YCT’s ignorance was outweighed by the passion of protesting students
‘Here at UT, we have a whole lot of heart’
Ignorance is ugly, and refusal to listen is even uglier.
Wednesday afternoon, a protest took place against an egregiously racist bake sale held by the Young Conservatives of Texas at West Mall at UT Austin.
Footage of the bake sale went viral all over the Internet, with one particular horrific image of members of Young Conservatives smiling while holding up a sign that listed ethnicities and the prices that baked good would be charged to those ethnicities. For a bake sale, the ignorant product the Young Conservatives insisted on spreading sure was bitter.
As the protest began, representatives from Young Conservatives decried affirmative action as holding minorities to lower standards. Surprisingly, the first representatives in the dialogue were ethnic minorities, with one Hispanic, and one African American taken the lead in the discussion.
One member of Young Conservatives was so adamant and passionate as he was speaking to protesters that he insisted he spoke for the entire black community, not as individuals, he insisted, but rather as a group. At one point in the discussion, he even referred to himself as the next Martin Luther King Jr.
“We don’t want affirmative action. We want everybody to be held to the same standards,” he said, “You want opportunities for black people? Let’s give them better opportunity directly.” The same member of the Young Conservatives initially denied that students from varying economic and ethnic backgrounds had varying access to educational resources. “Listen,” he said, “these resources are on Google.”
The arguments provided by Young Conservatives were inflammatory and enraging. When I was elementary school, my parents moved our family away from a poor neighborhood into a white neighborhood that was affluent so my siblings and I could receive a better education.
Before the move I was just wrapping up long division in my old school district to progressing onto studying acute and obtuse angles in my new school district, a topic I wouldn’t have started learning until middle school in my old school district.
As I continued school in my new school district, I realized that high level of success of students in the new school district were not solely credited to the education provided but also additional tutoring outside of class my new friends could afford. As I entered high school, my parents saved up to enrol me in a SAT-preparatory course, a luxury most of my old friends did not have. I personally can attest that the free resources provided by Google are nowhere near the standard of the best resources that money can buy.
A spokesman from Young Conservatives continued to defame affirmative action, calling it an unfair advantage: “we’ve gotten into this mentality that we have to humiliate everybody that doesn’t agree with us and really, the only point that we are making in distinction, if you really boil it down, past the noise, past the chaos, past everything that is going back and forth, is that we believe that you should be judged on merit, not something that you don’t control,” he stated.
When asked by the crowd what the purpose of the bake sale was, another member of the Young Conservatives said, “Basically, this event was to show what the university does with admissions because it is demeaning to say that the price is lower for minorities. We should all be set on an equal standard.”
As this spokesman spoke about maintaining equal standards, the crowd went wild yelling about the spokesman’s ignorance on his white privilege. Shouts of “Check your privilege!” and “Racists go home!” trailed the spokesman as he left.
As the protest dwindled to a close, students in the crowd expressed support for the UT community in uniting to fight against ignorance. Watching my peers speak about their personal experiences and struggles: the debt, the hard work, the dedication, the jobs, they have undertaken to get admitted into UT, ranked the 30th Best Global University by U.S.
At UT, we strive to present our best effort because we live for the belief that what starts here changes the world. A huge portion of our impact is determined by what happens here at home, at our roots.
By correcting errors of peers in their understanding of policies like affirmative action, we are promoting what we have all come to Austin for, an education.
The protest that happened after the bake sale, brings education outside of the classroom and is a step towards equality. We must speak with patience to those who do not fully understand.
The education provided by UT is world-class, and while I was disappointed by the bake sale hosted by Young Conservatives, I have never been prouder to be a Longhorn in the presence of passionate students who will stand up and speak for what they believe in.
Twenty feet away from the protest, at the Flawn Academic Center (FAC), university students, faculty, and licensed voters lined up to vote for politicians and policies that make affirmative action possible.
Our voice lives through what we bring to the table and the impact we leave in the world. Luckily for Young Conservatives, our voice doesn’t come from ethnicity but rather, heart. If everything is bigger in Texas, here at UT, we have a whole lot of heart.