That some rabble-rousing young Republicans from America’s liberal hotbed have corrupted the treat du jour for their bitter bon mot on affirmative action might be in poor taste. My guess is the creators of this drama are licking their chops over the attention this baiting bake sale has brought.
University of California and California State University schools.
After the bill was largely supported by UC Berkeley students, the campus’ young Republicans wanted their turn. Hence, the cost-adjusted cupcake sale being labeled as racist by many.
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The cupcakes were priced by race, with whites being charged $2; Asians, $1.50; Latinos, $1; blacks, 75 cents; Native Americans, 25 cents; and a 25-cent discount for all women.
Organizers haven’t articulated the point in the pricing other than to say it’s a sarcastic protest to what they believe is a damaging bill. Yet much of the sale’s criticism is over the struggle of the highlighted races being reduced to a few arbitrary discounts for a history of discrimination.
I’m not convinced this bake sale is racist. It’s culturally insensitive for sure, but we can find insensitivity in anything.
On some level, it reinforces the point of the bill — the continued need to level the playing field and ease the white man’s burden, a concept that will never completely fade away until racial discrimination, overt or subtle, is a thing of the past. In reality, that day will never come. A human being’s capacity for division is limitless given the way cultures cling to each other for identity, and shun those who are different to a degree. The racism argument against the bake sale seems more difficult to make than the argument that it helps the bill’s fundamental cause. By taking the most simple of treats, and applying a simplistic fee scale, the young Republicans have inadvertently given the issue heft, a tangible example of who has suffered more.
We could argue all day over who has had it worse, which race has borne more indignity, but this clear method of presenting the issue gives the public something to hold on to.
White people, pay your $2. We have been at the top of the food chain from the dawn of this nation through practices aimed at eradicating those in the way who were different. When eradication wasn’t the agenda, wasn’t the Christian thing to do, the alternative was to hold down by force to a subservient level, to be slave labor, to live in neighborhoods, go to schools and get opportunities of a lesser quality. Our forebearers took the cream, and left the dregs for everyone else. Sometimes this was intentional, systematic through policy. Sometimes it was all that was known, an unfortunate byproduct of a caste system that still exists.
Go down the price list, and while the value of the discount can be debated, it’s a hard truth we can deal with. Manifest Destiny — God’s preordained path for the white race — saw the Native American way of live erased to the point of novelty, and that extended to the Chinese exploited to build the West’s railroads. The East and South were already utilizing black slave labor, and when it was over we kept the slave mentality alive and thriving through decree. Slavery went underground out West with Latinos, a more subtle form that still exists on farms, in fields, on the killing floor of meat-packing plants, in the back of the house of four-star restaurants. And through it all, women have consistently been there to take a backseat; to question in silence, serve in abundance and live with less.
This is more than a bake sale, this is history in a manageable amuse bouche, iced with examples of man’s indignity to man and sprinkled with a lifetime of guilt. There’s nothing sweet about these treats, but they make a delicious point.