White boys and cupcakes

The College Republican group at UC Berkeley is annoyed by pending Californian affirmative action legislation. So annoyed, in fact, that they can only express their outrage via that age old medium of social satire: the bake sale. The group plans to hold a bake sale in which the prices are determined by race and gender. If you’re a white man, you pay $2 for a cupcake. You get a discount if you’re female. You get an even bigger discount if you’re hispanic or black. And so on, down to the lowest price of $.25 for Native Americans.

See? See how funny it is? Because once affirmative action laws are on the books everything is harder for the poor, embattled white dude. Whereas all those free-riding women and minorities have it easier. Especially Native Americans! They’ve taken so much from the US government! And what has the US government ever taken from them? (Oh, wait. Ooops.)

The Huff Post has more details here – including some amusing comments from other Berkeley students.

Ps – They have the College Republicans at *Berkeley*? Really?

10 thoughts on “White boys and cupcakes

  1. How could any fair-minded person accept the suggestion, on the basis of such cases, that College Republicans are motivated in part by race and gender bias? Let the alternative-explanation games begin!

  2. I’m a little confused by this. People who are for affirmative action wish for equality between the sexes and races. Fair enough. The way they want this to happen is to allow race and gender to be considered for scholarships, employment, and the like, so that underrepresented groups get more opportunities at university and whatnot, correct?

    Was the point of the bake sale to point out the hypocrisy in this line of thinking? I’m not really sure I understand what’s going on here.

  3. Yeah, what Kathryn says. The bake sale is intended as an amusing parody of affirmative action. But it only successfully parodies affirmative action under the assumption that affirmative action makes things harder for white guys and gives women and minorities a break. Whereas, of course, proponents of affirmative action argue that these laws are a (very modest!) attempt to redress structural imbalances. The bake sale is only a funny satire if you believe the myth of the poor embattled white dude. Otherwise, it’s annoying, and perhaps offensive.

    Or, as another Berkeley student eloquently puts it:

    “If you’re going to compare the Bake Sale to Affirmative Action…the only way it would be comparable is if the flour, oven, and all baking materials were stolen from the people that are required to pay the lowest prices. And if the baked goods from all prior bake sales were made for free by the minorities while white students reaped all the profits…which resulted in unequal opportunities to purchase baked goods in the current sale.”

    (And Crude, please read our comment policies. Then abide by them.)

  4. They have the College Republicans at *Berkeley*? Really?

    The *city* of Berkeley is the bluest of blue liberal enclaves. But the students at the university are the same assortment of predominantly-upper-middle-class, predominantly-suburban Smart Kids that one finds at pretty much every other prestigious university. It’s basically the same as Ann Arbor or Madison — and recall that the big Michigan affirmative action case was focused on Ann Arbor.

  5. “We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point,” BCR President Shawn Lewis said in a statement. “It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender.”

    Lewis claims that many voices from the group, including Asian, Hispanic and female students, felt that the bake sale was appropriate.

    “More than half of the voices were female,” he said.

    —–

    I guess Crude would count me as a slow person, because I still don’t get how the point makes sense. Where is affirmative action based “solely” on race or gender? I was under the impression that race or gender is a factor given an interest in diversity or remedying the legacies of conventional discrimination.

    Are they selling discounted cupcakes for individuals who get an admissions advantage based “solely” on their place of residency or on the fact that a parent graduated from the school?

  6. Anonymous, I think the issue of legacy admissions is an interesting debate, every time it comes up. But legacy status is not a protected category under the US Constitution, so that’s a little different for our purposes here.

    With regard to the Berkeley student who talked about tweaking the analogy to provide that “the flour, oven, and all baking materials were stolen from the people that are required to pay the lowest prices. And if the baked goods from all prior bake sales were made for free by the minorities while white students reaped all the profits…which resulted in unequal opportunities to purchase baked goods in the current sale.”… In fairness, one could try to tweak the analogy further by clarifying that the oven had been stolen by the landowner who originally sold the campus plot to the board of trustees, and that technically the last bake sale involving compulsory baking servitude was one held by the Young Farmers Club when UC Berkeley was still known as the Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College. That’s also an imperfect analogy – I guess one lesson is that comparisons are odious – but as long as we’re staying with the misbegotten conceit of the bake sale, I wonder how people would assess the rationale for the College Republicans’ cupcake pricing model.

  7. Sorry, Nemo. I wasn’t aware that “our purposes here” were restricted (unironically) to legalistic, Constitutional questions–particularly since the anti-affirmative action brigade typically likes to claim, as the BCR seems to, some kind of underlying, color-blind moral principle.

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