In his war against feminism, Milo Yiannopoulos has made his next play. On 21st January, Milo tweeted a link to a Buzzfeed article by Joseph Bernstein announcing the creation of the “Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant,” aimed at helping white males into post-secondary education (College/University) in the USA.
Upon initial reading, Milo’s latest attempt to rile the left wing and feminists amongst us is quite the bait – he even admits in the aforementioned article that the grant “started off as something that would wind up social justice warriors.” I must admit I had initially taken to my keyboard with the intention of writing about how damaging this might be, and how it’s ludicrous to suggest – as Milo does – that “young white men are suffering.”
A quick look at a few statistics, however, and you might think Milo a little less misguided.
In the UK, at least, a recent UCAS report has shown that white, working-class males are the least likely group to go to university. Similar statistics can be found across the pond, where Milo’s grant will be offered and, as such, should be where we focus our thoughts on this grant. The National Centre for Education Statistics have found that, between 2002 and 2012, female enrollment in post-secondary education increased by 14% more than male enrollment. Between 1976 and 2012, the percentage of “white” students (where white students do not include white Hispanics) fell from 84% to 60%.
Whilst the disparity between the sexes is notable and should be redressed, the reduction in the number of “white” students can safely be ignored. The United States Census Bureau records the percentage of “white” citizens in America at 62.1% – a difference in university representation compared to population demographic of 2.1% is hardly a pressing matter.
Looking purely at enrollment, Mr. Yiannopoulos is probably feeling quite smug. Our friend at Breitbart is half-right: males are under-represented. However, we must look underneath these initial statistics to get a true picture.
To analyse only enrollment figures would be to entirely miss the point. We need to look at the educational system as a whole, and how it is benefiting each of the sexes. When on equal footing, males have an irrefutable advantage. On every rung of the educational ladder, males are employed more often than their female counterparts – be it in high school dropouts (58.3% of males are employed compared to 30.5% of females) or in high school graduates, where the difference is a slightly less alarming 7.2% in favour of males. Milo’s enthusiasm for highlighting the deficit in enrollment and, more pointedly, winding up his detractors, means he has failed to address the end game. Almost no-one goes to university for the sake of getting a degree. A degree is a means to an end, the end being a job. Given these differences, it would appear that even a college education doesn’t ensure that females go into a job interview on a level playing field with males.
This discrepancy is not Milo’s fault. By helping to address the imbalance between males and females at university, he is taking control of something that he can actually control. The optimist in me would like to believe that, were it in his power, he would implement a scheme to even out the levels of employment in the sexes. If Milo isn’t going to address this – and I’m going to make an educated guess that he won’t – then those who vehemently disagree with him must highlight the bias in employment rates. Milo should be worked with on this matter, though at the same time completely separately. He can fund access to education for white males should he wish, and his detractors should ensure the inconsistency in employment rates is addressed fully. Different groups campaigning for incongruities about which they feel incredibly passionate, rather than pulling in opposite directions on the same matter, will bring about equality far quicker than a public war of words.
Perhaps the underlying problem is the lack of merit based employment. If the best candidates for a position were hired, it should average out and leave us with a fair representation of the population in each job. Should employers find two candidates of equal suitability but different ethnicity or sex, then the decision could, in this case, be made based upon the need for correct representation of each group.
In his haste to irk the left-leaning crowd, Milo has taken a small step towards balance in the education and employment sector. The perfect response to him is to leave him to it. Naming the scheme the “Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant” is his way of lighting a fuse to try and make feminists explode. He is covertly attempting to devalue the claim that white males are socially privileged by highlighting the discrepancy in enrollment figures, using these grants as a way of doing so. Males are privileged in many ways that statistics cannot measure. Facial and bodily hair in men is not jarring. No-one has, to my knowledge, sexualised my breasts (I do have them, ask my friends) and so I am free, should I wish to do so, to expose them in public without fear of prosecution. If you’d like to look at our anatomical privilege, we don’t have to queue for the toilet because urinals, and in extreme cases, trees, exist. Cis-males don’t bleed from their genitalia once a month, which also means we don’t have to pay for the pleasure of bleeding from our genitalia once a month. I could go on. I won’t, but I could.
In this case, none of this should matter. No number of 140 character lessons is going to change his mind, nor the minds of many others that follow him. We should be in for the long haul when it comes to equality, and, like almost everything, it starts with educating people on these issues. I know that coming to university has enlightened me on these matters, and it will only do the same to others, regardless of whether or not they’ve been funded by Milo Yiannopoulos. Efforts should be focused elsewhere and, if you’re struggling for a reason to let him be, imagine Milo using $25,000 of his own money to educate white males, only for the recipients to conclude that they don’t agree with him. I can’t think of any sweeter justice than that.