Fast forward from a conversation about choosing between two competing MPP programs: When learning that I had been offered a full-ride tuition and a large stipend from a competing MPP program, a student claimed that they were not offered any money from this program because they were white and did not qualify for diversity scholarships. I corrected this student by informing them that my scholarship from this school was a merit scholarship, not a diversity scholarship. However, the student had already detached their attention from the conversation.
This student clearly doubted my capability as a woman of color to qualify for high-level merit scholarships just because they were unqualified to do so as a white male. They were making the case that women of color could only possibly be funded by colleges due to affirmative action, in which such an affirmative action takes funding away from white males like himself. The situation is in progress of being re-addressed, but it is difficult because this individual continues to display microaggressions even after being spoken to in private. These are qualities not expected from a true ally, and it is frustrating to have to share a space with them – especially in a space meant to protect and uplift women of color.