Faith Paulsen's Blog

Faith Paulsen

Faith Paulsen
Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA
December 27
Writer. No relation to Henry Paulson or Gary Paulsen or Pat Paulsen.

Faith Paulsen's Links
JUNE 24, 2009 12:52PM

Affirmative Action Bake Sale

Rate: 2 Flag

Affirmative Action Bake Sale



If you missed the LIVE discussion, please go to RonP01's blog to read it.



 Please note:  This is a preview of my suggested topic for Our Open Dialogue Panel Discussion TONIGHT!   I hope you'll join us for the LIVE discussion, hosted on RonP01's BlogPlease see below for details. 



Recently on several college campuses, student political groups have been holding “affirmative-action bake sales.”  At these sales, cakes and goodies are sold, but the same cake has a different price depending on the customer’s race.


According to Wikipedia:

“An affirmative action bake sale is a campus protest event used by student groups to illustrate criticism of affirmative action policies, especially as they relate to college and graduate school admissions. According to one bake sale student leader, the goal of the technique is to "bring the issue of affirmative action down to everyday terms.  The bake sales offer to sell cookies at different prices depending on the customer's race and sex, imitating the racial and sexual preference practices of affirmative action. One idea of such bake sales is to demonstrate analogies between price discrimination and affirmative action. A typical pricing structure charges $1.00 for White and Asian males, $.75 for White and Asian females, $.50 for Latino, Black, and Native American males and $.25 for Latino, Black, and Native American females. The bake sales' hosts do not support this kind of preferential treatment; rather, they argue that this preferential pricing is analogous to the preferential treatment created by affirmative action policies.”


These bake sales have been initiated by University Conservative groups to demonstrate the unfairness they see in university affirmative-action policies.  They feel it shows the concept of “colorblindness.” 


“Colorblindness” is a term often used to mean that in university admissions, employment and other areas, the applicant’s race or cultural background is not a consideration.  People often quote MLK, saying applicants should be judged by the “content of their character.”

It sounds so simple, so fair on the face of it -- that the most qualified candidate gets the job or the college admission, no matter their color, religion, gender or background.  And many people – not just conservatives -- buy into this idea.


But college applications are not dollar bills.  They are not mass-produced, they don’t all look alike, and the value of each student as a member of a university community is not so easily quantifiable.  Dollar bills don’t have a point of view, they don't participate in classroom and campus discussions.


Nor is an education like a cupcake.  It is not simply a commodity.  You can’t (or at least you're not supposed to) auction it off to the highest bidder.  You don’t just buy it and eat it, it is a participatory process.

In a bake sale, dollar bills and cupcakes don’t interact.  They don’t learn from each other.


But in a university (or a business, or a board of directors, or a Congress, or a Supreme Court), the diversity of the community adds perspective to its culture and its decisions.  Applicants come from different high schools in different cities and internationally, rich and poor and in-between, male and female, some native English speakers, etc.  Once on the campus, the hope at least is that they will interact, learn from each other, see beyond their own narrow point of view.


In my contribution to the Open Dialogue, I referred to the person who lives near the railroad tracks and no longer hears the loud noise of the train racing by, right outside their window. 


Ideally, education is about learning to tune our ears more clearly, to the train in our own backyard, and to the sounds in other people's yards.  We need different perspectives to clearly see the limitation of our own point of view.


All of which brings me to my discussion question:


 Is it premature to talk about complete “colorblindness” (as the term is often used) in areas such as university admissions, government representation and employment? 
Please save your comments and join us TONIGHT on Open Salon to address this question, and other intriguing topics!
Up next in the Open Dialogue On Race: Part IX: Online Panel/Round-table Discussion
Wed. June 24, 9PM to 10PM  Eastern
On RonP01's Blog 
                                                                                                                                                RonP01, Parts I, III, & V      Faith Paulsen, Part II                                                                                                    David  LoveParts IV&VIII    Joy-Ann ReidPart VII                                                                                                                                                              Noahvose              AND               neilpaul, Part VI                                                                                                                                                       CATCH UP AND CATCH ON!!!                                                                                                                                         Ground rules for participating comments in the open dialogue on race:

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
"Please save your comments and join us TONIGHT on Open Salon to address this question, and other intriguing topics!"

Do you want to close comments? I had one.
Totally premature. No discussion required. One minority student getting a major University education can change a family, a neighborhood- one white kid who can't get into to one school can go to another and that is not at all unfair. Whats unfair is the concept that anyone can bootstrap as well as those born with silver spoons.
Zumalicious and Oahusurfer, if you have substantive comments that would add to our discussion, I hope you'll wait and post on RonP01's blog at that time.

It's appointment-blogging! ;-)

Will you be able to join us tonight?