Protest Over Bake Sale?!

meggiekate's picture

            This week at UC Berkeley there was a huge controversy surrounding an affirmative action-like bill called SB 185 passed by the Senate in California that I think relates a lot to our conversations about class, access, and education so I wanted to share it with y’all.

            Basically, this bill would allow public universities in California to consider an applicant’s race, ethnicity, and gender in the application process and on Tuesday, there was a phone bank on Berkeley’s campus to call in to support the signing of this bill. In response, the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) hosted a satirical “Increase Diversity” Bake Sale opposite the phone bank with pricing based on one’s race, ethnicity, and gender. Based on statements the group posted on Facebook (links below), they felt the legislation was intended to increase diversity and fill quotas, which officials say is not true. The bake sale offended a ton of students who then protested in the main plaza on campus.

            I read one opinion piece that I felt spoke to some of feelings in our conversations in class. Here are some excerpts and the link to the article:

            “This [the bill] isn’t about the promotion of  “preferential treatment.” It’s about equal access to opportunities that people of color and women have been and continue to be systemically excluded from.”

            “Many of the most egregious laws approving racism and oppressive discrimination are no longer on the books, but negative racial sentiments still persist in more destructive and subtle ways. They take the form of institutionalized barriers. What do these barriers look like?  They take form in highly segregated low-income communities of color where local school districts have to teach more crowded classrooms with less funding, schools unable and often times unwilling to offer courses to ensure its students fulfill the A-G requirements and schools who hire teachers without the proper teaching credentials.”

            “SB 185 is about accessibility, opportunity and progress. It is intended to ensure that all of our communities will be able to attain the education required to meet the economic demands of tomorrow. It is about taking into consideration the current and projected demographic changes in California, as well as the expansion and growing demands of our state economy.”

From: http://oaklandlocal.com/posts/2011/09/uc-berkeley-bake-sale-why-our-experience-cannot-be-discounted-opinion

 

Here are a couple links to the BCR’s descriptions of the event on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=180017028739215

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150808701895478&set=a.192543325477.251202.657130477&type=1&theater

Here are some news and opinion pieces that I found on this event:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/27/controversial-bake-sale-highlights-debate-on-bill-allowing-california-colleges/

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/hundreds-protest-diversity-bake-sale-at-uc-berkeley.html?track=icymi

http://www.dailycal.org/2011/09/27/increase-diversity-bake-sale-draws-crowds-to-sproul-plaza/

Also, the UC Berkeley Chancellor posted a letter against the BCR’s bake sale:

http://www.dailycal.org/2011/09/26/uc-berkeley-chancellor-sends-campus-wide-letter-condemning-bake-sale/

 

Comments

S. Yaeger's picture

One of the things that always

One of the things that always make me scratch my head in these sorts of debates is that the disenting voices often do two things. The first is express their concern in a really over the top way, and the other is to only consider a small part of an issue.  Like Utitofon said, there's no way of knowing who the bill will actually help and how it will help them, but there's also more to think about in this issue.  One of the things that I have noticed in my community is the idea that if one person recieves help when it is needed, that all other people will have to have something taken away from them.  there seems to be some of that in the bake sale described in the articles.  I'm pretty sure that every college student everywhere benefits from all sorts of laws, restrictions, guidelines and federal funding.

The other thing that catches my attention here is that the students holding the bake sale seem to be taking the possition that the applicants affected by the bill will all be affected positively, and that they will somehow not have to work hard if they are admitted to the school.  My views on this might be biased, since I am a nontraditional student by definition, and have benefitted from a lot of incentive programs and special aids available to me, but that certainly doesn't mean that I am not doing the same work as a traditional student who recieves less aid.  Esentially, for me, all these programs do is help to open doors.  I still have to walk through and work.  I haven't read the bill, but I'm guessing that it doesn't say that minority students don't have to work while there.

Utitofon's picture

Reaction to SB 185

Its a shame that racism still exists. Sometimes it subtly expressed but at other times, inidviduals cannot help but reveal their hateful  feelings. If the true intent of the bill is to improve the chances for international students and women, all well and good. I hope  though that it does not booomerang because in the final analysis, it is not a computer but people that will read the applications, so if any of the admissions officers is still racially biased then the existence of the bill might work against the intended beneficiaries. The issue is eradicating the prejudice from our hearts and not from the constitution. It is a moral problem and has to be solved morally. One way is via keeping the Golden Rule of empathy and treating others the way we would love to be treated.

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