You don’t see the words “racist bake sale” in a headline very often. This novel phrase comes to us courtesy of UC Berkeley’s College Republicans and their attempt to protest a bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown that would permit public California universities to implement affirmative action policies. They did this in the form of an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale.” That sounds harmless enough, but this wasn’t your average baked goods fundraiser.
The issue was not with the selection – if it weren’t for the racial connotations, I would be all over those cupcakes – but with the price structure the group used. The goods were priced based on gender and ethnic categories; for example, Caucasians had to pay $2.00 per item, Asian Americans were allowed to pay $1.50, and all women received $0.25 off whatever their race would force them to pay. This was meant to simulate the way colleges use affirmative action to admit students and set their tuition.
If your reaction to this was “Wait…what?” I’m right there with you. It would appear that most of Berkeley’s campus agrees with us, as the bake sale was protested by student Democrat organizations, minority groups, and apparently a Harry Potter-themed bake sale that priced its goods differently for pure bloods and muggles.
"We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point," Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis said, trying to justify his group’s efforts. "It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender."
Shawn, when your satirical protest is being protested by angry mobs and satirized by wizards and witches, you should take the hint and realize you went too far. Nothing looks more elitist than a group of white people at a relatively racially homogenous university complaining about something that could benefit minorities. Maybe you could put more of your energy into protesting tuition hikes in the UC school system that affect everyone than a proposed law that might (gasp!) help diversify your school.
Photo: courtesy of Huffington Post