During graduation season this year, black students at Harvard will be hosting and attending a commencement event intended solely for black students. The special ceremony and subsequent reception will feature some 125 black students, who raised upwards of $27,000 themselves to cover the ceremony and party. Harvard University is at least the fourth institution to hold a separate ceremony for black students. Stanford University, Temple University and Columbia University host additional graduation events for black students.
The event, which took nearly a year to plan and is scheduled for the morning of May 23, is an effort to acknowledge the struggles and resilience that black students have had to possess in order to thrive in higher education, an environment where minorities are typically underrepresented. Courtney Woods, who will graduate from Harvard University this year with a master’s degree in education policy and management, told The Root that “it speaks volumes” that there has never been a graduation ceremony of this type before. Woods, citing the past struggles of black students and their ability to overcome those obstacles, also stated:
Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students. There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonization at Harvard, which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders. This is a history that we are reclaiming. “As a first-generation [college student], I know I am here to change the trajectory for all of us,” she said. Black students at Harvard have a higher graduation rate than national standards — 96 percent of the college’s black students graduate within six years, according to a 2011 report. Only 44 percent of black students graduate on a national level.
Organizers of the blacks-only graduation ceremony plan to hold a similar event for black undergraduate students next year. Harvard University is at least the fourth institution to hold a separate ceremony for black students. Stanford University, Temple University and Columbia University host additional graduation events for black students, the Root reported.
Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students.The left often talks about striving to become a unified people in this country, but at the same time promote and perpetuate divisive identity politics that only serve to separate people and marginalize minority communities — the same ones they insist they are fighting on behalf of. The left should stop disingenuously berating the right about being “inclusive” while acting divisively in its own ways.