Seeking for Righteousness

The Personal Blog of Kaimi Wenger

Bake Sales

There has been some discussion in the blogosphere of SMU’s decision to shut down a bake sale where different prices were charged based on the buyer’s gender and race. (See, e.g., Volokh here and here). The bake sale was apparently intended as an illustration by the conservative student organization of what they viewed as unfair affirmative action policies.

Interestingly enough, I recall that when I was in school, a women’s student organization used the same technique to advance a liberal argument: They sold cookies that cost a dollar for men and 75 cents for women, as I recall, in order to illustrate that men are paid more than equally qualified women.

I kinda liked the argument then (and the cookies were tasty), and I kinda like it in the SMU context. Any time differentiating policies are applied (voluntarily or involuntarily, formally or informally), it is good to think about them and discuss their justification and consequences, whether or not one eventually agrees with them or not.

In the meanwhile, I think it is important to the current discussion to note that the bake-sale technique is used by people of all political leanings. This means that two questions Eugene Volokh and other critics may want to ask are (1) whether SMU has held such feminist or other liberal bake sales, and (2) and if so, whether the decision about this bake sale was made because a conservative group, not a liberal group, was using the bake-sale technique.

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September 26, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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