Affirmative action is a policy that many institutions use to benefit underrepresented groups and is usually based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Many people see this as a good policy because it can, for example, help groups of student who do not attend college get a scholarship or some other form of aid.
However, when students at UC Berkeley heard that Governor Jerry Brown was going to sign an Affirmative Action-life bill, they were not so pleased about it. In order to make their opinions known, the students organized a satirical Increase Diversity Bake Sale. The pastries that were sold in the bake sale were price-adjusted, based on the race of the buyer. For example, white men would have to pay $2.00 for a cupcake, while Native Americans would pay only $0.25 for the same cupcake. Women also received a price break of $0.25 off.
“Just like the CA Senate Bills 185 and 387 the phone bank supports, we will be considering race, gender, ethnicity, national/geographical origin, and other relevant factors to ensure the equitable distribution of baked goods to our diverse student body,” the group announced on a Facebook post advertising the bake sale. They finished the announcement with this: “Hope to see you all there! If you don’t come, you’re a racist!”
The group claims that its actions are purely satirical. Sadly, some students do not find the bake sale at all humorous or entertaining.
“I’m ashamed to know that I go to the same school with people who would say stuff like this,” said Skyler Hogan-Van Sickle, a student at UC Berkeley. “I’m really trying to figure out how someone can be this hurtful.”
Personally, I agree more with Dennis Kim, another student at the school.
“In no way do I believe this group is trying to be racist,” Kim wrote on Facebook. “They are just trying to raise awareness on new legislation that may come to pas that will allow universities to select applicants based on race and sex.”
I think that Affirmative Action is a good thing, if it’s not taken to any extremes. The Increase Diversity Bake Sale seems to be pointing this out by showing that it does not seem fair for their to be extreme differences ($2.00 for white men, $0.25 for Native American men), but small differences to accommodate some members is not necessarily a bad thing (the small $0.25 decrease for women).
But that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Share your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.