Berkeley College Bakesale Incites Debate Over Racism

The price of baked goods will depend on the buyer's gender and race.

September 24, 2011, 2:37 PM

Sept. 24, 2011 — -- An "Increase Diversity" bake sale planned by a group of students in Berkley, Calif., in which the price of baked goods will depend on the buyer's gender and race is drawing cries of racism, which is just what the organizers say they wanted.

The bake sale, run by the Berkeley College Republicans, was created in reaction to SB 185, a bill currently being considered by Gov. Jerry Brown, which would authorize California public universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national/geographic origin in the admissions process.

"The Berkeley College Republicans firmly believe measuring any admit's merit based on race is intrinsically racist," reads the description of the event on its Facebook page. "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 pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical, while urging students to think more critically about the implications of this policy."

The price of a baked good is $2 for white people, $1.50 if you're Asian, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for African-Americans and 25 cents for Native Americans, the original Facebook event read. Women of all races get a discount of 25 cents.

According to the original event page, the pricing structure was put in place "to ensure the fairest distribution, and make sure that there are a DIVERSE population of races of students getting BCR's delicious baked goods."

"Hope to see you all there! If you don't come, you're a racist!" the original event page read.

The page has since been taken down and replaced with less controversial text.

Shawn Lewis, the president of the Berkeley College Republicans, planned the bake sale.

"The pricing structure is there to bring attention, to cause people to get a little upset," Lewis told ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco. "But it's really there to cause people to think more critically about what this kind of policy would do in university admissions."

Lewis said several members who created the event on Facebook have been threatened or received nasty comments.

"It certainly is stirring emotions, and that's what we want," Lewis told KGO-TV. "But we certainly don't want people to think that we're making fun of racial issues or laughing at them because that's not the message of the bake sale."

But Campus Democrats president Anais LaVoie has asked for an apology.

"The way they made the statement, the words that they used, the fact that they humorized and mocked the struggles of people of color on this campus is very disgusting to me," LaVoie said.

One student looked at the situation more humorously.

"Being black, this whole event is even irritating for me because now everyone wants me to buy them cupcakes at a discount," Raymond Stone wrote on the Facebook event page.

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