarships that exclude whites are necessary to compensate for the advantages that whites enjoy over Latinos:

We have to look at the situation honestly. Caucasians tend to have a higher per capita income than Latinos and other minorities. We have to have scholarships to survive.

Per capita income is a measurement of the aggregate income of a group. Mr. Coreas is saying that because whites, as a group, have more money than Latinos, as a group, individual Latinos are at a disadvantage when it comes to paying for education. By making this conclusion, Mr. Coreas has run afoul of the (rather elementary) fallacy of division.

Furthermore, Mr. Coreas seems to envision a system in which eligability for needs-based financial aid is based on ethnicity. This produces some curious results. Take a look at the per capita incomes for different American population segments as of 1999:

Population Segment 1999 Per capita annual income
Japanese-Americans $30,075
Taiwanese-Americans $25,890
Chineese-Americans $23,642
White-Americans $23,918
Asian-Americans $21,823
Total US population $21,587
Cuban-Americans $20,451
Puerto Rican-Americans $13,518
Hispanic/Latino Americans $12,111
Mexican-Americans $10,918

According to Mr. Coreas’s reasoning, Asian-American scholarships should be about as objectionable as a white-only scholarship. Furthermore, scholarships aimed at Japanese-American, Chinese-American, and Taiwanese-American students are more objectionable to a whites-only scholarships. So why isn’t Mr. Coreas objecting to the myriad of Asian American-only scholarships?

So it’s pretty obvious that aside from the elementary logical flaws in Mr. Coreas’s position, his own behavior is not consistent with the basis for his objection. How are we to explain this inconsistency? It’s my opinion, based on the evidence presented here and based on my own generalization from personal experience with people who make similar arguments, that Mr. Coreas is simply a bigot.

It is, of course, bad form for a white guy to point out the bigotry of those belonging to other ethnicities. There seems to be a tacit assumption that it’s necessary to promote bigotry among blacks, hispanics, and other non-white ethnicities in order to compensate for the advantages that whites enjoy over them. Perhaps I’d find this reasonable if I actually felt some modicum of the defensiveness that I’m supposed to feel about the competitive advantage that I’m said to enjoy because I belong to the largest ethnic group in a democratic society.