Overheard on CNN.com: Saying 'racism' with cookies
UC Berkeley Campus Republicans are pricing pastries by a customer's race to make a point about affirmative action.
September 26th, 2011
01:09 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Saying 'racism' with cookies

Comments of the Day:

"Would town hall meetings get national coverage? Mission accomplished."–Skaught

"I tend toward the liberal side but this Republican student group is right on this one, and they have found a clever way to make their point. Kudos to them and their right to political discourse."–Luisarana

Pay-by-race bake sale at UC Berkeley still on, student Republican group says

Controversy erupts over Campus Republicans bake sale plans

Want to buy a cookie from the UC Berkeley Campus Republicans? If you're a white guy, you'll pay more. The group is planning the Tuesday bake sale as a protest against affirmative action legislation proposed for California universities. "We agree that the event is inherently racist, but that is the point," BCR President Shawn Lewis wrote in response to upheaval over the bake sale. "It is no more racist than giving an individual an advantage in college admissions based solely on their race (or) gender."

Some CNN.com readers thought it was a brilliant ploy, and others said it could be turned to the opposition's advantage.cul8rv8 said, "Seems to me they are getting the message out there, and people are disgusted with the idea they can have prices based on race. It's just as awful that colleges look at a person's race as a deciding factor for college admission. You can't disagree with this bake sale without disagreeing with what they are protesting against."

Cobbscout said, "I'd get one Native American woman to buy all of the cookies for free ($.25 for Native American – $.25 for being a woman = $.00 or free), thus shutting down these jerks. Then set up my own table and resell all the cookies for $1.00 each to anyone who wanted to buy them. That's American enterprise at its best."

Many CNN.com readers said that they supported affirmative action based on economic, not racial, diversity. ranger978275 said, "I'm all for helping the poor pay for school, but not on the basis of race. If you're a minority and you get help, a white person with the same financial background better get the same help too."

minervinator said, "Why should race have anything to do with admissions? I know blacks and Mexicans who were born and raised in suburban neighborhoods. I know white kids from Africa. What's more diverse: A white kid and a black kid from the same neighborhood with the same family structure and interests; or a rich white kid and a white kid from the projects who have different backgrounds, family life, and hobbies? If you think that Berkeley is promoting a positive message, congratulations, you're a racist."

But other readers said the odds were still stacked against minorities.

justingb said, "The campus Republicans left out how legacies (which we can agree are mostly white) are a HUGE consideration during the admissions process ... especially if you have deep pockets. bookldy209 said, "On the flip side, (the pricing) is a realistic comparison of relative income post-graduation."

Guest said, "Let's just pick one point in time because there's hundreds of years of advantage here: It's 1940. I'm a white male and I can go to college because I am a white male and I am the only type of person that can attend a major university. I do not have to compete with blacks, Latinos or women; they simply are not allowed to attend. My parents were allowed to go to college. They filled me with knowledge and confidence since I was born. Successful people had the same skin color as me. They were allowed to own businesses and buy land. I also could own a business or buy land or I could easily get a job with one of these white males. When my parents died they left me an inheritance from the wealth they were allowed to accumulate. I then was able to gather more wealth and my kids inherited knowledge, wealth, and social wealth from me. I wonder how my black counterpart has done? He and his parents weren't allowed to work, build wealth or get educated."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Conservative_Liberal

    Only in California.....why don't they try this in the South and try to make a point and see how far it goes ? Seriously ? This has got to be a joke. Most of those students at UCBerkley protest and complain about most things that would not be issues elsewhere. I actuallly find this more disturbing because of how they are going about it to achieve their goal. Why use something like this as a platform to show that they don't agree with the idea of affirmative action ? What they should be angry at is the fact that California is broke and that tuition is higher for everyone. After living in California I can say that people that live there have no sence of what racism is or how hard it is to do anything after you graduate. Honestly, most of those students who are even participating in this are white, have money and will have no issue gaining or maintaining employment once they graduate. I moved to California from a southern state and I am an African American. I HAVE a Bachelors Degree from a well known university and couldnt find a job. So how exactly is Affirmative Action working in California ? I am BLACK and still couldn't get a job, why ? Because they wouldn't even consider me unless I WAS white. So in theory, the cookies for white students must cost more, because they will be able to afford them after graduation.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jj

    this is the real jj! holy crap i disappear for a day and...good lord

    September 27, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Getreal

    "...Native American $0.25" (But we only say that on paper. We don't really plan to honor any agreement with Native Americans)

    "...Whites $2.00, Asians $1.50" (Get real. Asians have to pay $3.00 or Whites will belly ache that opportunities are being lost for Americans–read White Americans).

    September 27, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • blackwhite

      Absolutely correct. Thanks for speaking the truth out!

      September 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DUH bomb


    September 27, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Ekom Mamik

      Well. You don't quite seem to understand how the past seems to affect the now and would eventually the future. Don't try as hard to make sense and drop the "bomb" with "contemporary" here.
      Each of us holds within us infinite possibilities. How many of us ever have the opportunity to exploit that. Reservations may not be the best solution to ensure the diversity that makes America, is represented in every spehre of it's existence – but how else would you suggest?
      So if your saying in 1940 there's this kid ,born to black parents that did not have equal rights as the whites, somehow, just somehow, like magic, that child would grow up with equal opportunites and experiences as the white kid of the white parents and somehow just get into one of the best colleges that costs more than what three generations of his family put together earned – Well, that's contemporary in thought. Don't fight what you haven't got, Spill the solutions if you have them.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • sdiego

      Ow c'mon...Why so much emotion and anger? Take it easy... You might explode...After all, you are the Bomb!

      September 28, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Getreal

    "...Native American $0.25" (But we only say that on paper. We don't really plan to honor any agreement with Native Americans)

    "...Whites $2.00, Asians $1.50" (Get real. Asians have to pay $3.00 or Whites will belly ache that opportunities are being lost for Americans–read White Americans).

    "Latinos $1.00" That's employee discount since the Whites will probably have them make the cookies.
    "Blacks $.075" Yeah but only after they wait in the back of the line and after everyone else get's their pick of the cookies.
    "$.025 off for All Women" Makes sense since women only get 1/4 of the share of cookie that a man gets.

    September 27, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. leigh fenster

    This is right on and congrats to the students who are drawing attention to it! We should be honoring the accomplishments of everyone rather than giving special privileges to anyone. College is a privilege not a right. We seem to forget that. We also seem to not understand that by giving handouts to some and not expecting them to work for the outcome, we are actually just perpetuating the problem. A strong work ethic and pride in work and self respect do not see color or gender and should be rewarded or NOT accordingly!

    September 27, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gary Figgins

    Affirmative action is the reason Obama is doing so bad, he was passed through the system because of affirmative action. I wish I lived near Berkely so I could donate and work on the back sale what a great idea.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Taner

    When will people grow up? It's sad that the year is 2011 and we're even discussing this. There should be no affirmative action of any kind. You either have what it takes or you don't. If anything wages should be topic, not race. Just because someone isn't college material doesn't mean they should have to live with barely better conditions then a hobo.

    September 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Just Saying

    I'm not white ( I would get my cookies for a buck) and yet I think this is a smart way to bring about attention to the issue. Unfortunetly it's going to make alot of people uncomfortable, and the way that people usually deal with being uncomfortable is to either ignore or do away with whatever is making them uncomfortable. I personally do not believe that you should get any type of special treatment either for the color of your skin or gender but on your capabilities as an individual. I would take someone giving me special treatment over someone more capable than me as an insult. such actions could also limit said individuals, after all why try (or try harder) if I know I'm going to get preferential treatment for something as simple as the amount of pigment in my skin. I see alot of people that would like for us as a country to get past racism and the such, but things like giving one race more simply because of the color of their skin or background does nothing but continue the racial divide in this country. Best way I see to end it is to stop bringing it up. Does this country have a long history of injustice because of race, gender or background? of course it does, but the beauty there, is that it's just that, HISTORY, something that has already passed. All we need to do is learn from it, but we seem to want to continue to bring it up and perpetute because we as a country can't seem to let it go. focus on the future by learning from the past but stop trying to re-live it.

    September 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darwin

      Amen brother! I'm not Latino ( I would get my cookies for 3 bucks ) and I completely agree.

      September 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darwin

      Amen brother! I'm not Latino ( I would get my cookies for 2 bucks ) and I completely agree.

      September 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judie Ann

      Doesn't matter if you are NOT white or female, they didn't say you had to prove your race/gender/ethnicity... they also stated if you said something they would have given you whatever price you wanted... You could have said you are a native american female and walked with some baked goods... FREE! But everyone is too busy getting angry instead of thinking...

      September 28, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. pdevlin

    To correctly make the point, the prices should have been more for Asian-Americans – say $2.50. They are the ones most harmed by the ridiculousness which is affirmative action.

    September 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • blackwhite

      you are right on it.

      September 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bigwilliestyles

    Remember when the NBA was in danger of becoming the BBA (Black Basketball Association), attendance and revenues fell, and bankruptcy loomed? The NBA turned to 'quotas', making sure every team had its 'quota' of white players (whether the possessed the 'merits' to play or not) and also made sure they were 'visible' (read: got playing time in the game). This was (and continues to be) a clear example of 'affirmative action' that benefited white people based on race, and there has never been any hue and cry to return to 'merit based' NBA spots. So I guess it is still ok for whites to benefit from 'preferences' to 'level' the 'playing field'; literally.

    September 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bigwilliestyles

    No 'Asians who made it off of their hard work' to point to in the NBA now is there'.

    September 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. california native

    This is just SMALL step in the process to completely eliminate whites from california. after all, isnt that what whites did to the indians and mexicans in california? forget about learning and evolving, the democrats, mexicans, blacks and indians want to perpetuate the racism that was thrust upon them. what they dont realize is that it just makes it worse for everyone.

    why are we still discussing this,


    September 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • crqu

      Do you think you can evolve into a person who doesn't make such extreme generalizations? I find your comment confusing. What exactly is "the SMALL step" which will lead to the elimination of whites in California? While I do not consider affirmative action the solution, I do not see how it has the impact you describe.

      October 20, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Judie Ann

    This has to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen... Why would anyone get angry? I would say I am Native American... Thus 25 cents, and I am a woman so 25 cents off... Free baked goods. No one said you had to prove your ethnicity! Everyone could have gotten a baked good for 25 cents... or free. 🙂

    September 28, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Judie Ann


      September 28, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
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