This isn’t a joke.
“No, this isn’t a joke,” confirms Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor and alt-right leader, who’s currently ruffling college campuses with inflammatory speeches on a national tour, and who last year founded the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant: a college scholarship program only open to white male students.
The grant, “exclusively available to white men,” began taking applications this week.
Is it racist? Sexist? Horrifically offensive? According to Yiannopoulos, as quoted by Breitbart, provocation is rather the point:
It started as a joke, but if you’re a woman, or you’re black… If you’re disabled, or you’re Muslim, or a refugee… If you identify as an attack helicopter, you can get free money. But the facts say that actually it is young white boys who are educationally underprivileged. As educationally underprivileged as many other groups. So it did start as a joke, but nobody can resist the truth wrapped in a good joke, and there’s nothing better than doing good while annoying the left. It is my favorite thing.
He made the above remarks at Cal Poly State University on Jan. 31, the same day the grant announced its first open application period on its website. White male American citizens who’ve been accepted to a two- or four-year university can apply for grants of $2,500.
“It’s men who need the help now, and we’re going to give it to them,” Yiannopoulos proclaimed last year, when launching the scholarship. There were doubts for a while that he’d actually follow through with the project—but here it is, more significant than ever in budding era of national social discord.
Yiannopoulos’s program, set up as a non-profit, is meant to echo existing scholarship programs that support minorities or other disadvantaged student groups. Academics aren’t finding the non-joke funny. Professors across the US have called Yiannopoulos’s program—which was funded by Yiannopoulos himself, along with a handful of private donors—a publicity stunt, a mockery of affirmative action, and a tasteless expression of white nationalism.
Some say they are deeply troubled by the connection between Yiannopoulos and former Breitbart leader Steve Bannon, who now serves as US president Donald Trump’s right-hand man. Bannon was still Breitbart’s executive chairman for several weeks after the grant was announced, before jumping on the Trump campaign.
Applications are open until mid-February. Recipients will be announced on the last day of March.