“Blackalaureate”

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) presents a photo essay on a “black only” commencement exercise at Brown University. Known as “blackalaureate,” the event was held at a Providence hotel the day before actual commencement. Graduating African-American students were inducted into something called Onyx, an organization that celebrates the “transition from Black student to Black Alumni.”

During the real commencement, all the black and other “students of color” (except Asians) marched at the front of the processional, with the white students behind. According to NAS’s reporter, since 1979 Brown’s black students have been showcased at the front of the procession. Now, however, the lead group has expanded to include Native Americans and other students of color. This apparently does not include Asian or Asian American students, who were dispersed throughout the procession.

I found this line from the NAS photo essay interesting

Keynote speaker Lisa Gelobter ’91 was met with stony silence when she spoke of her transgender nephew’s right to use the bathroom corresponding with his chosen gender identity.

Perhaps Brown’s racial diversity is producing ideological diversity after all, at least on one issue.

NAS is conducting a research project on neo-segregation on campus. Self-segregation by black students undercuts to a significant degree the diversity rationale for race-based admission preferences. The less black students interact with their white counterparts, the less benefit white students accrue from the presence of blacks — though I suppose, in theory, whites might gain some insight from the fact that blacks want little to do with them.

However, the real question when it comes to neo-segregation is not so much what happens during commencement as what occurs on a daily basis. I look forward to the findings of NAS’s research.

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