Discriminatory event overshadows message

How much are you worth? According to UC Berkeley College Republicans, I am worth $1 for being Latina. But because I’m a female, I’m eligible for a $0.25 discount. How generous.

On Tuesday, UC Berkeley College Republicans hosted a satirical bake sale, titled “Increase Diversity” bake sale. At the event, cupcakes were available for purchase, but rates were determined upon a person’s gender and race. The price was $2 for a white person, $1.50 for Asian, $0.75 for black and $0.25 for Native American — with $0.25 off for females.

The bake sale aimed to exemplify how unfair it is to accept students into public universities in California based upon their race or gender.

Though this idea seemed well-intentioned as a mere voicing of opinion, the bake sale was simply taken too far, overshadowing the message the Berkeley College Republicans wanted to convey. In turn, it created controversy and  most students of all races and genders involved were deeply offended. There are many other avenues in which to get a point across, but selling food based on a person’s gender is completely inappropriate because of its discriminatory nature.

The way in which the Berkeley College Republicans decided to voice their opinion made it seem like racism is not serious — so much so that it’s appropriate to make a satirical event out of it. In all, the satire was taken too far.

Instead of encouraging conversation and discussion about whether or not making gender or race a decisive admissions factor is a good idea, the bake sale instead turned off students and made them not want to participate in any conversation with the Berkeley College Republicans. In essence, it failed miserably.

It’s baffling how something as serious as education could be equated with cupcakes, and I certainly don’t understand why a person’s race had to be incorporated into the event for the Berkeley College Republicans’ point to be made known effectively.

Proponents of the bake sale have argued the negative responses to the demonstration essentially prove the entire point. An organizer for CampusReform.org, a social networking site for Conservative students, wrote on the Facebook event page, “If the people are so offended about the race — and gender-based pricing, shouldn’t they also be offended when the Legislature does essentially the same thing for college admissions?”

Because of the blatantly offensive nature of the bake sale, Associated Students of the University of California called an emergency meeting the Sunday before the event.

According to the Daily Cal, the result of the meeting was that the senate approved a resolution stipulating the use of discrimination, whether in jest or seriousness, should be condemned — and I completely concur with this decision. Any sort of racism is uncalled for.


Mellissa Linton is a sophomore majoring in English. Her counterpoint runs Fridays.  

Read a different viewpoint on the same issue here.

6 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    To point out a minor problem in most of these critiques, the author’s opinion is Anti-Affirmative Action, Anti-Bake sale. She states it in the last paragraph pretty clearly.

    However, most people already noticed the problem with your argument, that discriminatory or not, the bake-sale proved a point, no matter how much opponents of it heap onto it words like “Controversy”, “racist”, and “Discriminatory”.

  2. berkeley sibling
    berkeley sibling says:

    “If the people are so offended about the race — and gender-based pricing, shouldn’t they also be offended when the Legislature does essentially the same thing for college admissions?”

    I think that quote sums it up quite well. Although i agree that cupcakes and education are not anywhere near the same thing, it is merely stating a point and drawing a comparison. The pricing on the food wasn’t to discriminate it was to draw a correlation and make a statement. No one was forced to purchase anything, it was their choice.

    and i agree with the post above…. if all forms of discrimination should be condemned, then why is affirmative action okay?

  3. Chris
    Chris says:

    So how is it that selling cupcakes with different prices based on race and gender is horrifying and terrible and offensive, while giving people an advantage (sometimes substantial) in college admissions based on race and gender is totally fine?

    I honestly don’t understand this. In this very article, you say *exactly* what the College Republicans are: that discrimination based on race and gender is a *bad* thing. And yet this seems to just sort of bounce off your forehead.

    The point of the bake sale: discrimination is bad.
    The point of the people up in arms over the bake sale: discrimination is bad*.

    *except when done in favor of certain protected classes.

    And there’s the rub. That little asterisk. The College Republicans put a spotlight on it. And people in favor of it, rather than offering any cogent argument to support their position, started screeching to the heavens that they were offended that this double standard had been exposed. They did not engage with the argument presented by the College Republicans. Instead, they (and this article) try to ignore it, simply declaring it horribly offensive and thus unworthy of being taken seriously.

  4. Seriously
    Seriously says:

    The bake sale was a success based on its intention to raise awareness and spur dialogue. Mellissa, as an English major, you of all people should understand the value of an analogy. And who told you that creating controversy is a bad thing? On the contrary, it often generates action one way or another. We may not agree on the outcome, but that’s OK. The last time I checked, the First Amendment to the US Constitution is still in place.

  5. Merry
    Merry says:

    Really? Any sort of discrimination should be condemned?

    Like the admissions policies?


    I think this was a brilliant success in pointing out the astonishing hypocrisy of leftists.

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