When I attended UCLA it was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural campus. There were students from nearly every country, every religion and all races. Yet, most students thought of themselves as Bruins and as Americans. We were all graduated in a single commencement ceremony which made us feel we were all part of a single community
John Leo, in the City Journal, writes an article entitled, Let the segregation commence, in which he describes the various commencement ceremonies at UCLA.
“Commencement weekend is hard to plan at the University of California, Los Angeles. The university now has so many separate identity-group graduations that scheduling them not to conflict with one another is a challenge. The women’s studies graduation and the Chicana/Chicano studies graduation are both set for 10 AM Saturday. The broader Hispanic graduation, “Raza,” is in near-conflict with the black graduation, which starts just an hour later.
Planning was easier before a new crop of ethnic groups pushed for inclusion. Students of Asian heritage were once content with the Asian-Pacific Islanders ceremony. But now there are separate Filipino and Vietnamese commencements, and some talk of a Cambodian one in the future. Years ago, UCLA sponsored an Iranian graduation, but the school’s commencement office couldn’t tell me if the event was still around. The entire Middle East may yet be a fertile source for UCLA commencements.”
I think this multi-cultural separatism is bad for America. Before multi-culturism became popular in the 1960’s, the objective of schools was to cause everyone to assimilate into the American culture. Children pledged allegiance to the Flag, sang America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner, learned that the Founders of our country were ordinary men with extraordinary ideas, and were taught that America provides freedom and opportunity that isn’t available elsewhere. Children were taught what it was to be an American and to be glad that they were part of this great country. It was considered important to make sure that children, regardless of where they came from, or what race they were, became assimilated so that they were able to take advantage of the opportunities available to them in this great country.
Since “Multi-culturism” became fashionable, schools, rather than assimilating children into the American mainstream, have been causing children to celebrate their differences. Celebrating differences has the opposite effect. Children feel alienated from the main culture, and feel more of an attachment to their ethnic or racial group. Rather than assimilating children into the American culture, multi-culturism has caused them to feel apart from the American culture. That is particularly true among the Muslim community, but extends to the Latino and African-American communities as well.
John Leo concludes his article,
“But the core reason for separatist graduations is the obvious one: on campus, assimilation is a hostile force, the domestic version of American imperialism. On many campuses, identity-group training begins with separate freshman orientation programs for nonwhites, who arrive earlier and are encouraged to bond before the first Caucasian freshmen arrive. Some schools have separate orientations for gays as well. Administrations tend to foster separatism by arguing that bias is everywhere, justifying double standards that favor identity groups.
Four years ago Ward Connerly, then a regent of the University of California, tried to pass a resolution to stop funding of ethnic graduations and gay freshman orientations. He changed his mind and asked to withdraw his proposal, but the Regents wanted to vote on it and defeated it in committee 6-3.
No major objections to ethnic graduations have emerged since. As in so many areas of American life, the preposterous is now normal.”
In my view, this does not portend well for the future of America.