Social distancing is one of the primary precautions amid COVID-19 outbreak globally. The historic practice of segregation is widely frowned upon today. It’s generally accepted that people should most definitely not be separated from one another in public or private life for whatever reason. However, there are still examples of distancing or segregation happening at quite a large number of universities, particularly in America. Lots of universities actually don’t have a single graduation ceremony. Instead, they have more than one. In fact, more the 75 have black-only ceremonies that are held in addition to the main event and are optional. These segregated graduations are aimed at celebrating diversity, by effectively giving a minority group their own event where people belonging to the majority are excluded. There are even separate ceremonies for Latin-Americans and LGBT people; some universities even have segregated orientations and even dormitories. It’s all apparently to do with separating minorities so they can feel comfortable, be with others similar to them, and not endure any negativity from having to associate with the majority. Should segregation at universities be allowed?
Yes – It Can Bring People Together
The main argument for segregation is that it’s bringing minorities together and enabling them to form their own community of sorts. Universities typically have large student populations with both national and international students of all sorts of backgrounds. Loads of different people are thrown together and expected to mix, which is great. However, some people see this as potentially harmful for minorities, simply because they are minority and apparently don’t have the same status as those who belong to the majority. For the majority, it’s easy to interact with others who belong to the majority. For minorities, however, it isn’t always as easy to interact with other minorities. The very nature of being a minority means that you can often feel overlooked and under-represented. University segregation isn’t about strictly enforcing minorities to stay away from everyone else; instead, it’s simply about giving minorities a chance to have a university experience similar to what someone belonging to the majority would have.
No – Universities Should Enable Everyone To Mix
Universities are generally very diverse and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Diversity is at its strongest when people of different backgrounds come together and are able to interact with and learn from one another. Part of the university experience is meeting people from different walks of life, finding out about how other people live and what they think, believe and enjoy. Getting to meet and befriend people from lots of different places can be an enriching experience. If a university has segregation practices, it’s heading in the wrong direction. It’s effectively giving people less of a chance to interact with others. Some might say that having minorities separated from the majority in any way empowers the minorities. However, there’s nothing really empowering about being separated from everyone else and given what is effectively special treatment. In fact, segregation, even if it is voluntary and meant well, can be seen as patronising.
In the past, segregation was very a negative concept associated with racism and slavery. Nowadays, however, it’s still practised, though it’s promoted as having more positive connotations. Those in favour of things like black-only graduation ceremonies insist that university segregation is meant to improve the university experience for minorities and help them achieve more visibility and recognition. But isn’t it much better for people to all mix together, rather than certain people being closed in and encouraged to only interact with similar people?