Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

How does the UC Berkeley 'diversity bake sale' rub you?

Photo by joelorama/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Fellow students have protested it and campus officials have condemned it, but a group of Republican students at UC Berkeley is moving ahead with plans to hold an "increase diversity" bake sale this Thursday in mockery/protest of legislation awaiting the governor's signature that would consider race and gender in college admissions.

The method of protest? Charging higher prices for the baked goodies to white customers, especially white males, and lower ones to minorities and women.

From the campus group's original Facebook post promoting the event (the language has since been softened), as published by the campus paper The Daily Californian:

Berkeley College Republicans will be SELLING BAKED GOODS from 10 AM – 2PM across from the Affirmative Action Phonebank on Upper Sproul, and just like the CA Senate Bills 185 and 387 the phonebank supports, we will be considering RACE, GENDER, ETHNICITY, NATIONAL/GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN and other relevant factors to ensure the EQUITABLE distribution of BAKED GOODS to our DIVERSE! student body.To ensure the fairest distribution, and make sure that there are a DIVERSE population of RACES of students getting BCR’s delicious baked goods, the pricing structure will be as follows:

White/Caucasian: $2.00
Asian/Asian American: $1.50
Latino/Hispanic: $1.00
Black/ African American: $0.75
Native American: $0.25
$0.25 OFF FOR ALL WOMEN!

Hope to see you all there! If you don’t come, you’re a racist!


Affirmative action-based admissions have been prohibited on California campuses since the implementation of Proposition 209, a 1996 state initiative. The "diversity bake sale" is in protest to a bill known as SB 185, which if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown would allow the state's public universities to consider race, gender and nationality in the admissions process.

Reaction among students, not to mention the general public, has been polarized, not surprisingly. Nearly 250 comments have been posted just under the Daily Cal story from Friday, when the controversy first hit campus, ranging from praise to groans.

Small Business owner wrote:

What The Republican Club is doing is absolutely brilliant; exposing the hypocrisy and the utter stupidity of those who just don't get the message of the bake sale. If one does not fully understand the hypocrisy (which I would imagine be the majority of the student population), God help you in your search for a job in the real world.

Marcus in MN wrote:
You're buying into the Conservative fallacy that, if affirmative action is removed, what remains is a fair meritocracy. It's been shown in many ways that a bias against minorities still infects business and other institutions. "Color-blind" policies are, in effect, affirmative action for whites.

And so forth. Others were more offended by the group's tactics, which they felt mocked the experiences of minority students and graduates. In its story, the New York Times cited a comment on the Republican group's Facebook page from one user, who made this point:
“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,” wrote Ally Wong.

Still, while condemning the protest, campus student leaders will allow it to go on. A "Conscious Cupcakes Giveaway" counter-protest will be held by students opposed to the bake sale.

So readers, what's your take on the bake sale, the group's message - and the method?

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy reading Multi-American? You might like KPCC’s other blogs.

What's popular now on KPCC