When is a muffin not a muffin?
When Turning Point USA — appropriately acronymized as TP-USA — showed up on campus with their “Affirmative Action Bake Sale,” I was happy to see crowds come and stare them down. Many of those students were black and Hispanic, but it was white folks who took the lead against TP-USA, shouting down their racist message. To me, that’s an appropriate way to be an ally and keep dangerous white supremacy in check.
The connection between baked good prices and affirmative action is tenuous and evidence of the poor reasoning skills far-right groups bring to our place of learning. The real connections are between the commodification of college, an historic rise in enrollment rates for people of color and skyrocketing costs causing billions in student loans. These connections indicate that— contrary to the far-right story — market ideology is well and alive in higher ed. That’s what these muffins are about: an ideology of not regulating the free market, not even to make up for disparities created by almost 300 years of slavery. Or around 70 years of Jim Crow laws. Or our modern-day prison-industrial system. All of which, by the way, the free market had more than just a hand in. The first corporations in British North America were the chartered slave states. Walmart’s cheap “American-made” goods are largely produced by prison labor, disproportionately black and Latino folks. This is the free market TP-USA champions: an instrument of class warfare, wielded in the interests of the rich and privileged against any kind of equitable living for working and unemployed people of every skin color.
Their clumsy attack on affirmative action, with its false equivalence and its naive appeal to innocence — “We were here to sell muffins, we were having such good conversations” — is just one more free market assault on the university institution.
TP-USA claimed to be having “good conversations” before we protesters showed up. If so, it’s only because these far-right snowflakes had been finding people they agreed with, the only kinds of people they find “reasonable” in recent years. No, I’m sorry, if you don’t understand affirmative action, perhaps you ought to speak to people of color in the faculty from backgrounds that have historically been pushed to the margins. While my black students are literally pleading for their lives to get only (a few hundred) people to march Downtown, all TP-USA has to do is hold a bake sale to get dozens of people’s attention.
And still they have the audacity to claim white people are hurt by inclusive legislation.
TP-USA, you came to a minority-majority institution, thinking you could find people who shared your ideology of free markets and racial division. You were wrong, and I hope that is a humbling experience. I pray that you choose not to come back here.
Nobody wants your racist muffins.