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Leftists Fume at Second UCLA Affirmative Action Bake Sale By: Adam Foxman
Daily Bruin | Friday, May 23, 2003


YEE-SHING YANG/Daily Bruin
Neal Carter (left) and Andrew Jones of the Bruin Republicans sell Oreos and Twinkies in their second bake sale parodying affirmative action practices.

 
Several Bruin Republicans parodied affirmative action by selling Oreos, Twinkies and crackers for race-based prices on Bruin Walk on Wednesday, but they never meant it to end in chaos.

The "Affirmative Action Bake Sale, Reloaded," was a follow-up to a February sale put on by the same students, this time with emphasis on offensive stereotypes applied to minorities who oppose affirmative action.

Although the sale was obscured by a cement mixer for much of the morning, by early afternoon the table was surrounded by students – some of them approving, many of them angry.

The debate grew heated as Bruin Walk filled at lunchtime, and ended abruptly as an angry student grabbed boxes of Oreos and crackers, spilled them on the ground, and tore down the banner cursing what he called "white privilege."

"The debate turned into a debacle," said David Witzling, a third-year political science student who was at the sale.

The event was meant to be a parody that would incite discussion, but it was not meant to be offensive, said Jonathan Cayton, one of the Bruin Republicans who organized the sale.

But many people were offended.

Nashaua Neao, a third-year political science and African American studies student, found the affirmative action bake sale "blatantly offensive and ignorant" and said the comparison of people to Oreos and Twinkies perpetuates racism.

"I just think it's sad to know that they think of us as people who got in here just for our race," said Ana Fernandez, a third-year political science student.

"We got the same grades and the same SAT scores, and they think that because I'm Latina I got an easier break," Fernandez said.

However, some students appreciated the Bruin Republicans' attempt to catalyze debate.

"Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, these individuals should be applauded for debating these issues," said Paul Marian, a first-year history and political science student.

And some found it amusing.

"Frankly, I think it's cute," said Chris Bailey, a fourth-year political science student.

"The minute you can laugh at all these labels, it's all good," Bailey said.

Until most of the sale's organizers withdrew after the angry student's outburst, they thought it was going well.

"We had people who supported affirmative action and people who opposed it come up and engage us, but it was ruined by a person's choice to resort to vandalism to prove his point," Cayton said.

Cayton also said the Twinkies and Oreos were sold to expose the social stigmas that are often attached to minorities who oppose affirmative action. He said some minorities might not bring up the issue for fear of being labeled as a Twinkie, or an Oreo, both derogatory names for a non-white person who acts in a manner traditionally associated with whites.

The sale's organizers were furious at its violent interruption.

"It's unacceptable and ridiculous that people would almost get into a physical confrontation rather than an intellectual debate," said Jon English, a first-year political science student.

Many students also found the outburst inappropriate. Organizers were angry with the crowd for not condemning the man's violent behavior, but many saw it as the inevitable outcome of what they saw as the sale's inflammatory nature.

Neao saw the disruption of the sale as the natural effect of taking an offensive approach to a social issue.

"It just proves that you shouldn't have heated debates with offensive signs. ... The minute you start doing ignorant things, something like this happens," he said.

Many other students felt that the debate was important, but that the affirmative action bake sale was an inappropriate way to approach it.

"We want to (debate) this in a formal setting where we can be diplomatic about it," said Kristie Hernandez, a third-year comparative literature student.




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