Berkeley Bake Sale: Perspectives On Race Relations and Racial Discrimination Hitting New Lows

September 26, 2011
Written by Janice S. Ellis Ph.D. in
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Photo Credit: CNN

If we cannot count on the younger and future generations to invest in understanding the disparities that exist because of the past conditions, policies, and practices of the generations that came before them; what hope is there that we will ever eliminate racism, and discrimination?

The most recent incident among the many, is the announcement by Republican students at the University of California — Berkeley to host a bake sale where the price of the baked goods will be based upon the race of the consumer. The prices for the baked goods are as follows: $2 for white men, $1.50 for Asian men, $1 for Latino men, $0.75 for black men, $0.25 for Native American men, and $0.25 off for all women.

If fellow students find the bake sale scheduled for Tuesday, offensive, that is the intent. The Berkeley Republicans are protesting the impending signing of California Senate Bill 185, which says a college or university may consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin during the admissions process. However, the bill does not mandate such consideration or any preferential treatment. Such requirements would be unconstitutional in California.

The bake sale is another action to protest any legislation that requires, or has the appearance of requiring, affirmative action policies, and practices. The Berkeley Republicans are alleging that the legislation is racist, more specifically, reverse racism

But, the true intent of the bill is to improve the opportunities of minorities by giving them a chance to get an education, break the cycle of poverty, and improve their economic conditions. The prospect of this legislation will be beneficial in a multitude of ways, including enabling them to become productive, tax-paying citizens, among others.

It begs the question, why would anyone protest any attempt to level the playing field, to make up for the long-standing, systemic injustices, many of which, have been in place since America’s founding.

altWhat is more alarming is that the bake sale is just one of many incidents occurring around the nation that highlights the level of ignorance among many of our young people, and a primary reason that such a measure is needed in the first place.

Are they aware of the centuries of discriminatory policies and practices leveled against the very minorities they are protesting?

Are they not aware of the advantages that they, their parents, and many generations before them have had as a result of these polices, and practices?

Do they even understand the disparate educational, economic, and social conditions such discriminatory laws and traditions have wrought?

If nothing more, maybe the bake sale will encourage students to become educated about the real issues that confront us when it comes to racial equality and inclusion. And, then more importantly, began a sustained effort to educate and work together for meaningful change.

How can we expect future generations to lead and make the right decisions for this nation and the direction it needs to move toward when it comes to race relations if they do not have a clue as to where this nation has been?

With these kinds of actions coming from our young people, it is little wonder that we could be on the verge of repeating ourselves. Only this time, the reactions and resulting actions will very likely have a different outcome.

Can we honestly afford to perpetuate or repeat the destructive aspects of our history when it comes to race relations?


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Berkley's Bake sale

Submitted by UCCS-10F11-12 on

No we as a nation cannot perpetuate or repeat this destructive behavior.

According to,, the difference of white students to minority students in degree seeking students in 2009 was 28 percent. This percentage includes Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, & Nonresident aliens which indicates a larger gap between these figures. There are few minorities in my classes, especially women minorities.

I don’t know much about Berkley but I was always under the impression that they were an open-minded college. I find it very offensive that these students are placing a dollar amount on the bake sale for different ethnicities, and gender. The opportunities available to minorities are few and the field needs to be leveled. White privilege gives those of us who are white an unquestioned privilege to attend college without any questions asked. The process of financial aid is fairly easy for those who possess this privilege; there is also the acceptance of the other students and the instructors.

The young people who want to attend college but are unable due to their socioeconomic status or ethnicity takes away from the possible genius they may posses. These young students could find a cure for cancer or something equally amazing. Lets not take the opportunity away from them simply because they may not look like you.