Tag Archives: bake sale

The Cupcake War as a Religious Event

Berkeley bakesale.jpgBy now the “Cupcake War” in which the Berkeley College Republicans sold cupcakes with different prices for various ethnic/racial/gender groups is well known. Drawing less attention is why it produced the panicky overkill reaction, including strong condemnations from some university administrators. After all, the anti-affirmative action bake sale hardly threatens the diversity infrastructure and is a far cry from past disruptive student protests. An impartial outsider might reasonably argue that the affirmative action cause would be better served by ignoring the bake sale to deprive college Republicans of any free publicity.

Let me suggest that the true purpose of the outrage is not to stamp out opposition to racial preferences. Rather, the overreaction is best understood as a reaffirmation of a faith that is slowly (but inevitably) going wobbly. And, I suspect, this includes most Berkeley students. If beliefs about the value of legally imposed racial preferences were rock solid, the over-the-top indignation would be unnecessary.

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The Wild, Ethically Dubious Allegations at Wesleyan

I first encountered Wesleyan professor Claire Potter at the tail end of the Duke lacrosse case. The self-described “tenured radical” published a post claiming that “the dancers” at the lacrosse team’s party “were, it is clear, physically . . . assaulted.” She produced no evidence for the assertion (perhaps because no evidence existed); indeed, even rogue district attorney Mike Nifong had never claimed that the second dancer, Kim Roberts, had been assaulted.

Potter further asserted that “many players who were not involved in this incident, and who did not do anything wrong, still refused to speak about what had happened.” In fact, nearly two dozen lacrosse players voluntarily spoke to investigators from the North Carolina attorney general’s office, and all of the players offered to do so.

A few days after Potter leveled these and other untrue allegations, the North Carolina attorney general released a report exonerating the lacrosse players, affirming that no evidence existed that any type of assault against false accuser Crystal Mangum, and laying out the remarkable degree of cooperation from lacrosse players and their attorneys with the investigation. In response, Potter not only refused to retract her false statements; she lashed out with more bizarre allegations (this time against me). Many months later, perhaps recognizing her potential legal vulnerability, Potter without explanation deleted her Duke post.

This tendency to make wild, ethically dubious allegations against college students she perceives as politically unappealing reappeared in the recent controversy over a student-run affirmative action “bake sale” at Wesleyan. (John Rosenberg profiled the affair here.) According to the Corner’s Mytheos Holt, Potter inserted herself into the controversy by e-mailing one of the student organizers.

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“Bake Sales” Still Cooking On Campus

affirm.pngWhen the history of the decline and fall of the regime of racial preference is written, recognition will of course be given to the power of the moral, philosophical, historical, legal, and political arguments arrayed against the repugnant notion that benefits and burdens should be distributed on the basis of race. But it seems to me that a prominent place in the story must also be reserved for the devastating, pomposity-puncturing impact of wickedly effective satire in the form of “anti-affirmative action bake sales” that spontaneously erupted on campuses around the country.

For some reason liberals — a shorthand here for university administrators, students, faculty, and their supporters in the mainstream media and Democratic Party — who defend as a matter of principle lowering standards for approved minorities in hiring, college admissions, etc., become sputteringly apoplectic when students, parroting and parodying affirmative action, stage satirical mock sales of cakes and cookies with higher prices for Asians and whites and lower prices for blacks and Hispanics and, sometimes, women. Requiring Asians, for example, to score 200 points higher than other minorities on the SAT strikes liberals as entirely fair and just, but a mock sale ostensibly requiring them to pay fifty cents more for a cupcake is somehow offensively discriminatory. Adding irony to insult, they don’t even seem to recognize that by calling the differential pricing discriminatory they are simply confirming the point of the affirmative action protesters whose satire, as I argued on this site last April, “merely mimicked the actual practices of the admissions offices.”

There have been several dozen of these spontaneous, un-coordinated bake sales on campuses over the past several years, and the controversy at Bucknell is still raging. John Stossel of Fox News held his own bake sale to focus attention on Bucknell’s suppression of political speech, and has had several on air discussions of it. “This week,” he wrote two weeks ago,

I held a bake sale — a racist bake sale. I stood in midtown Manhattan shouting, “Cupcakes for sale.” My price list read:

Asians — $1.50

Whites — $1.00

Blacks/Latinos — 50 cents

People stared. One yelled, “What is funny to you about people who are less privileged?” A black woman said, angrily, “It’s very offensive, very demeaning!” One black man accused me of poisoning the cupcakes.

I understand why people got angry. What I did was hurtful to some. My bake sale mimicked what some conservative college students did at Bucknell University. The students wanted to satirize their school’s affirmative action policy, which makes it easier for blacks and Hispanics to get admitted…..

All the Bucknell students wanted was a campus discussion about that. Why not? A university is supposed to be a place for open discussion, but some topics are apparently off-limits.

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Bake Sale Argument in the Supreme Court

On Monday the Supreme Court heard arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case that pitted the right to free association against the principle of non-discrimination.
Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, part of the University of California system, has a policy stating that recognized student organizations “shall not discriminate unlawfully on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sex or sexual orientation.” Based on that policy, it refused to grant official recognition (and hence access to college facilities, student funds, student email lists, etc) to the Christian Legal Society because that organization limited voting membership and the right to be an officer to those who share its Christian views.
According to critics, such as Justice Scalia, Hastings’ policy is both “weird” and “crazy.”

It is so weird to require the campus Republican Club to admit Democrats — not just to membership, but to officership,” Scalia said. “To require this Christian society to allow atheists not just to join, but to conduct Bible classes, right? That’s crazy.

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