- - Sunday, May 14, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The commencement season is at hand, soon school will be suspended for the summer, and the silly season is at hand. Students are competing with the college dean and the university president to be the Sophomore of the Year.

The campus at the University of New Hampshire is in an uproar, not over swallowing goldfish or raiding for young ladies’ panties, but over ponchos and sombreros, and who is entitled to wear one, whether it’s raining or not.

Danique Montique, a sophomore (naturally), approached a male student in a poncho on Cinco de Mayo, “the Fifth of May,” observed in Mexico with parades and ceremonies to celebrate Mexico’s victory of the French (who else?) at the Battle of Pueblo. She scolded him for appropriating someone else’s culture. (Shouldn’t the French be offended, too?)

The young man protested that it was all in fun. On some campuses, where drinking beer is the No. 1 sport, insensitive students call it “Cinco de Drunko.”Miss Montique was doubly offended, and posted a photograph of white students in ponchos and sombreros with the caption: “As a black woman, I was forced to become the very thing society deems me to be, angry.”

This was very big news on campus, and Mark Huddleston, the college president, and Nancy Targett, the provost, were suddenly in fear of what might follow, and hunkered down in flak jackets and battle station. “We condemn the disrespectful language and behavior exhibited on campuses across the country,” they said, and noted “an increase in incidents involving uncivil, even hateful, behavior. We condemn all such acts — they have no place at UNH.”

The crisis deepened, the sky grew dark over the campus and someone posted on social media a photograph of a student in a black mask captioned: “And I was forced to become the very thing society deemed to be: angry.”

All that was shocking — shocking ! — but the biggest shock of all was on the campus at Harvard, fair Harvard, where every prospect pleases and fair winds blow. Harvard, once the redoubt of abolitionists, has authorized in the name of progress racially segregated graduation ceremonies.

“Aside from studying and taking grueling tests, if you’re a minority, the outer pressures of society make the already challenging coursework even more difficult,” reported BET.com. “Knowing this, Black members of the class of 2017 decided to form an individual ceremony. It’s the first of its kind at the school in recent memory and took nearly a year to plan. The separate graduation is an effort to highlight the aforementioned struggles and resilience it takes to get through those.”

Michael Huggins, a Harvard graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a planner of the school’s first separate black commencement, says the segregated ceremony “is not about segregation,” but “an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s Black excellence and Black brilliance. It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community.”

This was not, it should be noted, Ole Miss, Alabama or Arkansas Tech. It’s “safe places” on Ivy League steroids. Onward now to a world where there are no safe places.

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