the profseitz blog

getting students to engage the news…

Diversity Bake Sale at Berkeley

“We expected people to be upset,” the group’s president, Shawn Lewis, 20, a third-year political science major, said Monday in a telephone interview. “Treating people differently based on the color of their skin is wrong, and we wanted people to be upset about that.”

‘Diversity Bake Sale’ at Berkeley Is Priced by Race and Sex – NYTimes.com. bake sale

What do you think about this Bake Sale? Granted it is protected political speech, that’s not the question, but how do you interpret the actions of this student group?

What do you think about Affirmative Action programs? First, tell me how YOU understand such programs to work? Let’s make sure before we support or oppose something that we actually know what we are talking about! Then tell me how you feel about such programs. Think about two separate questions: Is there a need for preferential treatment of some groups? Are Affirmative Action programs the right way to go about addressing this problem?

Do we think about RACIAL affirmative action programs differently than other preferential treatment? To give you some insight here, read this passage from Al Franken, in his book “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot!” Remember Al Franken was a satirical writer back then. It is important to read this passage with an understanding of satire and irony.

I’d like to speak to an affirmative action program which, as a Harvard graduate, I do like. And that is affirmative action for the children of Ivy League grads. Here’s how it works. All applicants to Harvard, say, have to meet certain minimum requirements: SAT scores, G.P.A….The applicants who meet those requirements are thrown into a pool from which the next year’s freshman class is chosen. At this point, they start looking at special abilities. Does the orchestra need an oboe? Does the Sanskrit department need a kid who is actually willing to study Sanskrit? Is there a point guard with 1200 on his SAT’s who’s not good enough to be recruited by Duke or Georgetown?

And: Is the kid a legacy? That is, the child of an alumnus? If so, the kid is in. There are all kids of good reasons for this. Well, one really. Fund-raising. But as it stands, it’s an affirmative action program for one of the most privileged groups in the country: the sons and daughters of people like me.

Now we’re told that one of the “poisonous and pernicious” “unintended consequences” of affirmative action is that it taints the real accomplishments of qualified blacks who have earned their place at the table. I’m sure that’s true. But I think that’s just further evidence of the racism in our culture. All the time I was at Harvard, I never heard a Lowell or a Cabot remark, “I dare say, I despise this godawful legacy policy. It makes me so suspect in the eyes of my classmates.”

(1996, p. 91-92)

Advertisements

Information

This entry was posted on September 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized.
%d bloggers like this: