Sunday, February 16, 2003

Oops ....... lost a few more links during the last lockup - at least they weren't mission critical. I think I've more than made up for last week's lack of posting!!!

Here's an interesting piece for Highered Intelligence:

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Posted 08:59 by Michael Lopez
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: I was going to blog on this earlier when I heard about it on the radio (about two weeks ago), but I decided to wait until I could find a link. Well, here it is: The First Affirmative Action Bake Sale. It's not what you might think.
An affirmative action bake sale organized by the Bruin Republicans last week has provoked impassioned responses from a top California Democrat and political student groups on campus.

The sale, held on Bruin Walk on Feb. 3, offered cookies at different prices depending on the customer's race and gender. Black, Latina and American Indian females were charged 25 cents for cookies that cost males of minority descent 50 cents. White females were charged $1, and white males and all Asian Americans were charged $2.AThere's all sorts of things that you could say about this Bake Sale, and talk radio has covered all the expected bases. But there's one issue that I haven't heard addressed. I'm really curious to know what the reaction would have been if they had charged HIGHER prices for minorities and women. Do you suppose that such a thing might have even been allowed? Would it have violated University Policies regarding racial and cultural sensitivity? Certainly it would have drawn more ire and clouded the message - so what the Bruin Republicans were doing was understandable. But it was still an open sign proclaiming formal discrimination, and I find it fascinating that such a thing was not immediately quashed by the University. I mean, don't you think if they had reversed the pricing structure it would have been shut down?

Since I went to UCLA Law School I'm especially interested in the last quotes of the article:
Juan Carlos-Orellana, president of the Democratic Law Students Association, responded to the event with similar indignation, referring to the bake sale as an "insulting trivialization of the serious issue of race and gender equality."

Orellana sees the effort by the Bruin Republicans as detrimental to the discussion of affirmative action.

"By reducing the complexity of this issue into dollars and cents and cookies they are working to stop discourse," he said.Let's take a closer look at that. It's an "insulting trivialization of the serious issue of race and gender equality." OK, in the first place those are two issues. Law students should know better. In the second place, it wouldn't be a trivialization if the issues weren't serious. If it wasn't serious to begin with, it would already be trivial and more or less immune to trivialization. In the third place, I always like to add on all appropriate prepositional phrases when I'm speaking, so I'm going to ask "Insulting to whom?" Perhaps the bake sale is widely insulting, demeaning to almost every student on campus. Or perhaps Carlos-Orellana means that he finds it insulting. That could be it.

The great thing is that he can afford to be insulted.... he didn't get into UCLA because of affirmative action. He knows he belongs there so he doesn't carry any insecurities around with him. That, of course, is all secondary speculation. The real meat is in his final quote: "By reducing the complexity of this issue into dollars and cents and cookies they are working to stop discourse."

See, as soon as the conservatives on the issue start making public statements and having rallies, it becomes important to have a discourse. Let me tell you about when I was at UCLA, which wasn't that long ago (1998-2001). When I was at UCLA, students would march through buildings while class was in session chanting "What do we want? Affirmative Action! When do we want it? Now!" This was loud, disruptive, and boorish behavior. It was the opposite of discourse.

I also, in my capacity as Editor in Chief of the Law School newspaper, had to drag myself to one of those tedious affirmative action rallies. While I was there I was treated to a man of some Hispanic persuasion or another (contrary to popular belief, the fact that my last name is Lopez does not give me the ability to distinguish Americans of Honduran, Cuban, Mexican, Guatemalen, or Chilean descent) who had the following charming things to share with his cohort of activists:
"We're right! We're right and they're wrong! And remember, people on the other side are going to try to rationalize their position, they're going to try to rationalize and explain, but don't listen. Just remember that we're right, and they're wrong!"Mmmm, wouldn't want to harm the discourse, would we?

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