Apparently, Affirmative Action Bake Sales are a thing. The Young Conservatives of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin held a bake sale on campus last week, charging different prices for brownies based on the customer’s race.
A thing that people who do not understand Affirmative Action do. The point of these bake sales is to charge different races different prices, the more one group is marginalized the less they are charged a product of the same price. This is supposed to illustrate how Affirmative Action is unfair to White people. This literally makes no sense.
Affirmative Action exists to give marginalized groups opportunities that they have historically and traditionally been excluded from because, hello, my parents were alive when there was segregation because it was not that long ago. That does not mean that people in marginalized groups are given preference over White people or less marginalized groups. Quotas are unconstitutional. Quotas were an initial approach to Affirmative Action, quotas are the process by which a university or company will say we need to have “5 Black people on staff!” What’s unconstitutional about this is that if only 3 Black people were qualified 5 would still be receiving job positions that were better suited for other races, in that sense a quota would only be creating the same problem it was trying to solve: exclusion.
However Affirmative Action was deemed constitutional by The Supreme Court as long as it was only one factor of the admissions process and not the sole factor as a quota would imply.
The university’s Vice President, Gregory J. Vincent, said, “The choice of a tiered pricing structure creates the misperception that some students either do not belong at the university or do not deserve to have access to our institution — or worse, that they belong or deserve only to a certain degree.”
Today Affirmative Action exists as a factor when accepting students or employees. It’s a way of looking at someone in a historical and personal context. For example, I had relatively low SAT scores but I performed higher than most of my peers, I also come from a lower economic neighborhood, so (and this is going to sound crass) considering where I came from and the conditions in which I came from (poorly funded, public schools) I performed exceptionally well. However, I did not perform as well as White students, in wealthier neighborhoods who have the resources for test prep, private schooling, etc. ( I know not every White person has economic opportunities and every nonwhite person is poor but these kids are making it about race/gender/class, so I have to for the sake of this conversation). Therefore Affirmative Action often assesses how resourceful someone is given their circumstances and gauges whether, given more opportunities and more resources, they will excel in a more demanding environment.
However there are nonwhite students from wealthy backgrounds who perform exceptionally well and nonwhite students from poor backgrounds who perform exceptionally well (not just mediocre) and there race is still a factor in admissions because, and this is what these students forget, it was not too long ago that nonwhite people were excluded no matter how intelligent, skilled and qualified they were simply because they were not white. Thus we have the economic and opportunity disparity we see today along racial lines.
No matter how smart my mother was and she was pretty fucking smart, her career began and ended at secretary because she was a Black woman—she was not allowed to be successful, socially mobile or provide me with opportunities even though her actual abilities would have allowed her to.
Universities especially upper tier ones have long been criticized for a lack of diverse students, HuffPo reports,”As Time magazine notes, one of the reasons is because Advanced Placement courses are not offered in many poor and minority school districts, making it tougher for those students to get admitted to the best universities. At the same time, many flagship state universities facing dwindling funding are looking to enroll wealthy out-of-state students, crowding out space for poor and minority applicants.”
So when a bunch of knuckleheads insist that a Black girl who does mediocre on her SATs, but does well considering the resources around her, doesn’t deserve to go to an “elite university” because there were more wealthy White kids with better scores, I can just show them my nearly perfect GPA. No, I can show them that the point is to fully access someone’s ability to thrive given their background, history and class. My mediocrity took as much work as some wealthy kid’s utter excellence. I had nothing to work with and did OK. Some people have everything to work with and do amazing. That makes sense! It’s a good thing for colleges to notice that because this kind of thinking doesn’t only benefit people of color it benefits people who come from lower income families, LGBT people, people with disabilities, people with illnesses, people who have had things to overcome and that includes White people.
You want people looking at the whole you, at your whole identity, because no one is just a test score or a skin color or the amount of money their parents make.