During this year's deliberations on the IVC commencement speaker committee, it was said to Rebel Girl that Gustavo, like all of her nominees apparently, is well, a little "too political" to be an appropriate choice as speaker. This came from another faculty member on the committee who later suggested that if Rebel Girl wanted "these kind of people" to come to campus there was money for that and that "these people" could then speak to the denizens of Humanities and Languages where, apparently, they would be appreciated.
Instead the committee forwarded a trio of guys in suits because apparently if you're a guy in a suit, your money transcends your politics. Everyone knows that. Guys in suits don't have politics. Only brown people in guayaberas or hijabs do.
Rebel Girl thinks the implication was that the wider campus community would then be spared the views of "these people."
There's a word for that, several words perhaps, but let's just stick to the story at hand. Gustavo Arellano, too scruffy and political, maybe too brown for IVC, but a perfect fit for Long Beach City.
How could LBCC be so wrong?
Here's what Gustavo had to say to their graduating class of 2012:
Gracias for having me here, Vikings....
Society at large laughs at community colleges, but especially the students. We are the forgotten ones, the ones ridiculed for not having the money or grades or supposed drive to immediately enroll in a four-year university out of high school. Once here, we're derided as part-timers, as forever students stuck in a vortex we'll never get out of because it's just not in our station in life to succeed. We are the Land of Nodding Off, of excuses for missed finals, of teens sharing auditoriums with adults that have a foolish notion of going back to school. But that's not the community college student body I know.
I know people with various academic backgrounds, and it's those of us who went through the gauntlet of community college that tend to take on life better prepared than others. It's community college that has historically accepted anyone regardless your background, a show of social grace much needed in this country. Community college forces people to become scholars, to grow up quickly, and doesn't look kindly on laggers. You can drop out of a four-year school and survive; if you can't cut it in a community college, then you're going to have a hell of a time with life.
Contrary to popular opinion, community college is not easy at all. Yet the community college student rises to the challenge, again and again--look at all of you! I'd love to know your stories, if only to add to the tales I already know of community college success stories. I know the stories of middle-aged mothers who work full time, take care of a family, and take course after course, year after year, to qualify for a professional license--that was my mother. I know the stories of undocumented college students who scraped by with no federal or state financial aid and under the threat of deportation yet excelled and went on to a university--that was my former radio producer Julio Salgado, who continues to proudly call himself a Viking. I know the stories of regular folks, of old, young, white, black, Latino, Asian, native, queer, straight, a mix of some or all of them, who enrolled in community college and emerged a better person.
A pervasive Glennitude
And I know the story of a perennial underachiever, someone who couldn't be convinced to give a damn about high school, who was in danger of becoming a statistic like so many of his peers, whose eyes were forever opened to the glories of the studious life by the community college experience: by the generosity of perpetually stressed counselors and teachers who nevertheless made time for clueless students, by peers who had harder paths than him, yet pushed him to bigger and better things.
That underachiever was me. I have never forgotten what the community college system gave me--and nor should you. ...
As you can see, the Mexican's rhetoric was incendiary and inappropriate for the audience and the occasion. Gustavo certainly exploited the opportunity to push his far-left agenda championing the transformative power of a community college education and the sacrifices of the people who work there. Scandalous.
(Photo stolen from Gustavo's Facebook page . It will be returned once Rebel Girl finds a more suitable one. You know those Mexicans. Always stealing things. Can't trust them.)
Gustavo's address begins at about 22:45