I’m sure that whether we are current undergrads, graduating seniors, or alumni, we can all agree that graduation from a university is a monumental moment. Ethnic background is irrelevant when it comes to the commitment and dedication it takes to make it through endless hours of stress, homework, stress, studying, stress, and writing novels commonly known as final papers.
Individuals should have the ability to choose how they would like to celebrate and honor the ending to such a journey. With that being said, it comes as a surprise and a disappointment that someone would attack the commencement ceremonies that are held by certain groups on campus.
These commencement ceremonies are hosted by various ethnic communities on the CSUN campus, they are not simply “set aside for students of certain races”. ?Committee members must organize, attend meetings, and constantly fundraise for such ceremonies to even take place. So, the idea that “special treatment” is being given to these groups is a poor assessment upon reviewing actual reality.
Perhaps, I should have overlooked this poor assessment made by Ms. Flores and focused more on her experience with arrogance and racism from particular “groups”. ?Maybe then I would have a better understanding on her perspective that allowing such commencement ceremonies to take place is only “encouraging segregation”. ??However, after reading about her experience the only thing I find arrogant, is that Ms. Flores implies that she has met the designated spokesperson of the Black student body( although I cannot remember attending such elections) and continues with a racist generalization stating, “things have been structured in our society that promotes this attitude among these groups”. ??It is absurd to draw a general conclusion from one experience. ?I assure you, not all young minorities feel as if they are deserving of a free education based on the color of their skin.
Ms. Flores speaks of the forward progression being made in America everyday and states, “People should never lose their heritage or their culture?” ?I cannot think of a better way to honor this statement, other then to have continued support for the various ethnic communities who host commencement ceremonies. ?These ceremonies honor heritage and can be seen as a prime example of culture. They also allow individuals the opportunity to express appreciation to loved ones who have supported them through their incredible journey. ?Being a certain ethnicity is not a requirement to participate in any commencement ceremony. ?And what better way to show gratitude for the “enjoyed freedoms others fought for” then to be graduating from a four- year university.
CSUN is a diverse campus, but unfortunately there is a “specialized” group that is still in existence. And that group consists of those who remain ignorant. Those who do not understand that all students share in the right to participate in school organized events regardless of who the host is. Not recognizing all the hard work and effort various clubs and organizations put in, so that all students can take part in an event is a “continued wrong”. ?
We as students have a responsibility to open our minds, and instead of attacking those who would like to participate in alternate commencement ceremonies, maybe we should take a minute to say congratulations. You are an inspiration to undergrads, peers to those who stand beside you, and soon to be a proud addition to those who have the honor to call themselves alumni of California State University, Northridge.
Katie Jones Senior Business Marketing Major