For those who haven’t followed these events, it began when the campus student government chose to take an active roll in supporting a State bill: SB 185 that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during the admissions process. The Associated Students of the University of Californiay scheduled a phone bank in which they would call for support of the bill.
In objection to this stand taken by the student government, a stand which had not been debated, but was presented as representing the school, Berkeley College Republicans staged a simultaneous, and well advertised (using social media to the point that it gained national attention), bake sale in opposition.
What was the controversy? How did a bake sale combat a phone bank organized to gain support for a bill?
Baked goods were sold as follows:
White men $2
Asian men $1.50
Latino men $1
Black men .75
Native American men .25
All women– .25 off the above prices
“We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point,” President of the CR, Shawn Lewis, wrote in response to upheaval over the bake sale. “It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race [or] gender.”
(Side note: The 300 cupcakes sold out. Though there were some of the 200 cookies left. I don’t have a clever analogy for this–I just think cupcakes appear like a better value.)
Whether you agree with the approach taken by the bake sale organizers or not, I admire their initiative. At a campus with a history of liberal issue oriented demonstrations, the conservatives found a voice. Fear was defeated by conviction.
Lewis said, in an interview when asked if he chose the best path, that they could have set up a table opposite the phone bank with pamphlets and signs, and try to attract attention from anyone who might pass by. “This way we generated a conversation that went national. People who were not paying attention, suddenly had something to say.”
This story also adds to the talley of stories that demonstrate the power of the social media. How do you use your voice?
“We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.”—Bill Watterson