Jewish World Review Dec. 17, 2003 / 22 Kislev 5764

Wendy McElroy

Wendy McElroy
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Consumer Reports


The Conservative Cookie Rebellion


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Want to buy a cookie? If you are a white male, that'll be $1; for white females, 75 cents; blacks, 25 cents. The price structure is the message.

Through Affirmative Action Bake Sales, conservative groups on campuses across America are satirically and peacefully spotlighting the injustice of AA programs that penalize or benefit students based solely on gender and race. The cookie rebels are being slammed by such a backlash that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) — dreaded by many university administrators — just shot "an opening salvo" in the rebels' defense.

Thor Halvorssen, CEO of FIRE, declared in a press release last Friday: "Parody and political satire are not illegal in this country. College administrators appear to be under the mistaken impression that protesting affirmative action is not covered by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Freedom of speech is a right enjoyed equally and fully by both supporters and opponents of affirmative action."

What are the AA bake sales, and why do they engender such furor?

The sales are intended to spark discussion, not profits. They are in the same genre as guerrilla theater — an effective counterculture tactic usually associated with the Left — through which societal assumptions are challenged by acting out scenarios. To the amazed query, "Are you allowed to do this?" one cookie rebel responded, "Admissions officers do it every day." By shifting the context from university policy to baked goods, the assumptions of affirmative action policies are not only challenged as sexist and racist but also revealed as nonsense.

The cookie rebels are doing the one thing political correctness cannot bear: revealing its absurdity and laughing in its face. They are not merely speaking truth to power; they are chuckling at it.

To regain the moral indignation they prize so highly, the politically correct must demonize the sale of baked goods. Thus, at Indiana University one student filed an official complaint, saying that the cookie sale would "create a climate of hostility against students of color and women and can easily turn violent." (The fact that those students were the ones given a price break didn't seem to occur to the irony-starved critic who equated a buyer's discount with a threat of violence.)

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To its credit, Indiana University chose to protect the freedom of speech for both sides of the affirmative action issue; it allowed the bake sale to proceed. Other universities have made the opposite choice.

The College Republicans at the University of Washington sponsored an affirmative action bake sale on Oct. 7. CR President Jason Chambers reported, "Approximately 150 students were gathered around our booth discussing the issue [AA] by about 12:30 when our booth was attacked by leftist students who disagreed with our stance on affirmative action." The Leftists threw cookies to the ground, tore down the display and physically attacked one vendor.

When the leftists began making threats, one of the cookie rebels had called the police because he feared the discussion — hitherto civil — might turn violent. Chambers explained, "Unfortunately, rather than step in and arrest our attackers, the police stood by while the University said we, the peaceful ones, had to shut down because WE were creating an unsafe environment. ... Our protests that the CRs were peacefully demonstrating while the leftists got violent fell upon deaf ears."

The university allowed a handful of violent students to decide which political views could or could not be expressed on campus. This is called a "heckler's veto"; it is the last resort of those who cannot win an argument through facts or reason.

Halvorssen commented, "Subsequently, in a frightening betrayal of their fiduciary duty and their obligations to the Bill of Rights, UW's Board of Regents released an open letter condemning the College Republicans for being 'hurtful' while failing to mention the counter-demonstrators' disruption of the College Republicans' peaceful expression of their political views on a matter of pressing public concern."

The University of Washington is not alone.

Clearly, universities don't like the affirmative action bake sales. One reason: The sales, like that at Indiana University, often feature petitions "to ban the collection of racial data, particularly in the admissions and hiring processes."

But most of all, the politically correct do not like being publicly mocked and revealed as ridiculous.

FIRE is performing the valuable task of shining a bright light on the viciousness with which the PC respond to mockery. Its campaign "will include mailings to alumni, parents, university donors, and state legislators."

Meanwhile the most effective thing the rest of us can do is to keep laughing.

Boss Tweed — that symbol of political corruption from 19th century New York — used to rail against cartoonists who parodied him without pause. Tweed knew he could politically survive anything except being the brunt of jokes. As with Tweed, so too with AA. That's the way the cookie and policy crumble.

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JWR contributor Wendy McElroy is the editor of Ifeminists.com. She also edited Freedom, Feminism, and the State (Independent Institute, 1999) and Sexual Correctness: The Gender Feminist Attack on Women (McFarland, 1996). She lives with her husband in Canada. Comment by clicking here.

Up

11/26/03: Zero Patience for Zero Tolerance
10/22/03: Killing the Good Samaritan
10/08/03: Collective western guilt burdens today's children
10/01/03: Families pay price for government spending
09/24/03: Do Poor Fathers Deserve Debtors' Prison?
08/29/03: Going to extremes
08/23/03: The Marriage Strike
07/30/03: University Students Deserve Human Rights
07/09/03: The PCspeak of Diversity
07/02/03: Rebuttable presumption of joint custody
06/18/03: A Conscientious Objector to the Gender War
06/04/03: Gender issues impacted by masculinists
05/28/03: The value of error
05/21/03: U.S. to Fund Gender Feminism in Africa?
05/14/03: Cut men: Do they not bleed?
05/07/03: Women with guns fight back
04/30/03: No oil for food
04/28/03: The Great Lie
04/16/03: War may redefine gun control
04/09/03: Why we must discuss a post-war U.S.
04/02/03: Leftist feminists using war as podium
03/26/03: Laying down 'the white woman's burden'
03/19/03: Iraq War may kill feminism as we know it
03/13/03: A woman to replace Saddam
02/19/03: Elder abuse demands family solutions
02/13/03: Iraqi women brutalized by Saddam
01/29/03: There ought not to be a law
01/22/03: Gambling with race and gender cards
01/02/03: The future of fatherhood
12/26/02: U.N. complicit in forced sterilizations
12/20/02: Compassion, kindness killed by fear, paranoia
12/11/02: Affirmative action insults immigrant contributions
12/04/02: Stand up for yourself
11/27/02: Feminist fighting: Aren't we all women?
11/20/02: Rights & responsibilities
11/14/02: Feminist "urban legends"
11/06/02: Equal access does not guarantee equal outcome
10/24/02: Battered Women's Syndrome: Science or sham?
10/17/02: I demand a civil society that respects the individual and acknowledges the existence of honest disagreement between human beings of good will
10/09/02: Abortion debate is about to be ratcheted up yet again
10/02/02: 'Restorative justice' offers battered women more options
09/25/02: Why is prez promising to embrace UN radical social engineering programs?
09/18/02: Dirty dealings kill men's panel
09/11/02: Taking back your power
09/05/02: Calm down, Hootie!
08/21/02: Will Congress empower a group of radical feminists to oversee money slated for Afghan women?
08/14/02: Empower the U.N. with power to sculpt American laws and institutions into the image of gender feminism!?
08/01/02: Practicing 'intellectual virtue'
07/24/02: All male, bad. All female, good: Your tax dollars at work
07/11/02: Put Up or Shut Up
07/03/02: NOW they've done it, again!
06/19/02: A dark cloud shades U.N. Women's Treaty
06/10/02: This Father's Day, send justice
05/31/02: When good women do nothing
05/28/02: Feminists claiming motherhood as liberal cause
05/20/02: Wounds in health care system are self-inflicted: Or, why "my son the lawyer" makes more sense
05/10/02: Are parents boycotting public schools?
05/03/02: Women can't be gun-shy about defense
04/25/02: The Bill of Intellectual Rights
04/19/02: World Bank or World Government?: The World Bank is blackmailing impoverished nations
04/12/02: Victims From Birth: Engineering Defects in Helpless Children Crosses the Line
04/05/02: The professor made me cry, now I will make him pay!
03/31/02: Doctors and teens --- parents be on guard
03/22/02: I was born, now I'm suing you!
03/15/02: The 21st Century is knocking at the barricaded door of feminism
03/08/02: Fun and games at the Ms mag Bulletin Board
03/01/02: Andrea Yates, NOW, and Feminist Jurisprudence
02/22/02: Lady, Your Slip is Showing
02/14/02: 'Abusing' Valentine's Day
02/11/02: Is NOW Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion?
02/01/02: Are 'fathers' rights' a factor in male suicide?
01/25/02: Is the U.N. Running Brothels in Bosnia?
01/18/02: 'Freedom' at another's (moral) expense
01/11/02: Feminists hit Ground Zero with WTC funds grab
01/04/02: Males winning "diversity discrimination" cases is good?
12/21/01: Good will toward men
12/14/01: "Boss Tweed" feminism
12/07/01: Call me 'anti-woman'

© 2001, Wendy McElroy