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Half Baked

Heather Mac Donald: Half Baked.

Tuesday’s now infamous affirmative-action bake sale at the University of California at Berkeley is unlikely to dissuade Governor Jerry Brown from signing a bill that would reintroduce race and gender preferences into the state’s public universities. It has nevertheless served one useful function: it has clarified just what Berkeley’s vice chancellor for equity and diversity does for his whopping $194,000 annual salary.

Berkeley’s College Republicans wanted their “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” to serve as a counterweight to a phone bank erected on the campus’s main thoroughfare, where students could call Brown and urge him to sign the preference-reinstating legislation, Senate Bill 185. Like other anti-affirmative-action bake sales on college campuses over the last decade, the College Republicans’ sale priced items according to the race and gender of the customer: whites paid $2 for a pastry, with Latinos paying $1 and blacks 75 cents, while women got a 25-cent discount on all items.

And like all such previous bake sales, it triggered a storm of ludicrously clueless outrage. Student Devonte Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle that the sale was inappropriate and hurtful, “attacking underrepresented communities by reducing their communities to a cheaply priced good.” The president of Berkeley’s student government, which sponsored the pro-SB 185 phone bank, explained to CNN that the bake sale “humorized and mocked the struggles of people of color on this campus.” Another student government officer professed dismay at such a shocking insult to students of color. “We were really taken aback and, frankly, disgusted,” Joey Freeman informed the Los Angeles Times. Capping off this outpouring of what one can only hope is willful misreading, the student senate passed an emergency resolution on Sunday condemning “the use of discrimination whether it is in satire or in seriousness by any student group.”

More at City Journal.

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