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GOP Students' Race-Based Bake Sale Sparks Controversy At Berkeley

Republican students at the University of California, Berkeley, say they're being satirical. The school's student senate says they're being discriminatory and others on campus say they're being offensive.

The debate is over an " Increase Diversity Bake Sale" that the young Republicans plan to hold on campus Tuesday. To protest affirmative action legislation that would allow California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity and national origin during admissions, the Republican students plan to charge:

-- White/Caucasian students, $2 for each baked good.

-- Asians/Asian-Americans, $1.50.

-- Latinos/Hispanics, $1.

-- Blacks/African-Americans, 75 cents.

-- Native Americans, 25 cents.

And, they're taking 25 cents off for women.

The prices are different, according to the Republican students, "to ensure the fairest distribution." And on the Facebook page about the event, they ended by saying: "Hope to see you all there! If you don't come, you're a racist!"

The GOP student's bake sale logo.
/ Berkeley College Republicans
Berkeley College Republicans
The GOP student's bake sale logo.

Salih Muhammad, chair of the campus Black Student Union, tells the student-run Daily Californian that "we're not open to being reduced to a price at a bake sale. ... There's a certain point where satire becomes disrespectful."

But the whole point of the bake sale is to highlight discrimination, the treasurer of the Republican student group says. "People are being judged by their skin color (in affirmative action policies)," Francisco Loayza IV said at a meeting of the student senate on Sunday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don't want to be judged because I'm brown. Look past the prices, and see what we're trying to do."

The student senate vote 19-0 to condemn "the use of discriminiation whether it is in satire or in seriousness by any student group."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.