Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is Diversity Bake Sale Racism?

Just yesterday, the UC Berkeley College Republicans (UCBCR), with the support of fellow Republicans from nearby schools, and Prop. 209-advocate and former UC Regent Ward Connerly, conducted a satirical “increase diversity bake sale”, whereby white men were charged $2 for a cup cake, while Asian men paid $1.50, Latino men $1, and black men $.75. Women paid $.25 less than the comparable male price. Three-hundred cupcakes were sold (out). (here) The UCBCR was attempting to draw attention to SB 185, which they feel might water-down the earlier Prop 209, banning affirmative action in college admissions.

A friend who works near the campus responded, ‘that’s so racist’, wherein I said, ‘it’s not racist, just really stupid’. In fact, these bake-sale events are not new to campus Republicans, and seem a vital part of learning the art of not-persuading-anybody-about-anything, as practiced by the group’s leaders/mentors. I have yet to see mocking-your-adversary as an effective tool of argument/persuasion, but the Republicans keep sticking to it, all the way to DC.

The counter-response/protest, by the UC Student Association, was a ‘die-in’, where a bunch of non-sympathizing students wore black clothes and played-dead near the bake sale. This seems a little stupid, as well. Why not counter with a ‘Walgreens’ sale, wherein white males pay $.75, Asians $1, Latinos $1.50, and Blacks $2, for a tube of toothpaste, depending on their suburban/urban store location. Now debate them apples, kiddies!

UC Berkeley?, the number one public institution of higher learning in the US? Makes one wonder about admissions across-the-board, don’t it?

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

Respectfully, can you explain what you mean by calling the bake sale "stupid?" Do you mean it's sophomoric and calculated to get a cheap rise out of everyone? (If so, I agree.) Or are you saying the point behind it isn't valid? If so, I'd argue that that really is pretty much how race-based affirmative action works.

As you will have guessed, I'm against race- (and gender-) based affirmative action in college admissions. For one thing, I find it demeaning to suggest any group of people NEEDS such a boost because they can't make it on their own merits. Worse, it sets up a situation where others (employers, etc.) will doubt whether a minority has truly earned his or her credentials or acquired them through a bit of academic charity. That is a terrible injustice to the real achievers. For this and many other reasons too numerous to go into here, I find affirmative action of this type to be a harmful and unfair system all around.

So while I join you in rolling my eyes at the dumb kids who organized this bake sale, I really don't think the underlying viewpoint can be dismissed. I'd be interested to know where you stand on the more serious aspect of this.

James C. Collier said...

Anon 4:00, the analogy the young republicans use is valid, but unpersuasive in its mocking nature. The die-in is equally unpersuasive. Baked goods vs. toothpaste pricing is fuel for a grown-up honest debate. If you search this blog for AA you will get more than you want on how I feel about AA.

Jim-Jim said...

How about a hoop seven feet off the ground in basketball, to be used by whites only?

ronnie brown said...

the best way to undermine a remedy (however imperfect) is to misrepresent its INTENT...characterizing Affrimative Action as an instrument of discrimination against the very people who have an unfair advantage over everyone else...triflin'...