Forget the internet as a democratising force. Disregard it as the font of all human knowledge or a window to an unprecedented vista of takeaway pizzas; the one thing it's really good for is as a home for unpleasant niche interests to come together and spoil things for the rest of the world.
The internet's greatest legacy is legitimising and disseminating what were once fringe ideas from far-right cranks. Before we had the internet, no one knew what men's rights were. After the internet, we have people like Elliot Rodger conducting mass murders because it's taught him that women somehow owe him sex.
Similarly, the language of white privilege is more prevalent and accessible online now than it has been at any time since the 1960s. The internet has given the oppressors a chance to organise.
Milo Yiannopolous, a vainglorious rightist agitator with famously terrible hair is one of these, and he is making a very successful and lucrative career out of stamping down on minorities by co-opting the language of liberation. He's one of the prime movers in this new men's rights movement, which copies the methods of successful feminist groups from the 60s and 80s by bogus insinuations that men are now somehow second-class citizens, despite earning most of the money, having most of the best jobs and occupying almost all the high status positions.
His latest wheeze is to offer scholarships to help poor young white men get into university, via the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant, which is apparently "exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates".
Milo – a mainstay of GamerGate, an internet campaign explicitly designed to attack women, and who recently lost his verification badge on Twitter, possibly for encouraging harassment – has a long history of this kind of agitation, but this attempt is different. He's using the language of social justice to attempt to shore up white male privilege.
Scholarships have historically been used as a way of cementing privilege, as legacy grants given to the children and grandchildren of alumni, or as ways for the very expensive American university system to dispense patronage to poor students of their choosing. It's only recently that these universities have been using their funds to help women or minorities, who have only been integrated at many of these establishments since the 1960s. So perhaps nowadays there are quite a few scholarships aimed at helping poor minorities acquire a good tertiary education, but this doesn't redress the historical imbalance which led to black-and women-only colleges.
In Britain, meanwhile, each year's Oxbridge admissions process is littered with reports that there are perilously few students of colour in the intake. In 2013, 18% of ethnic minority applicants won places, compared with 29% of white applicants. Analysis after analysis shows that minority kids aren't making it into elite institutions here in correct numbers – as these figures show. Worse, just 4% of the teaching staff are ethnic minorities.
However, the right-wing being what it is, it can't bear to see white male power chipped into by any degree, and in the last couple of decades, there has been backlash against this affirmative action. From the indignation that surrounds white people not getting a history month when black people do, to the idea that there aren't any scholarships aimed at white people, trolls like Milo seem determined to reassert white privilege, by affecting pseudo-concern that "female, queer and ethnic minority" people are suddenly getting an equal ride, even though as groups they are statistically financially and socially disadvantaged.
Without getting into another rundown of the basic concept of white male privilege, bogus schemes like Milo's are designed to derail social progress both by fanning the flames of controversy over the tiny efforts of redress certain institutions are making towards women and minorities, and by attempting to return power to whites. Of course, because it's Milo, he's also doing it for the attention on which he thrives.
As this site points out, there are plenty of scholarships both for white people and for men – and with white men the most well-off group in the world, they are most able to afford the cost of America's admittedly usurious higher education system.
So if we want true equality, rather than the mendacious 'equality' demanded by agents provocateurs like Milo, we should be diverting all the money we can towards poor communities who still have to live with the debilitating effects of generations of their ancestors prevented from thriving by a white hegemony which actively kept them down. The remnants of which are trying to maintain this destructive legacy.