I have graduated one year too early, this May. While many of my classmates have left on towards glamorous summers, I am left in New Haven wondering about this city when the Yale buildings have been emptied, when there's more of New Haven than me. Graduation weekend was an interruption.
Graduation was a grotesque reminder of incoporated education, a parade of classicism, racism - with little elegance to shield them. In the name of tradition, I guess.
I am reminded that the development of a consciousness, though recommended by the faculty is ultimately "approved by the corporation", in the words of pres. Levin. I am sublimated by the utility of my education to others.
Graduation is a three-day affair where the streets of New Haven are notably cleared of the homeless, the drug addicts, or the ill - for the near 60% of Yale students' parents who pay the total $45,000 dollars a year. Resident favorite homeless, the "flower lady" remained a fixture. Perhaps she is a darling trip down memory lane for the patronizing as they offer change and make small talk. Absolution of a conscience? I wonder.
No matter. "Flower lady" was quota homelessness for the weekend. With the governor and lieutenant governor of Connecticut on the Yale corporation board, the task of painting the town fair was as easy as a nudge, a slap on the back. There remains no press on the marked absence of the homeless.
I am laughing as I write this because I'm recognizing how naive I am to believe herding homeless citizens requires public process. Or that publicity guarantees fairness. As most politics go, historical actions precede those of today - see the 2002 Olympics of Salt Lake City.
But New Haven could be seen elsewhere serving drinks, washing dishes, cleaning sidewalks. At least they have a job, as another points. It is discouraging to find that fifty years have passed and while opportunity has risen, presentation remains the same.
And for a short word on the vitriolic reactions I received when mentioning I was attending black graduation: why? what's that...isn't that racist? A consecration ceremony recognizing intellectual, artistic, athletic, communitarian capacities of students outside of phi betta kappa is the opportunity to be lauded in one's own space. While one or two may be awarded during commencement, I say: to each her/his own award.
congratulations to the seniors we know on graduating. andom, thanks for using the bjb for your speech at black graduation...and we saw you with that mean lean.
and to dean salovey, thanks for the shout-out at class day.