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Despite their best efforts to incorporate “diversity” within their campuses, colleges across the U.S. are becoming breeding grounds for student segregation based on race and other group identities.
Chapman University is the latest instance. This private California school has made a concerted effort to promote diversity and inclusion, with its webpage noting that it is “deeply committed to enriching diversity and inclusion through on-going efforts to cultivate a welcoming campus climate for all members of the Chapman community.”
However, this year’s graduation ceremonies will segregate groups based on students’ racial, gender, and other immutable characteristics. These include “Black Graduation,” “Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Graduation,” “Lavender Graduation” (for LGBTQ students), “Disability Graduation,” and several other group-based ceremonies.
Jerry Price, Chapman’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, justified the exclusive ceremonies by saying they are designed to “honor the dedication and resilience of students from underrepresented communities.”
Unfortunately, Chapman is far from the only school to practice what the National Association of Scholars (NAS) described as “neo-segregation.” For decades after the Civil Rights Movement, higher education institutions made a good faith effort to diminish racial distinctions and develop “color-blind” campuses, and yet now segregation is once again thriving. In its survey of 173 schools in 2019, NAS found that “42 percent offer segregated residences, 46 percent offer segregated orientation programs, and 72 percent host segregated graduation ceremonies.”
Among these are some of the country’s most prestigious schools, including Harvard University, which this year held segregated graduation ceremonies for black students and Latinos; Brown University, which celebrated “Blackalaureate”; and Columbia University, which hosted segregated graduation ceremonies for Native, Asian, “Latinx,” black, and LGBTQ students.
In some cases, it’s the students themselves who are demanding segregation, but the schools soon cave. This includes New York University, which in response to demands by a black student activist group recently began offering a blacks-only residential floor within its dorms.
Ironically, the more today’s colleges become obsessed with racial inclusion — highlighted by the rise in “diversity and inclusion” offices and employee training to ensure that students are offered the most “educational” and “informative” experience possible — the farther they are getting away from the goal.
Why? Because their emphasis has shifted from the individual to group identity. Schools insist that they are building segregated spaces for the “well-being” of “oppressed groups,” who supposedly need protection from “oppressor” groups, most notably whites, a concept pushed in Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, anti-racism training, and other ideologies that seek to characterize people based on their outward appearance, rather than their inward qualities.
Fortunately, many recognize how dangerous this segregation revamp really is and there has been an outpouring of disapproval. When Smith College, a private women’s school in Northampton, Massachusetts, instituted segregated dorms (euphemistically described as “affinity housing”) last year, an anonymous Twitter user who claims to be associated with Smith College said, “The message is loud and clear: skin color dictates common attitudes, likes, interests and culture … Most people call this racism. Smith College calls it ‘progress.’”
Richard Vedder, a Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University, decried similar initiatives that his own university was creating in 2018. For example, the school opened a gym open for use by minority students, but not white students, whose student activities payments would fund the gym. “Universities are reintroducing segregation, making race the primary determinant of student participation in some activities,” he explained.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that the concept of separate school systems for blacks and whites was inherently unequal and thus violated the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a decision that effectively overturned all segregation laws in the United States. This was a major victory in our country’s ever-continuing search for equality, and that principle was further solidified by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Now, however, left-leaning institutions of higher education in the name of bringing students together are instead re-introducing the concept of “separate but equal” that the Brown decision outlawed and for which many civil rights activists fought and suffered to fully abolish.
Putting students into segregated graduation ceremonies, dorms, and clubs does not provide the “enriching” experience the colleges attempt to foster. Rather, it forces students into specific groups and makes them identify according to a set of characteristics that define them as a group.
This is how Critical Race Theory and identity politics affect an entire population when embraced: People are shoved into certain categories, then everyone judges everyone else based off a pre-determined set of characteristics, thus affecting their perception of each other before they get to know the individual and all of their unique qualities, gifts, and experiences. It is the most divisive philosophy of our time, and colleges are teaching the next generation to embrace this poisonous way of thinking.
This is, of course, completely counter to the lofty vision so memorably described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he declared: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
This dream is still possible, but Americans must embrace it wholeheartedly and take a strong and sustained stand against Critical Race Theory and other deceptive and hateful Marxist ideologies designed to divide our population.
If we do, Dr. King’s vision can still be fully realized — to the benefit of all Americans, no matter their race, color, or creed.