High school YAF chapter subjected to verbal abuse at UT-Austin
High school students affiliated with Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) were verbally harassed and intimidated during an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” just outside the University of Texas at Austin's campus.
The event was sponsored by the Steele High School YAF chapter, and was aimed at sparking a discussion about affirmative action, while trying to be civil at the same time.
“The violence that occurred that day was very saddening...”
To demonstrate what the group sees as the unfairness of the concept, they sold cookies at different prices depending on the customer’s race, with whites being charged $2.00, black $1.50, Hispanics $1.00, and Native Americans $0.00. Women received a further 50-cent reduction if their cookie was not already free.
Kenny Siler, founder and Chairman of the Steele HS YAF, told Campus Reform that the event was simply an attempt to engage people in a discussion that he is particularly passionate about, saying, “we wanted to hear the opinions of others, and to try and engage in reasonable dialogue.”
At the start of the event, he recalled, “we sat back and waited for people to come to us. Eventually we realized how ineffective that was, so I took it upon myself to try and be the open street vendor type; verbally advertising and inviting people over.”
Siler said the response was initially positive, noting that “one person did actually have a good opposing argument,” but said that the verbal repartee eventually degenerated into biliousness, culminating with the high school students being told to “get the fuck out” by enraged passersby.
Many people argued that the YAF chapter was trying to a similar incident to the one that took place at a similar event last year, to which the YAF members responded that they felt the concept could be executed in a peaceful manner, with civil conversations.
The hostility did not end there, however, and at one point, the group’s table was forcefully flipped over while the perpetrator shouted “fuck you” at the YAF members.
“There is no fucking problem with affirmative action,” one rabid protester shouted, declaring that “affirmative action helps white women more than any group at all.”
Others even compared the high school students to Nazis, saying that they “deserved to be punched.”
One antagonist even attempted to steal their cookies, placing them in a backpack before eventually throwing them on the ground when the students accosted him.
While expressing gratitude for the few intelligent exchanges that the event was able to provoke, Siler said that the overall takeaway was still negative.
“The violence that occurred that day was very saddening for the leadership of my chapter and for myself especially,” he said. “Where those young adults are standing, will one day be taken up by the youth who looks up to them for inspiration.”
Closing with a note of determination, though, he added that “it truly is the violence and hostility that drives me to hopefully one day be a guiding force for my generation and the next to come.”
University spokespersons declined to comment, other than to clarify that the bake sale did not take place on UT-Austin's campus, but rather on a public sidewalk just outside of campus that falls under the City of Austin's jurisdiction.
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