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March 05, 1968 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-03-05

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Seventy-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom

-2m ,

Where Opinions Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MIcH.
Truth Will Prevail

NEWS PHONE: 764-0552

Editorials printed ini The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



The Riot Commission Report:
Who's Afraid of White Racism?

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144 /

WHITE RACISM was chiefly to blame
for the explosive conditions that
sparked riots in American cities during
the -last few summers.
This is the opinion of the President's
National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders contained in a report released
last Friday.
Even though the commission's report
was designed as the Government's reac-
tion to the civil disorders which have
plagued the past few "long, hot sum-
mers," the commission's underlying mo-
tives should not be impugned.
For the commission's failure is not a
failure of will but of perception, an in-
ability of the well-meaning liberals to
understand that their program for cur-
ing conditions engendered by white
racism embraces a still more sophisti-
cated form of the same disease.
Given the limits within which the dia-
logues of American politics operate, the
report goes about as far as "responsible"
politieians arelikely to go. Starting with
white raeism as its basic assumption, it
analyzes recent riots in terms of "per-
vasive discrimination and segregation,"
"black in-migration and white exodus"
to andfrom the central city, and the dis-
couraging effects on black young people
of "segregation and poverty" in the
O THIS beaker of discontent, the
commission s document continues,
have been recently added several cat-
* frustrated hopes caused by the
abortive end of the civil rights movement;
* the encouragement of violence im-
plicit i official and vigilante reactions
to non-violent civil rights demonstrations
and laws
* the feelings of powefessness and the
alienation and hostility toward institu-
tions tof law and government which have
given birth to the concept of "black
a new mood of self-esteem and en-
hanced racial prit;e among young Ne-
# growing Negro resentment of the
police as the symbol of white power,
white repression and white racism.
THE COMMISSION'S proposed solutions
follow inevitably-if not always log-
ically-frOm Its analyss of the problems:
more and better welfare, steps, toward
guaranteed income, better housing, more
jobs, token Negro political control over
the ghetto
But aside from the likelihood that the
commission's proposals will never be
adopted, the report can be criticized on
philosophical grounds. Ignoring much
that is useful in its discernment of the
problem, the commission's proposals rely
heavily on a dangerously' facile liberal
assumptions and miss an entire dimen-
sion of racism.
By advocating massive infusions of
Federal planning and money, the com-
mission seems to swallow whole the tra-
ditional liberal cant on crime: "To end
crime, strike at its causes: poverty, di-
sease, oppression and badly paved high-
This rationale, while a necessary anti-
dote to the even worse alternatives ad-
vanced by the Ronald Reagan "get-tough-
with-criminals and stop-handcuffing-
the-police" enthusiasts, glosses over the
evidence. Although the correlation be-
tween c'ime and bad social conditions is
at least tenable, the recent upsurge of
white middle-class, suburban crime in-
dicates at least the presence of other
variables. And to consider the urban riots
just another kind of crime would require

an especially hard-boiled insensitivity.
RADICAL BLACKS insist, and are prob-
ably correct in insisting, that through
rioting black men are asserting their
manhood, are demonstrating that they
control their own lives. From the per-
spective, to blacks the social engineering
racism of the HEW is as intolerable as
the yahoo-vigilante racism of the KKK.
The implicit assumption of HEW
brand social engineering is the patron-
izingly-offensive intellectually-snobbish
notion that the planners, by virtue of
superior education and wisdom, know

money entangled with strings (such as
bedchecks for ADC mothers) and the
planned-for are the black inhabitants of
the local ghetto, the white racist over-
tones are manifest.
The rioter is rebelling against bureau-
crats who subordinate him to the level
of political and social children as much
as against the bigot who calls him "boy."
More than anything else, black people
demand to control the conditions of their
lives, their politics, their school systems,
their supplies of goods and services.
Certainly there is little evidence to sup-
port the assumption that the planners
know better. Twenty years of the gov-
ernment's failure to do more than make
the slums vertical proves this.
And the recent attempts to suppress
dissent stemming from the war, the sub-
ordination of major universities to the
military arm of the Federal government
and the disclosure of the activities of the
FBI and CIA identify the Federal gov-
ernment as the greatest threat to civil
All this-the failure of existing Federal
programs to solve anything and the
realization of the almost endless possi-
bilities for Federal tyrrany-necessitates
a rethinking of the role of the Federal
government with regard to social prob-
lems. If Federal money flowing into the
ghetto is to be meaningful, the strings
must be disattached and control turned
over to the blacks themselves.
RIOTS WILL certainly come this sum-
mer again and only the naive believe
that Federal social welfare programs can
prevent them. Short-range techniques
for dealing with summer disorders seem
to have filtered down to a choice of
three: the Ronald Reagan right-wing "hit
them with everything you got" approach;
the moderate-liberal "keep order but take
it easy" faction; and a laissez-faire alter-
The' commission, in keeping with its
philosophic bias, of course, took the sec-
ond alternative. It condemns local police
departments for stockpiling automatic
rifles, machine guns, and tanks, and sup-
ports controlling rather than suppress-
ing riots. This is fine as far as it goes
and again constitutes an excellent anti-
dote to white racists with itchy trigger
fingers of whatever political persuasion.
But the laissez-faire alternative is far
better. When riots occur, all symbols of
white authority-including the police-
should be removed from the ghetto. The
army-not the national guard or police
-should take up positions on the peri-
meter of the ghetto and merely prevent it
from spreading. According to the com-
mission's own finding there was much less
sniper fire in last summer's riots than
the police reported; most of the sniping
that did occur was made up of exchanges
within the ghetto between white authori-
ties and scattered blacks. Recognizing
this, the laissez-faire alternative would
limit the damage of the rioting to merely
Furthermore, the laissez-faire approach
would be a step toward spawning an eco-
nomic and social situation in the ghetto
which would encourage people to assert
control over their own lives. By allowing
looters to strip every store in the ghetto
of every piece of merchandise, the gov-
ernment would be discouraging white
merchants from returning to the ghetto
after the riots. When this happens, blacks
can take a major significant step toward
self-determination by running their own
shops as co-operatives.
THIS WILL alleviate two problems at
once. It will place blacks in control of
their own economic lives and will end the

chronic complaint that ghetto prices are
intolerably. high while ghetto residents
are unable to transport themselves to
low-price suburban shopping plazas.
Hopefully, this step will be accom-
panied by overall urban decentralization
which will place sub-units of the large
cities in control of their own political
processes and educational arrangements.
At the same time, ideally the Federal
government can be putting an end to
HEW-type strings, perhaps through some
form of guaranteed income.
The dilemmas here are complex and
unamenable to panaceas. Riots must be

+ f~



Letters to the E

To the Editor:
AS A RESIDENT of Noble House,
I was extremely upset to read
in the Feb. 25 Daily of Mr. Feld-
kamp's recommendation concern-
ing Oxford Housing. In December
it had been worrisome enough to
hear that several co-ops and/or
suites and/or apartments would
be given to two sororities and/or
men, poor communication on the
part of the university preventing
us from ever knowing precisely
which. Now Mr. Feldkamp has
added absurdity to absurdity by
recommending that both two sor-
orities and 30 men be given three
of the Oxford co-ops, thereby leav-
ing a grand (!) total of one free-
standing co-op (Cheever, which
fortunately has an endowment
fund), and thus only 30 spaces for
61 girls who plan to return here
next year. That number does not
include incoming freshman and
transfer students. (Many girls
from the large dorms have visited
the Oxford co-ops and have ex-
pressed a desire to come here next
year.) It would be a most unwise
and injudicious move on the part
of the University to follow through
on this measure, since many of the
Oxford girls would be displaced.
If two white sororities had been
involved in this issue instead of
the Negro ones, it is my feeling
that the University would never
even have considered the question
to begin with. This reverse pre-
judice and discrimination against
the Oxford residents, provided the
measure passes, would be carrying
the fear of an in fact non-existent
racial prejudice too far. The girls
in the sororities involved are not
being denied equal housing rights:
Seven of them already live in Ox-
ford' and all the others have an
equal opportunity to do so. Yet if
Mr. -,eldkamp's recommendation
is carried out. he erls will be
granted the privileges of both low-
cost housing and sorority living,
the latter of which many of the
present Oxford residents cannot
afford at all. Many of the co-op
residents would, on the other hand,
be denied the privilege of low-cost
Also, we residents are confused
by an apparent conflict between
some of Mr. Feldkamp's statements
and his policies. The father of one
of the girls in Noble House was
told several weeks ago by Mr. Feld-
kamp that if we could get a peti-
tion with the signatures of 100
girls from the Oxford co-ops (ex-
cept for the French and German
Hoduses), then "all" of Oxford
could be saved. At a meeting in
his office, we presented Mr. Feld-
kamp with petitions that together
contained 61 signatures. But he
hedged a bit when we asked if
Oxford could maintain its status
quo. He said that first we'd have
to influence and convince "other
people" too; he would merely make
the final decision. Wouldn't it
logically follow, however, that if
at least two-thirds of the supposed-
ly required 100 signatures were ob-
tained, then at least half of the
co-ops-that is, two-should, ac-
nnr-ia n .fi Fakm' stse

THE LITTLE run-around game
that University Housing is playing
with Oxford residents, who, since
December, have been told first one
thing and then another concerning
whether men or sororities or both
would be taking over their houses,
has caused numerous confusion,
tears, and anxiety among many of
us, who are, at the last minute,
frantically trying to find an alter-
native, low-cost comfortable hous-
ing for next fall. With the already
high cost of out-of-state tuiton,
I, among others, would simply not
be able to afford anything other
than a co-op.
In passing the proposed measure,
the University would be making
an. unjust and unfair move. Hope-
fully, this letter will come to the
attention of and influence those
whose decision on March 5 will be
-Nancy Rando, '71
More Oxford
To the Editor:
about Mr. Feldkamp's decision
concerning Oxford Co-op in the
Michigan Daily, Sunday. I am a
resident of Noble House, which
may become a men's house next
year. Since three of the houses
are being taken, either for sorori-
ties or for men, there will be only
thirty places left for the sixty-oqe
of us who have signed a petition
desiring to return next year. At
least thirty-one of us do not even
have the option of returning. I
have spent a year in a dorm, and
I much prefer co-op living. I am
also not interested in all the prob-
lems that an apartment entails.
I have found the type of place
that I want to live in. We have ex-
cellent food, spacious rooms, a
clean house, and I like the people
who are living here and who want-
ed to return next year. Our house-
mother is a great person, and we
enjoy living and working with each
other. The $300 saved is a great
help to my parents who will be
supporting three in college next
Poor publicity and management
by the University has caused a
problem with filling Oxford, and
I don't think that a solution which
involves displacing the girls who
want to return is right.
Noble House is my home and I
would very much like to return
and live here next year with my
friends. But, if the present deci-
sion goes through, we will be de-
nied that privilege.
-Sandra Weurding, '70, Arch
New Politics
To the Editor:
DAN SHARE'S article (Feb. 23)
on the Michigan New Politics
conference contained errors of
fact and errors of interpretation.
It is not true that Eric Chester's
addendum was adopted. It was re-
jected. That addendum would in-
deed, if read carefully, have ex-
cluded New Politics support for
candidates such as Conyers and
Diggs. Because it was not read
carefully, almost everyone on both
sides of the issue initially support-
ar' it 'nP, what w a atntd in is

radicals and blacks (radical or
otherwise). By and large the De-
troit group, white and black, dis-
sented from the majority orienta-
tion at the conference. Further-
more, the Detroit people regard
themselves as every bit at "radical"
as any other New Politics group.
The dispute had nothing to do
with the black-white issue that
arose in Chicago, although some
people chose to characterize it in
that way. The dispute focussed en-
tirely on the tenability of a left-
wing organization nurturing ties to
such established institutions as the
Democratic Party and the labor
union leadership. The majority
said that such ties are untenable
and carry with them the danger
of "cooperation."
THAT, BY THE WAY, is the
correct use of "cooptation" - a
word which has become as grating
as the word "escalation." Mr.
Share used it incorrectly. McCar-
thy and Kennedy were not con-
demned for being "coopted" by the
Democratic Party (in fact they
were not condemned at all) and
for "allowing their principles to be
prostituted." Their principles are
part and parcel of the Democratic
Party. The point is that those are
not our principles. They were re-
jected as Offering "false hope" for
meaningful social change, not con-
demned for being true to them-
selves. The same goes for Reuther.
Support for New'- Politics will
come once the organization be-
comes viable and its programs be-
come relevant and widely-known.
It is naive to expect "real black
support" for what are so far just
ideas surrounded by an incipient
state structure. "Real support" lies
in the future.
-Larry Hochman,
Ann Arbor Citizens for
New Politics
Deliberation Day
To the Editor:
THERE HAS BEEN an unfor-
tunate confusion in the pub-
licity given to the Draft Teach-in
and the Day of Deliberation. In
the news stories and in your Sun-
day editorial it appears that the
two events have been planned to-
gether and for the same reasons.
I would like to set the record
straight. The Draft Teach-in is
being planned by an ad hoc com-
mittee representing several campus
organizations. We began to work
on this teach-in last December,
long before the selective service
system announced its new policy
in regard to deferments for grad-
uate students. The Draft Teach-in
is not a response to the new draft
policy, but rather it is a response
to the whole selective service sys-
tem, whatever its policies may be
from year to year.
The Draft Teach-in will be held
on March 19 beginning at 4:15
P.M. and continuing that evening
with panels and workshops. The
featured speaker will be the Rev.
William Sloan Coffin Jr., com-
plemented by the usual array of
participants representing a diver-
sity of points of view.
The Day of Deliberation is a
m1., hmor erecent idea .and it is

Co-op (tation):
AlPrpose Cure
Traditionally conferences are held here during spring vacation
to protect the participants from any jarring contact with students.
While this isolation may be beneficial from the standpoint of
alumni groups and trial lawyers, it was unfortunate that a confer-
ence on student co-operative housing was held on an almost barren
campus because the people involved should have been talking to
students and-not to each other.
Standing on the periphery of such a conference, one could
easily be seized by a sort of infectious optimism. One was caught
up in a dream of co-ops changing the face of student life in
two very different ways.
In practical terms, the expansion of co-ops on college campuses
could serve as the most effective way to cut living costs and the sense
of community which such units artificially engender could be a prime
antidote' to the isolation of the multiversity.
Idealistically-perhaps impossible so-the idea of co-ops could
aggressively challenge existing life styles among young people and pro-
vide alternatives to the stultifying job-wife-house syndrome.
Conferences like this can bring together some incredibly diverse
people. There' was a greyish Irishman here from Central Mortgage
in Toronto. He didn't know much about the actual operation of
co-ops, but he was convinced that the way to save money was to
hire cooks and cut down on food wastage. And he kept citing the
meal he had here Friday night as evidence.
Staying at Vail Co-op were girls from Illinois State and Purdue
who were overjoyed to find that their co-ops back home were so alike
-both served ;as sororities for the stingy. They were sororities in
every sense except the girls economized by doing all the work and
avoiding national affiliation.
They talked of the selection process to decide which girls
"will best fit into the house." And they continued on this exalted
level until they finally got to comparing co-op pins. "Oh, what's
that little dangle on the end of yours for," cooed a Purdue coed.
"That? It's for being work-manager," was Illinois State's reply.
Several leagues from this were the girl and the corduroy-jacketed
administrator from New College in Sarasota, Florida. This small,
experimental and hyper-individualistic school was facing the alter-
native of either expanding through co-ops or by having students live
in private homes in one of Florida's leading retirement communities.
The administrator with an unbuttoned cardigan sweater beneath
his jacket asked directly about drugs at Michigan, after confiding
that probably two-thirds of his students had used them this year.
He seemed very afraid of the Florida police, but was ever so careful
to always say "busted" at the appropriate moment.
Add to this a large number of Canadians and you have recon-
structed a large portion of the conference. The Canadians were here
in droves because Canada has an infinitely larger co-op movement
than this country.
After listening to the Canadians, the co-op program at the Uni-
versity seems small and unambitious in comparison. Yet even here
coops provide one of the best answers to the twin problems of student
housing-cost and isolation.
At present about 220 students live in co-ops at the University
and ,another 100 students board there. With a room and board cost
of about $20 per week these student-run enterprises are probably
the cheapest living arrangements-barring a few garrets-available
in Ann Arbor.
And with the less than conspiciuous success of the housing boy-
cott, they are likely to remain so.
But the real importance of co-ops is its ability to destroy the
personal isolation that the modern university creates. At a school
like Michigan this has always been one of the biggest selling
points for the Greeks-this sense of fraternity, the joys of a "hou."
It is this which lures many into fraternities and sororities every
year-people who are willing to tolerate ritualistic nonsense for the
sake of a sense of community.
Yet Co-ops , here at Michigan-and presumably elsewhere An
America-have never tried to exploit their communal possibilities.
This is especially unfortunate considering that University co-ops have
no selection process other than first come-first served-because they
provide a greater cross-section of students than do either fraternities,
sororities, or underclassmen dormitories.
While an expansion of co-ops on campus may be one answer to
the student housing dilemma, the conference also provided another
far more challenging perspective on the possibilities of co-op housing.
And that is the radical alternative to contemporary life styles
provided by such groups as the Washington Free Community and
Rochdale College-a non-degree granting experiment in co-operative
learning in Toronto.
Of the two, the Washington Free Community is far more relevant
to challenging existing life styles, as well as prevalent educational
values. The Free Community-a loose amalgam around Dupont Circle
consisting of an underground newspaper; Liberation News Service,
the Institute for Policy Studies, some artistic ventures and radical
political groups-is converting a series of town houses and similar
dwellings into co-ed co-ops for six to ten people.
Proponents of these co-ops claim they are challenging pre-
valent concepts of the American city in which individual lives
both are isolated and fragmented. By keeping costs beneath

$1,000 a year from room and board, these co-ops are designed
to free young people from excessive demands from unsatisfying
This utopian idealism is contagious, but underneath some serious
doubts remain. There was something reeking a little too much of
social engineering and anti-individualistic arbitrariness in the way
that guy from Washington carefully explained that his co-ops would
be no smaller than six or larger than ten. And this impression was
solidified when he carefully sketched on a blackboard a diagram of
exactly how a free community is to be laid out. Washington stressed
that no co-op should be smaller than six or larger than then and
the diagramatic sketch of whole community he drew.
Implicit here is the unanswered question of whether co-ops are
an attempt to create by artificial means the kind of community which
must grow by itself or not at all. Are the isolation, spiritual loneliness,
and fragmentation of American life merely a function of the archi-
tecture of the American city? Or are these maladies more the logical
extension of a failure of values?







"°O RA,
21I\ / ox 00000

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