A bake sale planned by the University of California, Berkeley College Republicans on Tuesday is generating controversy not for the items being sold, but for pricing the goods according to the buyers’ sex and race.
Shawn Lewis, president of the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR), came up with the idea to draw attention to the admission policies of colleges and universities.
Lewis told The Christian Post that the aim of the bake sale is to demonstrate that not all students on the Berkeley campus support affirmative action.
“We wanted to price our goods in a manner that would reflect how affirmative action programs worked,” said Lewis. “The purpose of the sale is to cause people to consider how affirmative action programs could negatively impact university admissions.”
The California Legislature is considering a bill that would allow state universities to consider race or national origin as part of the admissions process. Senate Bill 185 would allow public universities and colleges to consider race in their outreach and retention in their admissions procedures. Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) is the bill’s sponsor.
At Tuesday’s planned bake sale, pastries will be priced based on the buyer’s sex and race instead of one price standard for each item. For example, white men will be charged $2.00 per item; Asian men will pay $1.50; Latino men $1.00; black men $0.75 and Native American men $0.25. Women will get an additional $0.25 off the prices above.
Lewis said he expected some opposition to the sale, but was surprised at the outrage seen thus far.
“We knew the sale would be a bit controversial, but we didn’t expect some of the comments and the reaction to be so severe,” said Lewis. “It’s interesting – UC Berkeley is the home of free speech but the capitol of political correctness. It must be okay for some groups to advocate for an issue but not for others.”
Lewis said some students have issued direct threats, including physical force.
Not only are the prices creating a stir, but the location is as well. The BCR members are setting up a table across from the Affirmative Action phone bank that will be contacting California Gov. Jerry Brown to voice their support for SB 185, the diversity bill. The group is also calling in support of SB 397, which would allow citizens to register to vote online.
On Sunday, the UC Berkeley student senators voted to “condemn” discriminatory behavior on campus by a vote of 19-0.
UC Berkeley student Devonte Jackson, an organizer of the affirmative action phone bank, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the CR bake sale is “inappropriate and hurtful, by attacking underrepresented communities by reducing their communities to a cheaply priced good.”
But despite the strong opposition, Lewis says BCR is planning on moving forward with Tuesday’s bake sale.
“The only reason we would cancel the event is if our members’ safety was compromised. I certainly hope that will not be the case,” said Lewis.