Is the Berkeley College Republicans‘ ’Diversity’ Bake Sale Racist?

The UC Berkeley College Republicans are planning a bake sale — where the price of a cupcake depend on your race.

The “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” is meant to satirize an affirmative action-like bill in California that would let the university system consider ethnicity in student admissions.

“Just like the CA Senate Bills 185 and 387 the phone bank 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,” the College Republicans wrote in a Facebook announcement publicizing the event, set for Tuesday. “Hope to see you all there! If you don’t come, you’re a racist!”

But with a price structure that includes $2 for “White/Caucasian,” $1.50 for “Asian/Asian American” and $.0.75 for “Black/African American,” some aren’t finding it very funny.

“I’m ashamed to know that I go to the same school with people who would say stuff like this,” student Skyler Hogan-Van Sickle wrote Facebook. “I’m really trying to figure out how someone can be this hateful.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, more than 200 students responded to the event, mostly in opposition. One threatened to burn the table and set the cupcakes on fire. At least four student groups sent complaints to campus administrators, and a student-only meeting was set for Friday evening to discuss it.

“It’s offensive because of the tactics that they chose,” Joey Freeman, Berkeley’s student government vice president told the Chronicle. “This should be done for constructive dialogue and debate. But not in a way I thought was, frankly, racist.”

In a separate Facebook post, the College Republicans doubled down on their intent to hold the bake sale:
The Berkeley College Republicans firmly believe measuring any admit’s merit based on race is intrinsically racist. Our bake sale will be at the same time and location of a phone bank which will be making calls to urge Gov. Brown to sign the bill. The purpose of the event is to offer another view to this policy of considering race in university admissions. The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical, while urging students to think more critically about the implications of this policy.

Gibor Basri, Berkeley’s vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, told the Chronicle the Facebook posting does not violate any campus policy.

“The only policy it violates is the principles of community,” he said, adding that a campus-wide letter will go out Monday. “We can use this as a teaching moment.”

Shawn Lewis, president of the Berkeley College Republicans, said he was surprised by the number of critics and their harshness his organization has received. He said agrees that race-based pricing is discriminatory.

“But it’s discriminatory in the same way that considering race in university admissions is discriminatory,” he said.


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