Two weeks ago, I discussed my thoughts about a bake sale held at UC Berkeley that priced its goods based on racial categories in order to protest pending affirmative action-like bill SB 185. I still maintain that the bill can only help diversify a relatively homogenous campus and the Republican group that held the bake sale went too far in trying to prove its point. Admittedly, the bake sale did succeed in drawing a lot of national attention to their cause:
On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB 185, keeping the precedent set by 1996’s Proposition 209 – which prohibits California admissions officers from considering race, gender, and ethnicity in the admissions process – intact.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the goal of this legislation,” said Brown in a veto message. “[However] our constitutional system of separation of powers requires that courts – not the Legislature – determine the limits of Proposition 209…Signing this bill is unlikely to impact how Proposition 209 is ultimately interpreted by the courts; it will just encourage the 209 advocates to file more costly and confusing lawsuits.”
Berkeley College Republicans President Shawn Lewis showed his appreciation for Brown’s decision in an open letter on the group’s web site:
“The people of California believe, as does the Berkeley College Republicans, that college admission decisions should be based on the qualifications of the applicant and the individual challenges he or she has faced, not based on his or her race. We are glad Governor Brown agrees and has chosen to respect the will of the voters.”
I can respect Lewis’ views on the negatives of affirmative action, but I still don’t think he understands why his protest was so vehemently picketed. It’s not that the bake sale was trying to be racist for the sake of it, but it certainly appeared that way.
All press is not good press. Though the group’s intentions might have only been to raise awareness of the issue, they should know that perception is everything in today’s society. It was a valiant effort, but maybe it would be best tone down the satire next time as to not cause another racial uproar.
Photo: Edwin Cho at The Daily Californian