By Richard Garibay
As graduation roles around, many seniors are planning their celebrations. They also face an interesting question of what ceremony to attend as the school provides different ceremonies for different races. So, if you’re an African American or Hispanic student, you can attend a graduation event with only African Americans or Hispanics. I believe these events are wrong for many reasons.
First of all, a separate graduation ceremony for each race promotes racial separatism. If we truly want to move past an era of a society that notices someone’s skin color before anything else we must stop reminding everyone that there are different skin colors. A ceremony that emphasizes skin color is really just segregation, albeit voluntary, but segregation nonetheless. It groups people and creates divides between them, which is appalling as this celebration should be a communal one. To truly move away from racial division we must stop labeling people as African American, Mexican American or whatever else and begin to think of ourselves as just Americans.
Let me make it absolutely clear that I am not advocating the idea that we should shun our cultural backgrounds, but instead realize that there are times when it is relevant and others when it is not.
Second, graduation is a time to celebrate hard work, perseverance and achievement not someone’s race; this is an event for students of CSUB, not African Americans, Hispanics or Whites. Race has absolutely nothing to do with someone graduating. Graduating college was due solely to the efforts of the student’s character not the color of their skin. It seems wrong then to give them different treatment for their racial background. To give someone special recognition for their race is just as bad as condemning them for it. This is the root of racial tension, people acknowledging that people are different and should be treated differently based on their skin color.
There are those who would inevitably say that these ceremonies recognize the hardships that students from these backgrounds faced. By this logic we should gather up all of the students who live below the poverty line or find every student that suffered through things like depression and anxiety and give them all a special ceremony. Wouldn’t this recognize all the obstacles they overcame? The fact that you received a diploma is reward enough. You understand the hardships that you faced, and everyone faces some, so there is no need to flaunt it in front of people.
I feel that the only reason to hold and utilize these graduations is the unlimited tickets given to the participants. With that said, I don’t think the ceremony should be held in high regard as an event that promotes diversity just because of extra seating.