Illini Republican bake sale has flawed reasoning
When the Illini Republicans’ latest political stance is making baked goods to uphold white supremacy, you know they’re getting desperate.
A few weeks before March 14, the date of the Illini Republicans’ “Affirmative Action Bake Sale,” the Illini Republicans became frustrated that there weren’t enough white men on campus, prompting them to take a stand based on ignorance.
During the event, baked goods were sold at various prices based on perceived race and perceived gender. This has generated a discussion on whether or not affirmative action policies are harmful to the University.
In the description of the event, the Illini Republicans stated: “Affirmative action has not decreased racial discrimination; it has promoted it. Rather than helping disadvantaged communities, it has had the unintended consequence of penalizing impoverished Asian and Caucasian individuals.”
It’s interesting that the mostly white Illini Republicans have placed the word “Asian” in front of “Caucasian” in the description, in order to appear as if they actually care about people of color. Additionally, they are furthering the stereotype that Asian people are model minorities who don’t face their own forms of oppression.
The Illini Republicans’ attempts to present itself as a color-blind group that wishes society could just get rid of social identities and only judge people based on merit and the quality of their character.
While this could be achievable in an idealistic utopia, it is not the reality. Race has been constructed and reinforced to uphold white supremacy and rationalize oppression for centuries. Unless pre-existing racism is eradicated, color-blindness is not an option.
Therefore, the consequences of race are real and cannot simply be thrown away or ignored — especially if you’re a person of color who has to deal with the reality every day. And part of the reality of dealing with white supremacy has to do with facing institutional racism in higher education — even when affirmative action policies are implemented.
The University’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations released this statement on affirmative action policies which briefly mentions how said policies aren’t based on quotas, but rather an extensive set of strategies that are aimed at increasing opportunities for qualified, marginalized students.
While affirmative action has attempted to remedy the fact that people of color are often less likely to get into a school even if they are equally as qualified as white students, affirmative action has ultimately benefited white people, specifically white women.
The Illini Republicans feels that poor white people are disadvantaged when it comes to being admitted into universities and receiving scholarship money. But really, white people, regardless of gender, disproportionately receive more scholarships than people of color.
“Caucasian students receive more than three-quarters (76 percent) of all institutional merit-based scholarship and grant funding, even though they represent less than two-thirds (62 percent) of the student population. Caucasian students are 40 percent more likely to win private scholarships than minority students,” according to a 2011 study by Mark Kantrowitz, a publisher of Cappex.com.
And when it comes to college admissions and the work force, white women are disproportionately selected more than any other demographic.
So if there really are more white people on college campuses with the most scholarships, why is the Illini Republicans so upset? Perhaps the organization can’t accept that people of color just might be qualified to be here.
Though many other campus groups such as Mixed Student Union, MEChA and Crescendo more successfully protested the affirmative action bake sale, it’s hard to say whether the Illini Republicans learned anything that day besides knowing that its hateful and annoying performance politics will do nothing but cause disruption.
It’s bittersweet that the organizations were able to fundraise in spite of the Illini Republicans.
Though groups like the Illini Republicans continue to exist on campus and spread hate, University students will not stand for intolerance — even if intolerance comes in the form of an overpriced cookie.
Tatiana is a freshman in Media.