Another Affirmative Action Bake Sale

Berkeley students are apparently “up in arms” over a conservative gimmick to protest Affirmative Action. According to an article by Nina Mandell in the New York Daily News:

A controversy over cupcakes is heating up at UC Berkeley in California, where campus Republicans are planning to hold an affirmative action bake sale on Tuesday.

At the sale, white men will be charged $2 for a baked good, Asians will pay $1.50, Latinos $1, African-Americans 75 cents and 25 cents for Native Americans, KGO-TV reported.

“The pricing structure is there to bring attention, to cause people to get a little upset,” Campus Republican president Shawn Lewis told the TV station. “But it’s really there to cause people to think more critically about what this kind of policy would do in university admissions.”

The bake sale comes in response to a bill awaiting California Governor Jerry Brown’s signature that would allow California’s public colleges to consider race in undergraduate admissions.

These simplistic measures are sort of unnecessary. While it seems odd that people are still shocked by this event—which is a fairly common practice among college Republicans—the bake sale is hardly necessary to “think more critically about what this kind of policy would do.” California had this policy in admissions for many years.

After California eliminated its Affirmative Action program in 1996, public colleges saw a 1 percent overall decline in minority enrollment. No matter how one feels about racial preferences in hiring and admissions, it’s just not that big a deal.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer