We have no problem with the Berkeley College Republicans' bake sale yesterday, or at least with the young GOPers' right to make an issue of anything they wish. (Yes, it is ironic that so-called lefties would seek to shut them down rather than grant them the freedom of speech liberals so take for granted).
In fact we're happy they brought it up. The idea was that cookies would cost $2 for whites, $1.50 for Asians, $1 for Latinos, 75 cents for African Americans and 25 cents for Native Americans. The sale was staged to protest legislation under consideration that would let UC schools consider ethnicity (but not weigh it favorably -- just consider it) in admissions.
Here the thing: Those young Republicans almost got it right. They just can't do math. Consider if the cookies were based how much each ethnicity eats:
If those cookies were really based on how much you, the taxpayer, spends on each UC student every year, about $13,540 (PDF; we'll reduce it $13.50 to scale it more toward bake-sale numbers), here's what each ethnicity would have to fork out for their cookies:
-Asians would pay $4.86.
-Whites would pay $3.86.
-Latinos would pay $3.15.
-African Americans would pay 51 cents.
-International students would pay $1.96.
-And Native Americans would pay 9 cents.
The point the young Repubs are making, we guess, is that it's not fair to pull in discount ghetto students based on their race when, basically, white kids are so much more worthy.
That assumes a lot, however: That white kids are always smarter, that minorities are always less deserving, that minorities don't pay as much for their education and, perhaps, that minority parents don't pay a fare share of the taxes that support these schools.
The point we're making, and it's one that minority activists in the UC system have pushed for a long time, is that for decades white kids have had the run of of the public universities in California. They took a big bite out of that cookie for a really excellent price while the rest got crumbs in terms of campus representation, even though we all paid for that cookie.
And what many minorities have argued is that the the UC system would be much more fair if campuses represented the taxpayers that support them.
The retort by some conservatives was that schools aren't friggin' Koombaya festivals and may the best kids win.
Well, now they are.
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They're Asian. And, as a UC rep told us today, Latinos this year will make up about 1 in 4 incoming UC students. Wow.
So now campus Republicans want to talk about how white folks have to pay more their cookies? Really. You mean, the kids raised by Latino nannies in suburban homes whose Prop. 13-protected property taxes are often a very small fraction of what the new wave of Asian and Latino homeowners pay? Now that all students pay a record $8,540 in tuition and fees and climbing? Really?
We're lucky there are any cookies left at all. So if we're going to fight over them, let's consider their true costs and the people who baked them in the first place.