The college Republicans at Cal-Berkeley have launched a bake sale to protest considerations for admission to minority students; prices for bake goods are based on race and the point they are trying to make is being lost on the point they don’t get; their protest is racially insensitive.
A bake sale flyer posted on Facebook last week linked the price of pastries to the race, ethnicity or gender of the buyer so that “White/Caucasians” are charged $2, “Asian/Asian-Americans,” $1.50; “Latino/Hispanic” $1; “Black/African Americans,” 75 cents; Native Americans 25 cents and a 25 cent discount to all women.
The bake sale creators have no understanding of how race works in America.
In a country whose earliest beginnings relied on an economic system that placed a price tag on the value of a black man, and carried out genocide against its native inhabitants, you would have to be tone-deaf to promote such an idea. Unless of course, all you really wanted was some attention focused on your cause.
Student organizers said the point of the bake sale was to mock a bill now on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would allow university officials to consider race, ethnicity and gender as factors in its student admission decisions. Prop 209 prohibits public universities from considering an applicant’s race, gender and ethnicity.
It may have been presented as nothing more than a bit of political theater created to shine a light on a legitimate policy issue, but it came off as mean-spirited.
There is a distinct difference between criticizing an idea in the public marketplace, criticizing a public figure and criticizing a group based solely on an ethnic, religious, social or economic difference. Rich or poor, white, black, Asian or Latino, it doesn’t matter. You can only meet people one at a time.
There’s not only a distinct difference, but a distinguishable line whenever the issue is race relations: You never, ever, ever speak in generalizations about any ethnic group, because people of similar color and ethnic makeup aren’t all the same.
Everyone in America should understand that rule, but these students chose to ignore it.
Their point that government and justice should be color blind and that no individual – or group – should receive a leg-up in any public competition is a legitimate issue. But they didn’t go about making their point in an effective way.
If enrollment was based solely on scholastic merit – and did not include financial concerns – it would soon be white students clamoring for affirmative action alongside other “disadvantaged” groups. Consider this: Asian freshman students at UC Berkeley in 2010 made up 46 percent of the student body, while white freshman students constituted 32 percent. And those figures come after a 9 percent drop in enrollment among Asian students.
The GOP just doesn’t seem to understand the Melting Pot concept. Other news outlets have reported nearby campus Republican clubs will be arriving in Berkeley to join the GOP club in solidarity. How unfortunate to learn that ignorance on racial issues isn’t restricted to a single campus.