UC Berkeley bake sale highlights reverse discrimination



How much would you pay for a cookie?

College Republicans at the University of California Berkeley made national news this week after creating a bake sale designed to protest California Senate Bill 185, which states that a college or university may consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during the admissions process.

Republicans at UC Berkeley priced baked goods at $2 for white customers, $1.50 for Asians, $1 for Latinos, $0.75 for black customers and $0.25 for Native Americans.  In addition, all women got $0.25 off. The event was designed to protest reverse discrimination, which may result from the bill, as it gives priority to minorities.

Many have condemned the bake sale, including Robert Birgeneau, the school’s chancellor.  Shawn Lewis, president of the Berkeley College of Republicans, said he had received warnings that protestors would buy cupcakes, only to subsequently hurl them back at the College Republicans.

“We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point,” Lewis said.

I am a proponent of this bake sale. Though it may make some students uncomfortable, it brings about both political awareness and addresses a larger issue, one that has plagued many students in recent years.

As a junior in high school, I applied to be a part of the Governor’s Scholars Program.  For those of you who don’t know, GSP is a five-week-long summer program on three college campuses in Kentucky, where students take different classes and meet other seniors-to-be from around the state. Free in-state tuition to most Kentucky universities is given to all those who complete the program.

I went to Trinity High School in Louisville, and we had a very competitive application process. After making it past the first round of cuts, my application was ultimately rejected in the second and final round.

One student I knew who did make it past the second round was a minority. I had known this individual for many years and considered him my friend. We both grew up in the same area, attended the same grade school and finally went to the same high school.  I took higher classes than this individual throughout high school, however, and had better test scores.

We both had the same background and an equal opportunity to excel. Albeit, I was more advanced and more involved than him, but ultimately had my application rejected.  I believe this occured because I was white.  Had I been a minority, I may be getting free tuition here at UK.

I understand that many minorities grow up in worse economic situations than I did, and many times this type of preferential treatment is necessary to give them an equal chance. Nevertheless, in many instances, priority given to minorities just because they are minorities is simply unfair and unjustly punishes students who work hard their whole lives.

This issue of reverse discrimination must be addressed.