Today, I witnessed first-hand what misinformation and a stubborn attitude can do to positive change: kill it. GWU's Young America Foundation (YAF), and the College Republicans (CR), hosted an Affirmative Action Bake Sale on Kogan Plaza this afternoon. The trend is spreading nationwide. For at least the past two years, conservative organziations on college campuses from the University of Florida to Purdue University have hosted these "fundraisers" charging students of ethnic or racial minorities lower prices for baked goods, while white students pay full price. At today's bake sale, "Asians" were charged the highest, at $1.25 per baked good. There was also a "Human Price", apparently the sponsoring organizations' attempt to equalize the playing field, and symbolize what they were aiming to preach- "equal opportunity for all irregardless [sic] of race" as one student said. Strangely enough, the Human Price was the same as what white students had to pay, so their attempt to appease those in disagreement fell a few steps short of effective.
The 40+ degree weather chilled the fingertips of members from the NAACP, Black Student Union and Voice Gospel Choir; thier hands ached as they handed out fliers to passers-by, and the bake sale's sponsoring organizations, inviting them to a panel discussion on Affirmative Action this evening at the Multicultural Student Services Center. Sally Nuamah, BSU co-President, said their main objective was to engage in conversation through an "educational protest." When informed by Student Activities that CR and YAF could not be prevented from hosting the bake sale, and despite a last-minute reschedule from last week's bake sale, Sally and other black student organization officers gathered together to figure out how they would respond. "Their clear intention is to spread ignorance," Sally said. They decided to invite the CRs and YAF to the panel because "our main issue is that they are not giving a complete definition of Affirmative Action."
|(left to right) Arielle Ford, Freshman- member of BSU, ACE Magazine, and Voice Gospel Choir; Marcus Hendricks, Senior, member of Voice Gospel Choir; Tori Guy, Freshman, member of BSU; Dominique Bozeman, Second Vice-President NAACP|
The Young Americans and College Republicans engaged in lively debates with the protesting students, and insisted that affirmative action is racist. In a perfect world, the Magic School Bus would have appeared right
she came to the event to see what they had to say and learn more about Affirmative Action, but if anything, the bake sale itself created more division among students.
It was frustrating to have a discussion with folks who were unwilling to hear the rationale behind this policy they so vehemently despise. Michael Tapscott, director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, commended all the protesting students on their dedication to the cause, and despite some pleas to shut the event down completely, he reminded us that "one of the most important things you do in this period of your life, is argue for what you believe in." Arguments like "my Italian ancestors made their way in this country without affirmative ation, so why should a black kid who has worst test scores get into a university over a white kid who worked hard to get there?" were thrown out in raised voices, and were mostly met with blank stares. I'll be pleasantly surprised if any of the YAFs or CR show up to the panel discussion- all of them turned down the invitations extended this afternoon. Stay tuned.