Oct 2, 2011

Klan of the Cupcake

When I first learned of Tuesday's “racist bake sale” hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley, two things came to mind:

1) How can a cupcake be racist?

2) Mm…cupcakes.

Well, turns out the event--the "Increase Diversity Bake Sale"--was organized in an effort to protest SB 185, a bill introduced by Senator Ed Hernandez . The bill, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, would “bring admissions practices in California’s higher education system in line with U.S. Supreme Court precedent that allows public universities and colleges to consider race in their outreach and retention programs”.

If Brown signs SB 185, section 66205 of the California Education Code will be amended to include as follows:

Pursuant to subdivision (b), the University of California may, and the California State University may, consider race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, geographic origin, and household income, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, so long as no preference is given. This consideration may take place if and when the university, campus, college, school, or program is attempting to obtain educational benefit through the recruitment of a multifactored, diverse student body. It is the intent of the Legislature that this provision be implemented to the maximum extent permitted by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) 539 U.S. 306, in which the court state that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution does not prohibit a university's "narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body," and in conformity with Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution.

And it wasn’t the cupcakes that were racist, but rather the pricing of the treats that was deemed discriminatory by critics:

WHITE: $2.00
Image via News One.
ASIAN: $1.50
LATINO: $1.00
BLACK: $0.75
WOMEN: $0.25 off above prices

Seem like an oversimplification of a complicated issue? Well, give the BCP a break.  Sometimes the only language they understand (and I use the term "understand" loosely) is that of dollars and cents.  Which makes it all the more confounding that when political science Professor Wendy Brown tried to buy all of the cupcakes at the beginning of the sale, her business was refused.  Brown told the Daily Californian:

“I thought the Republicans were free enterprise, but they won’t let me buy all the cupcakes.”

But mostly I’m just wondering, since the bake sale was in protest of the supposed preferential treatment proposed in SB 185 (um, are they unable to read the words “so long as no preference is given”?), where are the cupcake prices that take into account national origin, geographic origin, and household income?  Where are the prices for Israeli students?  French students?  Students from the East coast? Students from Alaska (provided they are not Palins)?  Students--of all colors--who have grown up in poverty?  Indeed, it seems the only racial preference being given is by the BCR, in their own choice to recognize race as the only factor in this issue.

Finally, as a UC Berkeley Alum, I’d just like to add that one of the things that drew me to Cal as a transfer student was its diverse campus (keep in mind that I was admitted just prior to the passing of California Proposition 209). Coming from a smaller private school on the East coast, I was eager to attend a university hosting a great variety of individuals in its student body, where classroom discussion would draw from a broad range of experience in regard to all aspects of life.

That said, I probably learned more about the world itself when I graduated from the university and attended beauty school.

My dream is that, one day, the Berkeley College Republicans will be forced to spend 1600 hours performing $15 Jheri curls and $5 finger-waves on elderly Black women as part of their lower-division breadth requirements. No cupcakes allowed.

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the Tsaritsa said...

I hope your dream comes true! The BCR seem like a bunch of pissy whiners, not falling too far from the Republican tree.

tsada kay said...

I have a few friends who vote Republican and I honestly feel bad for them when idiots like these step up to represent their party.

Okay, I take that back. I don't feel bad...I LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH....

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