Off The Wall: “Affinity Celebrations”

This year, Harvard is once again permitting its students to observe graduation day with a series of “affinity celebrations.” These celebrations allow students to separate themselves from each other based on their racial and ethnic identities, and then, celebrate graduation with their own kind. I’m old enough to remember when this was called “segregation.” At Harvard, they call it “affinity.”

To be fair, Harvard’s website says these celebrations are not in lieu of the official graduation, and open to all students who pre-register. But the celebrations themselves are clearly labeled, and the invitees are hard to misconstrue. Among those events listed, are The Latinix Celebration, The Black Celebration, The Arab Celebration, The Jewish Celebration, The Global Indigenous Celebration, The Lavender Celebration, (LGBTQ, etc.) The Asian American Celebration, and my personal favorite, The First-Generation Low-Income Celebration.
What better way to celebrate Harvard’s rich commitment to diversity, then by encouraging diverse groups to celebrate separately?

At mikeroweWORKS, we couldn’t care less about the color of your skin, the country of your origin, or the number of Y chromosomes you were born with. We are likewise utterly disinterested in your star sign, your blood type, your eye color, or any other characteristic out of your control. We do however, care about your thoughts on personal responsibility, work ethic, delayed gratification, a positive attitude, and various other virtues we still believe can lead to a successful life and career. For that reason, we award work ethic scholarships to men and women who wish to attend a trade school. A trade school, where students are encouraged to work together, celebrate their accomplishments together, and then, put their skills to use in a country filled with people who don’t necessarily look like them.

One million dollars in scholarship money is currently available at>. All are welcome to apply.
Mike’s Facebook Page

Posted April 6, 2024 Mike’s Facebook Page

Heidi Heidel writes…
Mike – You have lost me as a fan unless you can open your eyes to what you have done and apologize loudly. If you truly want to build a stronger world through the trades, then uplift the trades without beating down anyone else.

Hello Heidi,
Thanks for participating in what turned out to be a very lively conversation here on my humble Facebook page. I appreciate your comments and understand that you are disappointed by mine. Well, you are not alone. Over ten thousand people weighed in, and more than a few believe I was out of line for criticizing Harvard’s decision to encourage students to organize “affinity celebrations” according to race and ethnicity. Some of those people said my comments were “tone deaf,” and lacked “empathy and sensitivity.” Others said I was disqualified from having an opinion because I’m not a minority and I didn’t go to Harvard. The most consistent criticism was that my views reeked of “white privilege.”

I appreciate the feedback, but remain unpersuaded by these criticisms. The facts are undeniable – when you throw an affinity party called “The Black Celebration,” or “The Arab Celebration,” you are clearly celebrating race and ethnicity above all else. (And no, Heidi, just because the website says, “everyone is welcome,” doesn’t change the fact that these affinity parties are designed to attract people with similar backgrounds.)

The point of my post was not to suggest that Harvard students have no right to form groups based on race or ethnicity; it was to simply say that the most important kind of affinity among people has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. Real affinity comes when you encounter people from different backgrounds and get to know them. Real affinity happens through the exchange of ideas and beliefs and friendly debate. Alas, the affinity being celebrated at Harvard is based primarily on race and ethnicity. The Black Celebration, The Arab Celebration, The Jewish Celebration…these celebrations are by definition, fueled by an underlying assumption that people who look the same or come from the same place, all think the same way. And that, I believe, is the very definition of racist. At the very least, it seems an odd thing to prioritize, especially if you’re running the most esteemed university in the country, where the most important form of diversity should be the diversity of thought. Pity, there is no such celebration for that.

As for you, Heidi, and the handful of others who have threatened to stop being my fan if I don’t apologize for sharing a belief you find objectionable, I do hope you’ll reconsider. My intention was not to drive you away. But I’m not inclined to apologize for saying something I don’t regret saying. Where’s the integrity in that? And while we’re on the subject, what exactly led you to assume the threat of your imminent departure from this page would compel me to abandon my arguments and beliefs? Do you really suppose I’m that hungry for your approval? By all means, Heidi, let yourself out if you can’t tolerate a difference of opinion. There are plenty of other public figures who see the world as you do, and lots of other Facebook pages for which you might share a greater…affinity? But seriously, I hope you’ll feel free to return. Everyone is welcome here.

As for your second point, that’s a fair one. I didn’t have to promote my own foundation by comparing trade schools with the Ivy League. I only did so because I felt like it. Like you, Heidi, I saw something out in the world that I disagreed with and chose to exercise my freedom to speak about it. So, I did. Admittedly, I did so in part because I knew the juxtaposition would invite a robust conversation, and I hoped that conversation might encourage people to take advantage of my scholarship program. (It worked, by the way.) But regardless of my fondness for trade schools, and my disdain for what’s happening in the Ivy league, I didn’t need to compare and contrast the two. But I did, and now, since the poop is out of the goose, I think I’ll double down. Because believe it or not, Heidi, I’m not a foe of Harvard, or of the Ivy League in general. I understand how vitally important our university system is to America, but I’m very worried that the people in charge of our most prestigious universities are screwing things up in a big way. In my opinion, places like Harvard should be celebrating merit, work ethic, and initiative, above all else. Which is precisely what we do at…
Wait for it…
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation!

mikeroweWORKS is proud to welcome men and women of all races and all ethnicities to apply for a work ethic scholarship today. We’re giving away a million dollars this month to those individuals who share our affinity for a solid work ethic, a positive attitude, and a desire to master a skill that’s in demand. It’s not that we’re disinterested in your race or your ethnicity. It’s just that we value other things a whole lot more, and seek to celebrate those qualities.

All are welcome to apply at
You too, Heidi!