This post originally appeared on The Leadership Institute's CampusReform.org and was written by Brittney Morrett.
Is it ever ok to discriminate based on race or gender?
The hosts of the Affirmative Action Bake Sale said no. But some members of The George Washington University (GWU) multicultural community said yes.
On Monday, March 28, the GWU chapter of the Young America's Foundation (GWYAF) and the GW College Republicans (GWCRS) hosted an affirmative action bake sale. The satirical event took place in the Mid-Campus Quad from 11am-3pm and University Police were present. Baked goods were sold and the group raised $47.00 for the troops at the event.
A price list posted charged different amounts based on the race of the patron. The point was to show how offensive it is to base anything, like admissions, on race. The prices were as follows:
Asians - $1.25 (Asians being the most negatively affected by affirmative action), Whites - $1.00, Latinos - $.75, Blacks and Women - $.50, and Native Americans - $.25.
However, all baked goods were sold at the "Human Special" of $1.00 regardless of race, gender, background, or belief. Some of the homemade signs held by the students said, "Affirmative Action is Racist" and "Racism is Always Wrong."
The most interesting part of the event was not the actual bake sale. It was who attended and what they said.
At 12:00pm the GW NAACP and the Black Student Union (BSU) staged a protest. An e-mail organizing the protest that circulated through several listservs on behalf of the GW NAACP and BSU said the following,
"We will be meeting Monday, March 28th @ 11:45am at the Multicultural Student Services Center (2127 G St). We ask that everyone participating wear black business causal [sic] attire."
The majority of protestors did wear black and carried various signs. Some of the protestors also used the "raised fist" which is a salute used by left-wing activists such as socialists, communists, and black nationalists.
There were also GWU employees in attendance on behalf of the protest. One, Karyn Pomerantz, is a research scientist at the School of Public Health and Health Services. She is the faculty advisor for the Black Public Health Student Network (BPHSN). At the event she handed out flyers for the Progressive Labor Party (PLP). The PLP's full title is the Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party. She is shown holding a sign that says "BPHSN Supports Equality! Don't buy racist cake." A copy of the flyer she handed out is below.
The official blog of BPHSN wrote a story decrying the bake sale. In a comment on the blog Pomerantz calls on President Knapp to ban organizations such as YAF from campus for "building racism."
Tim Miller, the Director of the Student Activities Center, was in attendance observing the majority of the event but refused to comment. Also in attendance was Michael Tapscott, Director of the Multicultural Student Services Center (MSSC); George Rice, Associte Director of the MSSC; and Harbinder Sohi, Senior Secretary.
Ms. Sohi did confront the students hosting the bake sale, but the rest of the MSSC staff stayed on the sidelines. A sign carried by the counter-protestors stated, "GW Multicultural Student Organizations." When Tapscott was asked if that meant that all of the GW Multicultural Student Organizations supported the counter-protest, he said he didn't know and declined to comment further.
The majority of the event was civil, although some protestors did accuse the students supporting and hosting the event of being racist. At the conclusion of the event, there were several baked goods left over. GWYAF and GWCRs offered them for free to anyone in the vicinity. The student leader of the GW NAACP told the protestors that they had better not take them.
Despite some hostility directed toward GWYAF and GWCRs at the event, there is talk of the GW NAACP and BSU working with GWYAF and GWCRs to host a joint event that addresses the issue.
Click here to see video from the event.
Do you want to have an Affirmative Action Bake Sale on your campus? Contact your Regional Field Coordinatorfor assistance and advice.