Racial Equality . . . Brought to You by Kellogg

Yes, that Kellogg.  Or, more accurately, his charitable legacy, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  It’s Grrrrrreat!

It was recently announced that Chaminade is the lucky recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation for a program that will help promote racial equality and healing (their words, not mine) through . . . er . . . well, as near as I can tell, through a travelling history exhibit and some college seminars.  Oh yeah!  Bring on the healing, Chaminade.  I know that nothing makes me feel more like destroying complicated socio-historical boundaries than a multi-disciplinary university conference.  I’m sure the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t mention them in his “I Have a Dream” speech was just an oversight.

Ok. I’m being a little glib and unfair here.  The grant (which is spread over two years) actually goes to support the Chaminade History Center’s Native Hawaiian History Initiative, which plans to bring “expert instruction” on things native Hawaiian to schools with lots of Native Hawaiian students.  And then of course, there will also be the various university symposia, lectures, and so on.

Now obviously, I have my reservations about how much a feel-good program designed to appeal more to resume-burnishing college professors than ordinary folk is going to do to break down racial barriers.  But here’s the neat thing:  who cares?  It’s a private grant from a private foundation.  No taxpayer funds involved.  Granted, I can be one of those annoying people who points out everything else they could choose to do with their money, but in the end, it is their money.

Of course, that doesn’t answer the question of whether it’s a program that will actually help Native Hawaiians in any measurable way.  (Let’s just dispense with the pretense that this is going to promote any kind of racial healing at all.  Problems of racial equality are rarely soothed by a bracing university lecture series.)   So were I Native Hawaiian, I’d be a tad annoyed that so much of the money spent to allegedly “help” me goes to community centers, elitist conferences, and travelling history displays.  But then again, if I were Native Hawaiian, I’d have a whole list of gripes to work through about the sheer number of people throwing around gobs of money to “help” me–as though I were some kind of sad, incapable social project.  (And on that note, I’d better stop before this becomes even more rant-y.)

4 thoughts on “Racial Equality . . . Brought to You by Kellogg”

  1. Yes indeed, how would you measure success? Perhaps it would be appropriate to test the Kellogg Board members to see how happy they felt when voting for the grant.

  2. I am a hawaiian, thru my father, and I am looking for special grants for my heritage.

  3. So if someone says, “I am European, through my mother, and I am looking for special grants for my heritage”, would that sound okay?

    I think, Lehualani, you’re not quite thinking through just how immoral it is to demand special treatment because of your racial background.

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