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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Students Protest Racially-Priced Bake Sale at UC Berkeley [Update]

Berkeley College Republicans have baked up a bit of controversy over their unique anti-Affirmative Action protest.

[UPDATE | Sept. 27, 2:48 p.m. PDT: UC Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) hosted an "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" on Tuesday with prices based on race and gender, protesting a proposed senate bill that favors Affirmative Action.

Bake sale prices at UC Berkeley - Photo courtesy of Arthur Hovanesian
Bake sale prices at UC Berkeley - Photo courtesy of Arthur Hovanesian

If Senate Bill 185 is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, UCs and CSUs would be able to "consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors" for undergraduate and graduate admissions.

The group says that granting students college admission founded on ethnic characteristics is just as racist as pricing pastries based on skin color.

"If preferences based on skin color are ok for college admissions, they should be ok for other aspects of life," BCR President Shawn Lewis said in a statement.

The bake sale's Facebook page says the goods will be sold at the following prices:

    *     White/Caucasian, $2.00;
    *     Asian/Asian American, $1.50;
    *     Latino/Hispanic, $1.00;

    *     Black, $0.75;
    *     Native American, $0.50;
    *     $0.25 Off for all Women.

BCR distributed the desserts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., across the way from the Affirmative Action Phone Bank, where students called Brown's office in support of SB 185.

The controversial sale evoked a pungent backlash.

"BCR, you made a big mistake doing what you did. I hope you're ready to hear the masses because what you saw on facebook is nothing compared to how we can mobilize," Stefan Montouth, an African-American senator for the Associated Students of the University of California, wrote on the group's Facebook page.

Others threatened to "stop by the table only to knock it over" or "buy a cupcake just to throw it at [us]," according to Lewis.

On the organization's website, Lewis has refuted comments that claim protest participants are 'Ignorant rich white kids' or 'WASPy Conservatives'.  He reassured that College Republicans is an ethnically diverse group that has the right to peacefully express their opinions.

"It is my hope that any student or student organization should feel comfortable and safe in voicing their views on a current issue, especially when that view is in the minority," said Lewis.


Exercising their freedom, that's what they are doing. But, does everyone care about what they are fighting for? California's SB 185 is a bill that might permit California public universities to consider non-academic variables in admissions. Though the law is intended to boost diversity in education, some are worried it will also increase discrimination. Resource for this article: California political debate spawns racist bake sale

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