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Right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos has spoken out in defence of the 'deliberately provocative' university fund he has launched exclusively for white men.
The Breitbart journalist and, lately, founder of the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant, said his decision to set up a fund that would 'allow white men to pursue post-secondary education on an equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority' was deliberately divisive to provoke discussion on a topic that was roundly ignored.
Speaking to IBTimes, Yiannopoulos said: "It's very telling when you see people who think of themselves as being the most enlightened people, and they see a group suffering – and poor white males are in trouble – and they see someone who is prepared to stand up and do something about it, and they s**t all over it. It is very telling.
"I intended the fund to be divisive because I wanted to draw attention to the fact that the world doesn't look the way those people think it does. It started as a bit of a joke really, something provocative, but then when I looked at the data it made sense."
Initially available to students in the US alone "because I am very US-centric now", there is a possibility that the fund will be rolled out to students in other countries as the grant becomes better established.
The fund will start 'modestly' with $125,000 a year (£87,000) to give out to an as-yet undecided number of applicants as "for a poor person, the difference between going to college and not can be a few thousand dollars".
"It will be means and ability-tested," Yiannopoulos said. "When tuition fees came in in the UK, it proved that people aren't dissuaded from going to university by fees, provided they don't have to pay them upfront. What people do find harder is the initial cost of moving and buying books – particularly in the US, so this is a small contribution towards that."
On why the fund is set up to help only white student when US government figures show those students with the lowest attendance at university are of American Indian origin, Yiannopoulos stated: "There are literally thousands of funds set up to help women, but there are about 40 set up for men. UCAS says poor white boys are the most under-represented group in the UK, and it is the same in the US."
The most recent data released by the US Department of Education in January 2016, shows 43.5% of first time post-secondary students enrolled in a four-year institution from 2011/12 were white, while 30.2% were black and just 23.2% American Indian. But Yiannopoulos said: "A lot of these studies don't take into account numbers, they say black people get X percent of Y, but there may be a lower percentage of black people.
"I have identified a group of underprivileged people in need of help – and they are definitely in need of help in the UK as well. I have a lot of very rich friends, and a lot of famous friends – on the quiet because no one can be publicly associated with me because I am a bit of a naughty hell-raiser – and they wanted to help me do something like this. There are enough grants out there for women and minorities."