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Our View – Ceremonies example of self-stratification

Thousands of Cal State Long Beach students have received tons of information about graduation, from flyers urging them to embroider their sashes to order forms encouraging them to purchase fancy frames for their diplomas. Seniors may be thinking about how many graduation announcements to send out, while others contemplate the number of family members attending graduation.

Some students may also have to tell their friends and family members that they have to attend two graduations, because there are four separate voluntary cultural graduations: Latino, African-American, Pinoy and the newly created Lavender graduation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and allies.

But do we want to continue integration or bring back segregation? Clearly, with four separate voluntary graduations, the latter is the direction we are headed in.

Graduation is an important day for all graduates who have worked hard during their academic careers at CSULB to receive the degree they rightly deserve. It gives them the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and allows them to use the degrees they earned and adapt their skills into a promising career.

Moreover, the cultural graduations give students the opportunity to gather as one and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Latinos, African-Americans, Filipinos and LGBT students, as well as other students, have come a long way to receive a higher education and should be commended for that.

Some of these groups were kept away from receiving a college education for a long time, and because of this, they have jumped over many hurdles and knocked down several road blocks so they can receive the same education as other students.

But is it really necessary?

It is understood that the cultural graduations allow students to celebrate their accomplishments as one, but at the same time, they are separating themselves from others, which shows that participating in a cultural graduation and the main commencement defeats the purpose.

Receiving a degree and walking with the entire graduating body is the accomplishment. When schools were still segregated, cultural groups celebrated their accomplishments among themselves because they were not given enough support. Now, more than ever, cultural groups are being recognized more for their achievements – one of which is graduating with people of all races and sexual orientations.

When students sit down with each other during graduation, they can turn to the student next to them and say “I did it” with pride. As university administrators make speeches commending them for their accomplishments, graduates can look back and see that regardless of the many obstacles they faced, they succeeded.

Cultural groups, as well as other groups, should continue to support each other through their tribulations and achievements. But all students – black, white, Asian, Latino, green, orange, gay or straight – should be praised and congratulated for their long hours of hard work and on a job well done on graduation – as one.

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