Affirmative Action Treats

I hadn’t heard of this before, but apparently the Young Republicans held a bake sale as a protest at SMU. They were selling treats at varying prices depending on your race and gender (as high as $1 for white males, as low as 25 cents for any black person). The sale was shut down after 45 minutes for creating a dangerous condition on campus with people yelling, etc. (the YR deny the danger, but I can certainly imagine it).

What do folks think of this? Is it just an in-your-face illustration of the unfairness of affirmative action, or is this an offensive oversimplification of the issues at hand?

Also, although there’s no right to free speech at SMU, should SMU shut it down or let it go on? What if SMU shut down a pro-AA rally because YR protesters were there and were getting unruly? Wouldn’t you expect campus security to just haul the YR protesters away? If the bake sale is a stupid oversimplification, wouldn’t it be better to let it go and show everyone how dumb the YR folks are?

Although I can think of some good arguments against the bake sale, the only one CNN printed was this (IMO) total non sequitur:

Huh? I can see being for a diverse community, but isn’t that all about race? In other words, you want diversity of race (among other things), right? If not, why select based on race instead of what you’re really trying to get diversity of (like political opinions)?

It’s an offensive oversimplification of the issues at hand?

just an in-your-face illustration of the unfairness of affirmative action?

Does it matter? I think you are right to focus on the university’s lack of concern for the equitable treatment of all of its students’ opinions. It happens all of the time, depending on which extreme of the political spectrum college administrations favour. Good thing some people combat that sort of horseshit independent of the ideology at stake.

This particular little bit of political theater has been circulating among young republican groups for a while.

I go with “offensive simplification”; I can’t quite figure out why though. Have to think about it more.

Not that they should have shut it down; ideally they’d put some armed guards out to predict them. Do colleges ever do that though?

I think the bake sale was silly. At the same time, they should be able to have it.

The problems occur when someone wants to beat up the Young Conservatives. I mean, we’re talking issues of race here. A few heated words there, a finger pointing there, and then we have a brawl going. Its a hot-button issue, and innocent protests that “We were just illustrating affirmative action by selling cookies, we didn’t know people would get upset” arguments have zero credibility with me. They knew that it would get people riled up, and possible hostile.

So, you have to

  1. Tell the Conservatives to stop their silly bake sale
  2. Get a security person out there to prevent any violence

But then you have to wonder – who has to provide the security?

My school, UH, setup “free speech zones”, and required organizations to sign up in advance for them with a description of the event. So organizations could say whatever they wanted too, as long as they were in specific places at a specific time. That was for safety. Its not an ideal solution, as the “free speech zones” are outside of normal traffic areas, but its sane, IMHO.

It depends on the university and what sort of political climate it has. For instance, San Francisco State has had to have all sorts of a security presence near anything remotely Israel/Palestine related for some time.

You could at least ensure that students would be forced to behave with minimal civility (ie no physical, material threats, for instance) when their beliefs are challenged. If that requires armed guards, things have already gone too far, but it’s important that any academic institution that promises its students freedom of expression* go as far as it takes (within reason) to protect them. Especially when it is an unpopular opinion that is at stake…

In this case, I am almost 100% that the university is full of shit when they say it was the students’ welfare was their primary motivation for shutting them down. Most times, they use that as an excuse to silence opinions they find unpalatable.

*as opposed to universities that explicitly have an ideological agenda to promote, such as some Christian schools or a Swarthmore or something like that.

Is there such a thing as a non-radical left wing university? Most people are left wing and idealistic at university age, before they develop perspective and better understanding of the world.

I’m not talking about the differences between democrat/republicans – the dominant political sentiments on univeristy campuses tend to be far more left wing than any mainstream political party.

Bob Jones?

Baylor?
Brigham Young?

Actually, there are plenty of smaller schools with heavily conservative populations; I believe William Bennet wrote a whole book about his favourite 50, although he no doubt omitted whether that was connected to how close they are to casinos.

My school’s population was slanted to the left, not much, but still present. That’s not a problem. What is a problem is when a school markets itself as a haven for independent thinking and then enforces ideological conformity from the administrational level. One thing is a professor throwing in a crack about George W; another thing entirely is being penalized for matters of opinion.

Free speech zones are an abomination. Seriously. www.thefire.org. The idea that a university, especially if it is a state university that is therefore bound explicitly by the first amendment, has limited the number of places where opinions may be freely expressed is ridiculous.

Now, of course, there are reasonable grounds for time, place, and manner restrictions on free speech. For instance, if security is a real concern (and I don’t mean the emotional security of campus zealots) I completely understand asking whatever controversial student activities to take place in a certain area so that safety can be ensured. But that requires a legitimate consensus between the students and the admins, not an executive decree wherein the university grants itself de facto power of approval over people’s opinions.

I tutor hot little coeds of ALL races! It’s just my bleedin’ heart nature. :)

Now, why don’t some lefty folks get together and do a bake sale based on what kind of vehicle you drive? Have an original VW bug? 25 cents! Old pickup truck? 45 cents! Stoopid ricer with spoiler and coffee can exhaust? $1.50 Small SUV? $5! Cadillac Escallade? $10 per cupcake!

I just feel slighted that I have to pay a dollar for a cookie.

I think the problem is with the fact that many students are still filled with testorone, rage and passionate (if naive) ideals. This stunt is like waving a red flag at a bull. It’s not the best way to get your opposition to think about what the priciples are.
I think it’s pretty funny though.

Pfah, you’re just old and cynical. The Revolution will come! Free cupcakes for everyone! :)

Those that approve of affirmative action always describe it is a complicated issue. There’s almost always an emotional response to any one who challenges the idea.

They were arguing that affirmative action was solely based on race. It’s not based on race. It’s based on bringing a diverse community to a certain organization

The inherent contradiction in the believers’ philosophy negates any rational approach to the issue. They have been taught to believe in fairness, equality, and non-discrimination but have been conditioned to favor an unfair, enequal, and discriminatory policy. Since this conflict cannot be resolved logically, the response is to claim the issue is too complex to be understood fully or represented in simplistic terms.

The bake sale is a perfect microcosm of Michigan’s enrollment policy. Minorities were allowed to ‘purchase’ admittance for a lower amount of points, or more acurately, were ‘subsidized’ bonus points for belonging to a minority group.

Because Affirmative Action is a structural measure, while they only focus on the individual aspects of it?

Aren’t we all individuals? Who cares what structures think?

Aparently we’re not individuals, we all ‘belong’ to a group. We’re either black or white, privlidged or oppressed, racist or more racist.

Aren’t we all individuals? Who cares what structures think?

“they only focus on the individual aspects of it” does not mean that there aren’t any individual aspects, believe it or not.