Affirmative Action Bake Sale

How did I miss this when it happened? The UCLA Bruin Republicans held a bake sale to demonstrate the hypocrisy of affirmative action.

Although applicable to the general practice of racial preferences, the particular target of the demonstration was admissions practices at many major universities around the country including the University of Michigan which is the subject of two upcoming Supreme Court cases.

Personally, I think the bake sale is a fabulous way to show the inconsistency of people's opinions about affirmative action and to highlight the untruths inherent in the way it is implemented in most cases. Apparently others do too as it has been duplicated at universities across the country, including Michigan.

You see, in 1978 the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of University of California Regents v. Bakke that, while racial quotas were fundamentally unconstitutional, race could be used as a factor to establish a "diverse student body." And therein lies the problem. The Bakke decision was so ambiguous that it pretty much gave the universities carte blanche to employ preferences in their admissions policies, racial and otherwise. But diversity isn't what they're after.

This is pointed out in the price structure for the UCLA bake sale:

  • Black, Hispanic and American Indian Females: 25 cents
  • Black, Hispanic and American Indian Males: 50 cents
  • White Females: $1.00
  • White Males and All Asian-Americans: $2.00

This was modeled after those very admissions policies and contains some blatant flaws. First, females of most races are given preferential treatment even though they comprise 51% of the population according to the 2000 US Census. Hardly what I would call a minority in need of extra representation.

The other most obvious flaw, and the one that truly shows the lie of the "diversity" argument put forth by the universities, is the unfair treatment of Asians. Asians of both sexes are lumped into the same category as the worst of all things one can be - white males - and given no preferential treatment at all, even though they make up only 4% of the population. Clearly they do qualify as a minority.

But they're not one of the anointed minorities. They tend not to moan about having to overcome their oppression even though, in many cases, it is not only worse than anything other groups have experienced but is also far less removed. Remember that many Japanese Americans were thrown into interment camps during World War II. They pretty much just keep quiet, work hard and put the rest of us to shame with their work ethic and the excellent results it produces.

But the same folks that support the universities' rights to treat people differently based on race protested the cookie sellers' right to do the same thing. As Walter Williams puts it, they were only "promoting diversity in cookie ownership."

These folks would also be screaming at the top of their collective lungs if the preference system were turned upside down. And they would be correct. If white males were given preference in admissions, it would be terribly wrong. Apparently, though, it's OK as long as the "right" groups benefit from it. Sorry, gang. If it's wrong for one group, it's wrong for all. And it flies in the face of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous dream that people would "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

In that same speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King encouraged his audience to "not wallow in the valley of despair." It seems to me that those who continually claim that they can't compete without preferences in admissions policies and elsewhere are not only wallowing in that valley, but they've pitched a tent and are content to stay there for the foreseeable future.