An open letter to the UC Berkley College Republicans and their misuse of the concept of racism

Written by Jennifer; Originally published at Mixed Race America

An Open Letter to the UC Berkley College Republicans,

I just read an article in the on-line version of the San Francisco Chronicle that you will be holding an affirmative action bake sale on Tuesday, Oct. 27 as a way of mocking your fellow students’ support of SB185–a bill that would allow the UC system to consider issues of race and ethnicity when considering admissions criteria.

On your Facebook page (listed as “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” you say that

“Our bake sale will be at the same time and location of a phone bank which will be making calls to urge Gov. Brown to sign the bill. The purpose of the event is to offer another view to this policy of considering race in university admissions. The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical, while urging students to think more critically about the implications of this policy.”

and then you go on to offer the following price list:

White/Caucasian: $2.00
Asian/Asian American: $1.50
Latino/Hispanic: $1.00
Black/African American: .75 cents
Native American: .25 cents

.25 cents off for all Women.

Additionally, on your Facebook Page, you claim that

“The Berkeley College Republicans firmly believe measuring any admit’s merit based on race is intrinsically racist.”

Racist. . . really???

Do you even KNOW what the concept of “racism” is actually rooted in? Do you actually KNOW the history of the United States–the full and real history of the United States–about what made America so great–what made us a super power? Free labor and cheap labor–which means exploited labor. And for the most part, it was a stratified labor system that targeted people based on (wait for it!) THEIR RACIAL DIFFERENCE FROM THE PEOPLE IN POWER (ie: white folks).

Chattel slaves from Africa were taken and exploited based on the belief of their racial difference (read inferiority). Understanding the history of this exploitation–the systematic belief in one group’s inferiority to another. Understanding the workings of hegemony (read some Antonio Gramsci–you’re college students and should know how to parse political theory) means that when you use a word like “racist” to describe people who are invested in a system of “racism” you should use this term ACCURATELY. You are, after all college students at one of the finest institutions in the nation. But your mis-use of the word “racist”–as if the word “racist” was synonymous with paying attention to racial difference–as if you actually believe (which you probably do, which is so sad since you are supposed to be among our nation’s best and brightest) that there’s this level playing field. That all races are equal. That there’s no need to have a system in place that recognizes the historic oppression and systematic subordination of groups of people based on skin color/racial difference. That there’s no need to try to rectify for this imbalance–to try to correct for centuries of WHITE PRIVILEGE and WHITE SUPREMACY that have kept non-white students from institutions of higher education.

If you want to use the word “racist” correctly, let me re-direct you to your own price listing.

Which is, in my opinion….racist.

Sincerely,
The Blogger of Mixed Race America and all people who understand what words actually mean and who understand the basic concept of racism.

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