Thursday, September 29, 2011

Berkeley College Republicans Racist Bake Sale

Eva Rivera is a proud lesbian Chicana, daughter, sister and sex worker who can walk in 6 inch heels and twirl naked on a pole in front of total strangers but is still viciously afraid of moths. You can catch her more of her here
 
Sometimes I just don’t have words....


The Berkeley College Republican’s decided to hold a bake sale to protest the reinstatement of Affirmative Action on their campus. Apparently they didn't know that there are ways to argue both sides without using overt racism (difficult I know, but possible). Despite numerous attempts by marginalized students to call out the student group on their horrifically racist idea for a protest, the group decided it just had to be done. They weren't being racist, they were trying to make a point! And the best way to do this was to sell baked goods at varying prices dependent on race/ethnicity. 

White/Caucasian- $2.00
Asian/Asian American- $1.50
Latino/Hispanic- $1.00 
Black/African American- $.75
Native American- $.25

$.25 off for all women

I’m not even going to comment on Affirmative Action or the school’s demographics. I think it’s beside the point. The problem here is how these students decided to use racism and appropriation to further a cause. They decided to put values and prices on bodies based on race/ethnicity/gender. Some of them even wore mock headdresses to appear Native American. Yes, I get that they are attempting to mirror what effects they see affirmative action having on the campus. But by doing this, they are targeting students of color, erasing students who call them out on it, and completely bypassing the conversation and putting Whiteness once again in the spotlight. This conversation went from how do all students feel about the effects of  affirmative action on campus- specifically those who it directly affects--to How Do White Folks Feel About It? 
The tactic of using this bake sale didn't actually further any meaningful conversation. If anything it highlighted the racist overtones of the student group who organized it. It also drew attention away from the issue at hand and back onto white students by making them appear daring and controversial. In the pictures you can see how proud they are of themselves for “taking a stand”. Or rather for shoving others out of the way to get a spotlight they don’t deserve. 

This bake sale represents so much more than simply the discrimination of pricing baked goods according to race. If the young republicans actually took time to think critically about their actions they would see that they are presenting to the world the exact attitude whiteness has towards POC. The script can be flipped too easily for their “point” to be heard. It appeared to me not that they were charging white people more for a baked good, but that White was worth more and POC, especially women, were worth less. They created an event that set up a false dynamic, placing blame on students of color for their own marginalization and then showcasing that dynamic without any consideration for historical context.To cover and deny the racism so blatant in this action they ended the invitation to join the event with these words:

“If you don’t come, you’re a racist!”