A student group at UC Berkeley cooks up controversy with its anti-affirmative action bake sale.
On Tuesday, a group of student Republicans will host a bake sale that sells pastries priced by the buyer’s gender or race. On the Facebook page that advertised the “Increase Diversity Bake Sale,” the group listed the prices as follows: “White/Caucasian” going for $2, “Asian/American American” for $1.50, “Latino/Hispanic” for $1, “Black/African American” for 75 cents, and “Native American” for a quarter.”
All women, regardless of race, will receive a 25-cent discount.
“If you don’t come, you’re a racist,” the event description noted. (It appears the price list has been removed, but the Facebook page can still be viewed here.)
The sweet-toothed publicity stunt has since provoked campus-wide fury and protest (after all, it’s Berkeley), reigniting debate over one of the most divisive modern-day policies surrounding American education.
Further, the Republican organizers have reportedly received threats and harassment.
Affirmative action was banned in 1996, when California voters passed ballot initiative Proposition 209, prohibiting public schools and employers from considering an applicant’s race, ethnicity and gender.
But when another student group, the Associated Students of the University of California, planned a phone bank to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a Senate bill that is similar to affirmative action, the student Republicans cooked up their bake sale in protest.
Regarding the contentious price list, Joey Freeman, an officer with the Associated Students group, told the Los Angeles Times: “We were really taken aback and, frankly, disgusted.”
The president of Berkeley College Republicans, however, stands by the bake sale’s political statement. “We’re not racists,” Shawn Lewis told the New York Times. “We expected people to be upset. Treating people differently based on the color of their skin is wrong, and we wanted people to be upset about that.”
Ally Wong, who opposes the bake sale, as well as the group’s overall stance on the issue, wrote on the event’s Facebook wall: “Perhaps you should be charging women and Latinas double to better reflect the fact that we’re being paid 78 cents and 59 cents to the white man’s dollar.”
On Monday, UC Berkeley administrators released a campus-wide letter condemning the bake sale, but the Berkeley College Republicans will host it anyway—planning to close shop only if their safety is compromised.