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Controversial bake sale at UCLA prompts protest


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Posted:
October 25, 2013
3:40 pm
The UCLA chapter of Young Americans for Liberty hosted an "affirmative action bake sale" on campus today, which prompted a protest by members of the community.

The UCLA chapter of Young Americans for Liberty hosted an "affirmative action bake sale" on campus today, which prompted a protest by members of the community. Christopher Hoo/Daily Bruin senior staff


The original version of this article contained multiple errors and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.

UCLA’s Young Americans for Liberty hosted a controversial “affirmative action bake sale” on Bruin Walk today, sparking backlash from some members of the UCLA community.

The group held the event as a satirical representation of its stance that affirmative action, or the consideration of race in university admissions, is a form of reverse discrimination, said the group’s co-president Tyler Koteskey, a third-year history and political science student.

“Treating people differently based on the color of your skin is racist in all forms,” Koteskey said.

Dozens of cookies lined two tables on the side of Bruin Walk, along with pamphlets and copies of the U.S. Constitution. Steps away, about 40 students gathered in protest of the event, holding signs that read “Brown, Oppressed, Outraged” and “R.I.P. Diversity.”

The prices varied according to the customer’s race. Asian-American students had to pay $2.50, white students were charged $2, Latino students paid $1.50, black students paid $1 and Native American students paid 50 cents.

The prices were intended to mirror how a person would be affected by affirmative action policies in admissions practices, with minorities such as Native American and black students benefitting the most, Koteskey said.

Affirmative action policies would allow for the consideration of race, among other factors, as an admissions criteria at public universities.

While some students held signs in silent protest, others laid on the ground pretending to be dead to represent what they called the “death of diversity” at UCLA. They said affirmative action is necessary to increase the small numbers of students at UCLA who come from underrepresented racial backgrounds.

One protester, second-year Asian American studies student Jazz Kiang, said he understood the group’s intention to start a discussion about the issue, but he thought its stance was dangerous for campus climate.

“Affirmative action is the foundation for getting underrepresented students … into higher education,” Kiang said.

The bake sale was a response to a series of campus protests last week – supported in part by several offices of the Undergraduate Students Association Council – to advocate for affirmative action and against Proposition 209, which prohibits the consideration of race in admissions to public California colleges.

USAC President John Joanino said he thought it was important to continue discussing the issue with different student groups.

“At council (meetings) we talk about issues that do not always have a consensus, but they are important to discuss,” Joanino said. “We have to advocate for a diverse and equitable education system.”

Koteskey said that the group supports campus diversity, which he thinks can be achieved in other ways, such as considering an applicant’s socioeconomic background, increasing the number of charter schools in underrepresented communities or allocating more state funds to education instead of prisons.

“They need to understand our history, the institutional problems that create a lack of resources (for minority populations),” said fourth-year Latin American studies student Jen Lainez.

UCLA already considers factors like a student’s socioeconomic background and life experiences in its admissions process, but many of the protesters said that such holistic admissions policies are not enough.

The group sold about 20 cookies in the three hours they were open, Koteskey said.

Correction: One of the signs carried by individuals protesting the bake sale read “Brown, Oppressed, Outraged.” Affirmative action policies would allow for the consideration of race, among other factors, as an admissions criteria at public universities.

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  • bakedstale

    I hate white supremacists.

    • idiots rush to assumptions

      did you see how many of them were white? i saw latinos and asians more than whites manning the table. and, an indian guy was the spokesman.

    • wargames83

      If they were white supremacists, then why were the prices for asians the highest? That implies that they think that asians do the best academically.

  • Racism sucks

    So using race to get preferential treatment in college admission isn’t racist but using race to get preferential treatment in buying cupcakes is? Oh right, I forgot, laws aren’t racist if they benefit minorities. MLK would be spinning in his grave if he knew about all this.

    Also, the whole “underrepresented minorities” thing is bs. You either deserve to be admitted to UCLA or you don’t. Only things like your test scores, your GPA, your essay and your extracurriculars should serve as tools to qualify whether you deserve to be admitted or not. Your race should be irrelevant in the decision. You don’t deserve to be admitted (or helped to be admitted) simply because there is a low percentage of people of your race at the university. That in and of itself is racist.

    • Lenika Cruz

      Just to bring some kind of balance to this whole discussion–because the issue of affirmative action is incredibly complex, and reducing the whole concept to just RACIST or NOT RACIST is unfair and overly simplistic–I’d just like to offer the following.

      Affirmative action policies are intended as a corrective to decades–or centuries–of institutional inequalities that very tangibly affect what kinds of opportunities that certain minority groups have access to. This is not to say that an African American or Native American high school student CAN’T get the kind of grades expected of those who get into, say, a university like UCLA. It’s just that said institutional biases have been entrenched for so long and have had irreversible consequences for those groups, so that they STATISTICALLY are underrepresented at the university level. Also, just glance at statistics for the groups who typically suffer the highest rates of incarceration, poverty, alcoholism, domestic abuse, etc. It’s incredibly hard to argue that those numbers exist because of some kind of character flaw or laziness or lack of motivation on the part of an entire racial group. When framed in that way, affirmative action seems like less of a crazy solution.

      It’s hard to have a proper discussion about the merits and drawbacks of affirmative action without addressing the existence of some kind of privilege that some racial groups have enjoyed over others. It’s not JUST about race itself. FWIW, I am neither categorically for or against affirmative action, but understand and appreciate arguments from both sides.

      Also, without going into it too much, I think the metaphor of the affirmative action bake sale is flawed.

      Disclosure: DB/UCLA alumna here

      • Racism sucks

        “It’s just that said institutional biases have been entrenched for so long and have had irreversible consequences for those groups, so that they STATISTICALLY are underrepresented at the university level.”

        See, there’s your problem. By bringing up statistics into this, you take away individuality. You, whether consciously or not, lump people into categories and assume things about them based on their race. That is racism. There hasn’t been institutional racism in the US since the 60′s, it’s been half a century. If an applicant has a truly unique story to tell, and every single applicant does, then they have the essay portion to do so. It’s why the essay portion exists.

        I seriously don’t understand the use of the term “underrepresented” either. Who is to say how many people should be represented in universities? It’s not like UCLA, or any university for that matter, has some quota of people of a certain race that it needs to fill. It just so happens that the most qualified people happened to be those whose skin color is white or who are of Asian American descent. But both categories are extremely diverse and it’s unfair to lump them all together. There are thousands of miles and centuries of history and culture that differentiate an immigrant from Eastern Europe from someone of Irish descent whose family moved to the US in the 19th century. The ONLY similarity that they have is that their skin color is white. Saying that both are privy to “white privilege” is just as racist because you don’t know what challenges that person has faced or will face in life. Not every single white or Asian person comes from an upper middle-class family who has a two story house and lives in suburbia.

        • Lenika Cruz

          And many chief justices on the Supreme Court are inclined to agree with you!

          Who has been “privileged” in the U.S. has changed over the years, as you point out. Once, Italians and Irish and Jews weren’t considered “white,” but that changed. So yeah, race itself as a social construction is terrible and stupid (of course that doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist), and it changes from culture to culture.

          I’d just like to point out that because institutional racism was technically ended in the ’60s, many would argue that its legacy is still being felt today.

          • BS

            Correcting the “past wrong” does not even sound right to me. Since the U.S. used to discriminate AA, so we should discriminate white people now to balance it out.

            Great logic. I guess it is morally acceptable to behave unethically to someone if he does it first.

          • vetri

            All those rich or upper-middle class black students who got admits through affirmative action should be ashamed to enroll in university.

            On what conscience basis, he/she deserve special privilege when he/she is not from poor family?

            Just because Blacks couldn’t improve their average income, doesn’t mean we have to use skin color to boost admission rate for black people.

            We live in a year-2013 that nobody gets any special benefit from the people of same skin color. If someone gets/does, that is already named as racism.

            Black guy getting benefit from affirmative action will take care about himself or his beloved ones alone. He is no longer living with tribes to share the benefits with his kind.

            We should care about people individualistically, 300 million people belong to 300 million races or a single race.

            For god’s sake, use socio-economic factors in affirmative action.

          • Guest

            Socio-economic factors? We already did, and that is called holistic review and what the essay portion for. Those people just want more.

      • Guest

        But AA should not be used a process to overcompensate the “wrongs of the past,” so to speak. If we want to go back to the Civil Rights Movement, many prominent people, including MLK advocated for equality. He did not say, “People need to give African Americans a break because they’ve been discriminated.” The Civil Rights movement was about EQUALITY. Now, it is inherently unequal for AA to say that give certain groups a handicap simply because their ancestors of the past suffered something drastically far worse than they did. AA says now that Groups A, B, and C have had a tough time in the past; they need extra help now. So what does that say? That those groups aren’t capable on their own without systematic assistance to get into an elite university? Being a person of color, I am extremely offended at the thought that people underestimate my ability to compete with those of equal caliber simply because I am not white.

        Furthermore, sociological research has proven time and time again that AA actually only benefits African-Americans and Mexican-Americans of middle and upper class backgrounds. The problem here is not about race, because within a group of people, there is still a disparity of opportunity. AA should be eliminated. I agree with the OP’s statement that only GPA, test scores, and measures like that should be used. The Personal Statement is a part of the application so that individuality can be considered. If a student feels that his or her race has dramatically affected their life, then that’s what they should put in the personal statement. Checking a box that simply says you’re black or Mexican or Native American does not automatically mean that you are poor, disadvantaged, or unable. No one can stop an affluent student who is 1/16th Mexican American or African American from checking the box that says “Mexican American” or “African American” which is the only part of the application readers use to qualify race.

        If a program like AA should exist, which I personally believe shouldn’t, it’d be much more effected for it be a program that weighs the factor of economic background instead of race, because economic background is a quantifiable measure to determine whether a student has been denied opportunities to succeed or not. It is obvious that a poor student probably could not afford to do extracurricular activities or take SAT prep classes. It is not obvious that a black student could not afford to do these things either. And for those who cry for diversity: By taking more student from poor economic backgrounds, you will still increase (probably at a better rate) the proportion of underrepresented students at the university because a large majority of people who are poor or live in poverty are the races you claim to be underrepresented.

      • Leonardo Gimble

        “It’s just that said institutional
        biases have been entrenched for so long and have had irreversible
        consequences for those groups, so that they STATISTICALLY are
        underrepresented at the university level.”
        You say that institutional biases are the cause of the problem. Doesn’t affirmative action add institutional biases? Just because they are the different than the ones that were in place before doesn’t make it right.

    • just stop

      Not to mention – what if you are more than one race? You are forced to choose to identify as one race and you will be treated accordingly with that race. That does not work in a world where biracial people are becoming more and more common. and, the university breaks down race into blanket categories such as these and Arabs, for instance, are just grouped in as “other” along with whites. how is any of this not racist?? treat a person as a person — all people the same — regardless of color or sex.

      And, “Affirmative action policies provide that students from underrepresented backgrounds be given equal preference in college admissions practices.”

      The bias in the article is astonishing.

      • Racism sucks

        Agreed with the fact that the bias in the article is ridiculous, especially in that quote. Everyone is already given equal preference in college admissions. If anything, affirmative action makes it so that students from “underrepresented backgrounds” are NOT given equal preference in college admissions practices. But it’s like I said earlier, if a law unfairly helps minorities, it’s not considered racist.

    • Alvin L

      Umm, I don’t think you got that the bake sale was an anti- affirmative action protest.
      Also though I an neutral on the affirmative action idea the underrepresented minority is a real thing. Not because a group is unable to get the grades but because institutions have historically purposely kept out undesired groups. Now many in those groups don’t have the opportunity to do extracurricular activities or AP courses that help boost your likelihood of being excepted.

    • Nora

      Because your test scores, extracurriculars and GPA aren’t at all affected by your race/socio-economic background? That’s just naive. Hopefully you will educated your self a bit more on the implications of race in society. Being white and rich always get you preferential treatment.

    • http://www.loveyoulovememore.com MsNat

      Are you kidding me? Unequal distribution of funding is parallel to race. One example is the fact that in the United States educational institutions with a predominantly white student bodies receive $902 more to spend per student. It is very transparent that in the United States your economic status and your race determine the opportunities you have afforded to you. Minority students in racially segregated schools encounter less rigorous curriculum, Low expectations, less college opportunities, no AP classes, and lower college graduation rates. Wake up and educate yourself rather than pretending that racism doesn’t exist!

  • DY

    +1. I’m sick of people using their skin color as a crutch. I know plenty of Asian Americans who came from families with very limited resources, but worked extremely hard to overcome an unfairly higher academic standard that have been set for them, in order to earn their spot at top universities such as UCLA.

    Do you think that type of story gets told to masses? No, because those kids don’t even bother wasting them time telling that story, they understand the concept of hard work and results. You know why? BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT HANDED STUPID ADVANTAGES. Instead of wasting their time telling this story, they’ve already gone on to do bigger and better things by continuing to apply themselves.

    Here are some stories that the masses actually hear (from people who do not understand hard work): Asian kids are good at math. Asian kids are good at school. Latino and African Americans seem to be more likely involved in crimes. OH SO EVERYTHING IS BECAUSE THEY ARE BORN SMART. SO LUCKY THEY DON’T HAVE TO STUDY. Their conclusion: we need to provide additional help to Latino and Black Americans so that a higher % of them in the next generation will be educated, and thus lead lives with higher standards of living.

    I GET IT. That makes sense to give it a shot, but now, after so many years of doing AA to help these ethnic groups, let’s see the results:

    African American HH Income in 1967: $25,000

    African American HH Income in 2011: $32,000 (wow, $7,000 in 44 years!!! Guess what, given inflation, that number would have be $168,000 in 2011 to even break even with $25,000 in 1967)

    Latino American HH Income in 1967: $37,000

    Latino American HH Income in 2011: $38,000 (great job Affirmative Action)

    Look, I know that the increases in salary for other races aren’t that much greater, and part of it is because of the overall stagnant growth of income, but the point is, THIS AA CRAP IS NOT WORKING. If you want further data, look at the % of crimes that involve the different races, hasn’t changed much. All AA has done is make it even harder on the kids who were already working hard.

    “Let’s make it even harder for hard working people to succeed, and instead, give privileges to lazier people who ask for handicaps instead of trying to overcome the challenges in front of them.” Does that sound logical, America? Does that sound like a way to build up a next generation that will bring innovation and change to the world?

    Don’t answer that.

    • Peter

      Asians are the model minorities because they are the rich white mans b$^%&! Asians are passive and good at taking orders, thats why they excel in becoming institutionalized. Also you forget that UCLA is a public school, relying on federal aid. Your concept of puritanical work ethic is so problematic, and I wish you could just take a seat.

      • Max

        Man… I truly feel sorry for you.

      • Anon

        Your entire post is illogical, and I wish you could just take a seat.

    • Guest

      A big role of the Asian Americans being successful is due to their cultures. Asian families tend to put academics as their first priority while other minorities do not give enough attentions to academic.

      People need to remember that Asian Americans, just like other minorities, had limited resources before they rose up the ladder. In the mid 19th century, most of them were just railroad workers under inhumanity conditions. During WWII, we took everything away from Japan Americans and send them to “Relocation Camps.”

      Under this reasonable, AA is just a BS for universities to make a better “racial profile” and claim that they have diversity.

    • Guest
  • mxm123

    Why weren’t there free cookies for “legacy” students. Ya, like that never happens.

    • Tyrone Banks

      That would really only apply to elite private schools. UCLA is neither elite enough nor private so the whole legacy thing really doesn’t happen here.

  • affirmative action is demeanin

    As a minority, I would be ashamed if the reason I was accepted to this school was because of my race, particularly because it means someone else who may have worked harder (read: deserved it more) was denied entry.

  • Oliver

    Regardless this whole racist thing, I say the question is rather simple: Is it fair, to take race into admission consideration. What makes a race have advantage over another when all other factors are the same?

  • been there, done that

    The idea of a “affirmative action bake sale” has been done so many times now. Please, if you’re going to try and make such a stance from a point of privilege without even trying to get to know the institutional obstacles still facing minorities, at least be creative about it. This is not how beneficial discussion is fostered.