Harvard Black Commencement
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Politics and Activism

Harvard Black Commencement

Is it racist?

Harvard Black Commencement

Recently, Harvard University decided to throw its first university-wide black commencement ceremony, where black students from the undergraduate schools and the graduate schools don stoles made of kente cloth and will celebrate their achievements and honor their struggles. Many people are claiming that it is racist to hold a ceremony for only black students. How racist is it, truly?

First of all, this is not a segregated graduation ceremony. The black commencement event is a completely separate ceremony from the actual graduation celebrations. It is a completely separate event taking place before the actual ceremony. Michael Huggins, president of Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, said that the ceremony is "not about segregation", but about coming "together to celebrate Harvard black excellence and brilliance,” “This is really an opportunity for students to build fellowship and build a community.”

Many people are saying that this is discriminatory, wondering why other groups don't get their own ceremonies. However, there are also events for Latin students and LGBTQ students to talk about their struggles. People are in uproar about it saying that if white students wanted to throw an event. people would be up in arms, as opposed to a black ceremony. (Perhaps not realizing that many, including themselves, are, in fact, getting up in arms over the black ceremony.) This event was paid for by funds that students raised to throw the event. If someone wanted to raise money for an event for a white student event, they may face hoards of critics, but if they raised the money to do it, then they should be able to do it, as should any group.

This event is nothing more than a simple cultural event in order to celebrate black excellence and triumph over struggle. Claiming that Martin Luther King would "turn over in his grave" due to this event is a ludicrous notion. This is not a discriminatory event, merely a cultural one, where everyone is allowed to observe and learn about the struggles many blacks still face in this country. Many people would say that blacks just play the victim card, but when real incidences of racism still occur, even on college campuses, like when bananas were found tied to nooses at American University after the first black woman became student body president , then it is safe to say that blacks still have to face an upward struggle batting bigotry in America.

Universities certainly do have problems when it comes to overt political correctness, and there are certainly times when victim-hood has been exploited, like when students demanded an extension on finals after the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents . When things like that occur, actual incidences of racism are taken much less seriously, and a simple cultural event is blown out of proportion as an example of blacks playing the victim card and being racist themselves. If someone is not fully informed of the significance of the event, and is constantly bombarded by news of the impact of political correctness on college campuses, it is easy to see why such a negative reaction would occur. It is also easy to see why someone, particularly a low-income white person, would look at Ivy League graduates and be upset at hearing how much they have struggled.

I'll leave you with this, don't go looking for reasons to get angry, and be sure to learn ALL the fact before jumping to a conclusion about something.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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