The administration of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, cares about the descendants of slaves, so they're sending them to other universities out of the state.
The program is part of the Ivy League institution's attempt to lessen slavery's negative generational impact, but the program doesn't appear to have any type of verification to determine whether the people who are benefiting from it are even descendants of slaves.
Last month, Yale President Peter Salovey announced the Pennington Fellowship. This program is targeted towards high-school students in the area.
The opening of the December 12th letter reads:
“In October 2020, Yale launched a set of programs—based on your input and the recommendations of the President’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging—to create a stronger and more inclusive Yale. As the Belonging at Yale initiative continues in its third year, I write to announce the creation of a new scholarship program—the Pennington Fellowship—that responds specifically to the research of the Yale and Slavery Working Group. This new initiative, one among an anticipated set of responses to the working group’s findings, supports New Haven public school students who choose to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and strengthens our connections with these institutions. I provide more details below.
“In the coming days,” the notice continues, “University Secretary and Vice President for University Life Kimberly Goff-Crews will share with you the progress of other efforts associated with Belonging at Yale, including public safety, financial aid, and support for postdoctoral scholars, staff, faculty, students, and alumni.”
In 2020, the Yale and Slavery Working Group was established “to examine the university's historical roles in and associations with slavery, the slave trade, and abolition.” The group was headed by the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
President Peter Salovey shared his regrets that the Yale and Slavery Working Group “made [the school's] past vivid and concrete.”
“Among the working group’s discoveries are details concerning those individuals within the Yale and New Haven communities who thwarted a proposal in 1831 to establish in our city what could have been this country’s first institution of higher learning for Black students.”
Thus, the new school-funded scholarship will “support New Haven high school graduates who attend HBCUs.” The scholarship will help alleviate, “in part, historical disparities in educational opportunities for Black citizens.” The recipients “will receive up to $20,000 toward tuition and fees per year for each of four college years.”
“They also will be supported in their academic, financial, and career entry success through mentorship opportunities, structured internships, resume workshops, and other programs organized by New Haven Promise. Fellowship applications are being accepted now, and the first group of Pennington Fellows will begin college in the fall of 2023.”
The concept of reparations for African-Americans who supposedly deserve them due to the country’s past record of slavery isn't new at all. However, in recent times, the idea has gained momentum: “Rhode Island City Enters Phase 2 of ‘Black and Indigenous’ Reparations,” “WATCH: Reparations? Civil Rights Leader Slams ‘Buffoon’ Al Sharpton & the ‘Scam’ of ‘Blame Whitey’,” “Don Lemon Stumps for Reparations, British ‘Royal Commentator’ Leaves Him Ending the Segment,” “Reparations Activist Demands $350,000 for Every Black Californian.”
Does Yale's scholarship program send a mixed message? Is it an act of racial justice? What's the lesson to be learned from an elite, mainly white college reaching its hands deep into its pockets to force individuals out of its state solely on the basis of their skin color?
To be precise, there aren't any HBCUs in Connecticut. So “creating a stronger and more inclusive Yale” is misleading.
It is likely that the students will be happy to receive the cash and get out of town. Every year, dozens of students are likely to benefit from doing so. Once the program is fully operational, it will be able to support between 40 and 50 students at a time. Each year, there will be between 10 and 12 recipients.
In the end, proving that the recipients are actually the descendants of slaves is a consideration too difficult for contemporary America. Perhaps the urgency felt by these racist-remedying efforts is too great to worry about these small issues. But then again, it's an incredibly difficult time.