Racist Cupcakes? Berkeley Erupts over Affirmative Action Satire
The U.C. Berkeley College Republicans struck a national nerve today by holding a bake sale with racially discriminatory pricing: Higher prices for white and Asian students, lower prices for black, Hispanic and female students. Why the intentional discrimination? To protest a pending new statewide law, SB 185, which attempts to re-introduce Affirmative Action into university admission standards, something that was banned years ago with California's Proposition 209, a popular constitutional amendment requiring race-neutral admissions.
The purposely inflammatory gag was very clever: the goal was to make everyone point out how racist the cupcake prices were, at which point the young Republicans reply, "Exactly! Racial discrimination is unfair. Thanks for making our point for us!"
But the leftists on campus and around the state instead flew into a blind rage: The joke was too effective, so Affirmative Action proponents simply pretended to "not get it." Accusations of racism flew back and forth and before anyone knew it we had a major FUBAR situation on our hands.
The Berkeley College Republicans set up their table on U.C. Berkeley's legendary Sproul Plaza, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and the place where all campus clubs host recruitment tables. By the time I showed up at 10am, there were already hundreds of protesters swarming around the table.
The cupcakes were very "diverse" in their coloration. Will the mockery never cease?
This 7-minute video montage contains several short interviews with various people at the protest, and really contains almost everything you need to know about the event. I alternate back and forth between College Republicans explaining their point, and counter-protesters trying to explain, uh, well, something or other. Almost all of these clips are "piggybacking" on interviews that other reporters did of the various people shown; whenever one camera would come out to record an interview, several additional cameras would usually appear out of nowhere to get a free ride. Some of the clips were taken by me, and some by others who sent their videos to me.
However you slice it -- it's video gold not to be missed!:
The Berkeley College Republicans were not all "white" as most people assumed; they included members of all races.
One of the young Republicans carried a sign with the discriminatory menu. Shocking!
Ward Connerly, the godfather of the anti-Affirmative Action movement, showed up took a seat at the bake sale table, where he was interviewed by various media outlets.
He calmly pointed out to all comers that the pending bill, SB 185, waiting to be signed or vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was patently unconstitutional, since California voters had already amended the state constitution with Proposition 209, which plainly says "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." He predicted that SB 185, even if signed, would be thrown out by the courts. The only way to undo Prop. 209 would be to re-amend the state constitution to allow discrimination (highly unlikely), or to have the United States Supreme Court declare the whole thing federally unconstitutional, something which they've never done, despite having several opportunities to. So it looks like non-discrimination is here to stay, to the great dismay of the Affirmative Action advocates.
Several different counter-protest groups showed up. By Any Means Necessary, the leading radical Affirmative Action advocacy group, had a major presence. "BAMN," as they are commonly known, take their name from a famous Malcolm X speech.
Someone brought some "Get the fuck/GOP out!" shirts and invited people to personalize them with their own messages; someone upgraded one of the shirts with "Fuck White Supremacy," and laid it on the ground in front of the bake sale.