February 25, 2006


"PC" is for "Cookie"

Photo by Chuck Zovko

...Bake sales are traditionally used to help raise money for small organizations, usually ranging from volunteer fire companies to churches. In recent years, however, the politicization of almost everything has seen bake sales become another way to get a social message across.
...Similar to other politically-oriented bake sales across the nation, the Young Republicans at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania decided to hold an “affirmative action” bake sale to illustrate how preferential treatment based upon skin color and sex can be unfair and contradictory to equality. For example, white males are charged more for certain baked goods than black males; white females are charged more than Hispanic females. Not surprisingly, some students became offended.
...A rally of about 100 students ensued—including blacks, whites, and Hispanics—to protest the bake sale. One woman was irate because she was allowed to have cookies for free, as she was awarded a 25-cent credit. A plethora of protest signs were everywhere proclaiming messages such as “Respect Regardless of Race” and “Where is the Love?” A more violent one of “Justice Must Be Served” was also in the mix, as well as one that asked, “Can U Hear Me Now?” Apparently that one was carried by someone who was on their way to a remedial spelling workshop sponsored by Verizon.
...On Thursday, Kutztown University was the site of a “gender gap” bake sale, whereby men must pay more for food than women. Last year the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance of Texas State University held their own gender gap bake sale and charged men 24 cents more for every dollar on the cost of their baked goods to bring attention to the current wage gap between the sexes in the workplace. There were no reported protests at Texas State’s gender gap bake sale.
...Throughout this story—and other ones that are similar to it—we see a common factor: The people who are offended are angry because the groups that are holding the bake sales are bringing attention to the issue of affirmative action and the inequities that are found within its policies—ironically policies that supposedly promote equality. The bake sale organizers are framing the issue in a manner that is more readily understandable for the common person. The issue of affirmative action is no longer something that is discussed solely by political junkies, theorists, or policy wonks; it’s now been turned into something that can be understood by high school kids, soccer moms, and auto mechanics. Such a situation is no doubt very threatening to those who might benefit from its unfairness.
...In the end, though, this entire situation may have been a positive thing. We saw the free expression of two opposing viewpoints, and no reports of physical violence. Even though the accompanying video of the protest on The Morning Call Website shows students who demand an apology for having been offended (would they apologize if someone were offended by them?), Kutztown’s president, F. Javier Cevallos, explained to everyone that viewpoints can’t be silenced just because others are offended by those viewpoints.
...Such a situation doesn’t always occur at institutions of higher learning, but it did here. Perhaps universities that have fascist regimes at the helm—like DePaul, for instance—should be taking notes.


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