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April 09, 1968 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-04-09

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AMW - n B a u
Seventy-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom

--4. ..

Where Opinlohs Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail

NEWS PHONE: 764-0552

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

- I



More One-Man, One-Vote:
A Boon for Black Power?

THIS WEEKEND of racial strife under-
scores the little noticed implications
of last week's Supreme Court decision
extending the one-man one-vote doctrine
to cover city, town and county govern-
While the decision in no way forbids
at-large elections of councilmen and
school board officials, it seems likely
that a district system in most urban
areas would provide the most effective
means of implementing this decision.
A 1965 sociological study points up the
relevance of this shift to the current
American racial 'situation. According to
the Christian Science Monitor, this study
of riots in American cities between 1910
and 1961 discovered that there was a
great likelihood of uprisings in cities
which elect officials at-large rather than
on a ward or district basis.
The reasons for this are fairly obvious.
One of the considerations which led to
rioting, when such outbreaks were the
exception rather than the norm, was a
feeling of extreme helplessness in influ-
encing local government.
The gulf between minority citizens and
local government was felt far more keen-
ly in an at-large situation where minor-
ity groups votes were often counterbal-
anced by votes from other portions of,
the city.
This difference between at-large and
district systems of voting is especially
important in light of the rise of black
power and the growing Negro self-aware-
ness. For /under a district system, it
would be much easier for minority groups
to have their own representatives on
councils, rather khan having to appeal to
a politician who plays off their needs
against the needs of his other consti-

RELATED TO THIS is the anomaly of
American civic life that even in those
communities where council members are
elected on district basis, the school board
is almost inevitably elected at-large.
The best proposals in this direction are
variations on the Bundy Plan in, New
York for decentralized school boards. But
the idea that this venture will overcome
white resistance in many communities
is utopian. Consequently, the adoption of
a ward system in school board as well as
council elections would, at least to some
degree, alleviate the inequities of white
dominated school boards running largely
black school systems in our major cities.
A further aspect of this extension of
the one-man, one-vote doctrine is the
implicit attack on traditional urban
malapportionment practices. This takes
on added importance since the most like-
ly victims of this sort of civic gerryman-
dering are minority groups whose voting
power is consistently diluted by various
YET ALL THESE changes are small
palliatives when viewed against the
backdrop of unresponsive, city govern-
ment across the country. For it is diffi-
cult to see city government as an organ
of black advancement as long as Daley,
of Chicago and Yorty of Los Angeles
represent the norm.
* Last week's Supreme Court decision
merely removes one small obstacle in the
way of blacks of the ghetto taking con-
trol of their own lives. But it is a further
indication of the responsiveness of
American institutions that even this tiny
lead had to come from the Supreme

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Letters to the E

Echoes of Non-Choice

jN A POLITICAL system where the
established big-paper pundits have
recently been dipping below. .300, Daily
editorialists have been straining for .250.
On a host of issues in the past few weeks
alone, our predictions have borne an es-
pecially marked lack of resemblance to
the actual denouements. The, following
editorial is reprinted as much to bolster
our sagging self-confidence as to show
our readers that ocassionally in the past
at least we have hit a few nails squarely.
Moreover, the way things are going, the
views expressed in it could be as relevant
for November 1968 as they were for
November 1964:
On the surface, what happens tonight
in San Francisco will be the most sig-
nificant event of the 1964 presidential
campaign. That is only. on the surface,
however, for no matter who the GOP
nominates, the race for the White House
will, be insipid, ultimately meaningless.
if, by some unlikely miracle, William
Scranton pulls the 655 delegate votes he
needs, the campaigning in the coming
months will do little more than repeat
the issueless show of 1960. The voter will
have no more real choice than he had
between Kennedy and Nixon.
Being the incumbent, Johnson would
have little reason to be on the offensive;
he can well afford, in current political
thinking, to run on his record. Agreeing
with him on virtually all ends and dis-
agreeing only sporadically on means,
Scranton would have little on which to
base his campaign except the old, mean-
ingless partisan platitudes.
But Barry Goldwater will almost cer-
tainly be handed the GOP presidential
endorsement. He will wage a campaign
that can do nothing but bring victory
to Lyndon Johnson. But the victory will
be by default, for in essence there will be
only one candidate remotely capable of
being President, and any national voter
will have to vote for him.
TO THE POLITICAL pundits, Gold-
water's certain candidacy will finally
bring the voter a real choice of policies.
Yet, for the majority of voters in Novem-
ber-and it will be a far larger majority
than elected Kennedy in 1960 or can be
counted by party affiliations-there will
be no real choice.
How will one choose between continu-

lives lost senselessly? How will one choose
between a piecemeal, token war on pov-
erty and no attempt at all, when the
needs of the dispossessed in America are
so great? How will one choose between
our current halting disinterest in the
United Nations and possibly not belong-
ing at all, when the medieval concept of
national sQvereignty holds suicide and
impotence over all the world's states?
How will one choose between a foreign
aid program which, among other and bet-
ter pursuits, supports dictatorships in
Spain, Iran, Korea and other places, and
no foreign aid at all? How will one choose
between an administration reluctantly
enforcing a civil rights bill that for all
its uniqueness is still weak, an adminis-
tration worried more about political
coalition of the North and South than
the needs of one-tenth of its population
-versus an administration headed by a
man who believes the bill unconstitu-
tional and, would leave matters to the
Indeed one can make a choice, but it
will be between a little and nothing.
This is the saddest prospect of the com-
ing campaign, that there is no candidate
for those who believe something effective
must be done in this country.
It would be far better if Scranton ran
against Johnson, so that there really
was no choice at all. In that case, rea-
sonable men could conscientiously do the
only meaningful thing left -them. They
could, without fear, simply not vote, re-
fusing to choose the lesser of two evils
merely because the necessity of choice
had been imposed on them.
Alas, Goldwater will run and the rea-
sonable man will have to return Johnson
to office.. Could he live with himself if
he- struck at the polls and let the ex-
tremists in the nation elect Goldwater?
YET WHEN the conventions are over
and the distasteful job of re-electing
Johnson has been done, it will be time
for citizens to ponder the meaning of the
1964 sham.
It will be time for imagination and
creativity about the possibilities for
government, for the posing of reasonable
policies. It will be time for indignation
over the uneducation of voters on the
facts of issues and alternatives.
It will be time for the courage to say,
"I will not choose between equally un-
satisfactory alternatives simply because

To the Editor:
THINK that Martin Luther
King held a very special place in
every white liberal's mind and
heart. He was the last link of
communication with the black
militants, and he was the vora-
cious leader of the ideal of non-
My contact with Dr. King oc-
curred last summer in Atlanta at
the SCLC Convention - a non-
very-impressive gathering of the,
delegates from the Conference
states who attempt to co-ordinate
and formulate policies. During the
Conference Dr. King sponsored a
"Black is Beautiful and It's So
Beautiful to Be Black" evening at
a local Baptist Church in res-
ponse to the Negro militants cry
for a black consciousness and a
black identity. The usual gospel
singers wailed their spirituals:
the Reverend King read the achie-
vements 'of Negro Americans; wo-
men modeled the Afro-American
fashions and exhibited the Afri-
can hair styles.
But the irony of the evening
came when Mrs. King came out
in a shimmering whited ress, page-
boy hair-do, and, in a perfect
Midwestern accent, recited a poem
by Langston Hughes. I think that
at that point Dr. King could no
longer hide his embarrassment at
the whole affair, for the Rever-
end King has committed his entire
life to one of equality, both black
and white. King saw a fabricated
culture as a means of appeasing
the more militant rather than as
a stool for creating racial identity.
YET, AS FIRMLY adherent to
non-violence as he was, his people
were constantly abandoning his
ideal; in 1963 23 per cent of all
Negroes felt that some kind of
violence was inevitable, and that
figure must be much higher by
now. But gallantly he remained
steadfast in his convictions.
One day he recalled Ghandi's
remark which so tragically rings
true today, perhaps the Blackest
of all times: "There go my people.
I must catch them, for I am their
-David Shapiro '70
Nihil Novi...
To the Editor:
BY THE TIME you get this let-
ter, it will all be past history.
But the implications of the mur-
der of Martin Luther King won't
die. Black on white, white on
black - the struggle has intensi-
fied, and furiously continues to
its frenzied conclusion. Nonvio-
lence is the theme of too few. The
vast majority of Americans re-
main, all too many, at the other
extreme. Dr. King raised the ques-
tion of whether white and black
people could live , together in
peace. On a balcony in Memphis,
he got his answer in the back of
the neck.

Negroes arise ,- blame the
whites ! Whites arise - blame the
South! The wretched king is
dead; his turmoil is not. He is
praised, and eulogized - and his
way and work are forgotten. There
are' riots in Washington and De-
troit which fittingly commemor-
ate his passing. University stu-
dents, typically American, march
in solemn tribute, and then re-
turn to the old ways, to the old
biases, doing nothing. A Negro
American has died, but nothing
has changed. There is fresh blood,
black and white, in the streets
-Richard Bolan, '69
To the Editor:
of Dr. King's death, it was with
a heavy heart that I headed
across the Diag Friday afternoon.
As I noted a large crowd near
the General Library, puzzlement
quickly turned to disgust as I real-
ized that it was in behalf of the
initiation activities of one of our
"Honorary" fraternities.'Couldn't'
they forego these juvenile antics
in the face of our national trage-
dy? Is this the basis of their claim
to honor?
-Carolyn Duffy '68
To the Editor:
the memorial tribute to Dr.
Martin Luther King and, as an
embarrassed member of the Uni-
versity community, feel that I
must speak out.
Those who attend the nservice
found themselves seated in a seg-
regated manner, "black" students
in front,, "white" students else-
where, and were regaled withthe_
old 'get out and act, you white
bastards' line. The very fact that
the death of this crusader is
mourned nationally, that our
President has postponed his plans,
and that the television coverage
of the event approached that of
the assassination 'of President
Kennedy, indicates that, for the
past couple of decades, people
have been acting.
Of course, there is no denying
that we as Americans have far
to go, but let's all try to get there
as Americans and not as "blacks"
and "whites."
--Elizabeth Scott Jannot, Grad.
To the Editor:
dead. Lyndon Johnson, Hu-
bert Humhrey, even George Wal-
lace mouth the appropriate com-
ments. But, there are really no
words. Since 1946 the English
language has been emptied of
meaning. Only silence expresses
the feeling, and the feeling is
numbness. No other response con-

i tor
veys the horror, the despair, the
outrage over the man's death.
Martin Luther King offered
hope . to the Negro, but to the
whiteman he offered salvation.'
We can lay h blame for oppres-
sion and injustice onthose who
went before us; but It is we now
who must right the wrongs. Those
who intone the high-sounding eu-
logies cannot lead us: their grote-
sque version of America and the
world keeps them too busy jus-
tifying and spending $100 billion
worth of death and destruction'.
Those who pretend to ' repre-
sent us are too busy coveting
their Congressionalpowers, to-
gether or alone : mean, "little men,
concerned with violence only when
it is aimed at the white, here or
abroad, and concerned with order
only when it is. threatened by Ne-
groes or revolutionaries.
The prognosis is not very hope-
-Judy Perloe
To the Editor:
SHOULD like to suggest (per-
haps I am not the first) that
the best memorial this University
could give the great and good mnan
whom we lost this week, is to
establish a Martin Luther King
memorial scholarship.
If everyone who was in, Hill
Auditorium Friday noon would
contribute $10, that would make
a sum of $40,000, possibly enough
for a scholarship for one im-
poverished student right there. If
everyone present contributed only
$1, that would make $4,000, or a
good start on a scholarship fund.
I am sending a check to Presi-
dent Fleming right now. Are you
with me?
-Virginia Von Schon

Martin Luther King:
Daily Guest Writer
First of Two Parts
ON THE STREET before me walks a pack of young thugs. Rifles in
hand, this weekend they may kill a few blacks, the blacks who
refuse to cower and say "yes, Sir" to "Mistah Charlie." The murderers
will have no sense of personal guilt: they will never be brought into
a court of justice. For they are the National Guard, sanctioned op-
pressors "above the law" and symbols of our' society's paranoia and
,This weekend's orgy of lachrymose self-flagellation, church-going
and prayers, cannot expiate our guilt. The tears, real and crocodile,
will accomplish nothing. The telegram (was Richard Nixon, painfully
recalling 1960, the first politician to remember the black vote and
send a telegram?) and condolences ring even more empty, for simul-
taneously the senders mobilize the military.
Grief will lead to neither understanding nor improvement. First
we must acknowledge that America is a violent society. The most
appropriate comment, the only one that rings true, remains Malcolm
X's "chickens come home to roost.Martin Luther King's death was
no accident; the bullet is a suitable American fashion.
Press and TV constantly bombard us with pictures and reports
of bombings and body counts. Perhaps we are supposed to revel in
the idea of '4commie dead," as if someone we disagree with has no soul
nor right to live. Perhaps we are supposed to treat it simply as enter-
tainment, something unimportant and apart from our own lives. But
we pay our taxes and tolerate our government's monopoly of 'legitimized'
violence, always assumingno personal guilt.
Why are Stokley and Rap Brown wrong? They characterize
America as a violent land. Who, today, would dare refuting them?
Vietnam is the great American extravaganza, an unending TV
spectacular and testament to our capacity for killing. The popular-
ity of gangster and western shows testifies to our distaste for
peaceful civilization, our longing for violent actions as the most
satisfying means of personal and national self-fulfillment. John
Wayne, anti-intellectual with gun in hand, is the mass's ctilture
hero; the literati have their Bonnie and Clyde. In all of us resides
the violence of the American frontier spirit.
Martin Luther King understood this. His pacifism was a tactical
weapon, a technique of moral and politically non-violent warfare to
defeat an enemy with superior arms. He hoped, by not hurting us,
by not arousing our hatred, to accomplish his ends peacefully. He
realized that if white America ever allowed its sometimes latent fears
and hatred to surface the black men of America would be slaughtered,
He appealed to our conscience and sense of guilt, for he knew the
black man lacked-and still does-the physical force to take his due.
Strictly speaking, as a black man and voice for the disenfranchised,
King was a threat and mortal enemy to the satisfied middle-classes
and the government. But since in every crisis (as in Birmingham after
the church bombing and murder of the 4 young girls) he exerted him-
self to prevent violence, he could be regarded as:"our man," i.e. useful
to the government and middle-classes frightened for their status,
property, and bodies. Non-violence was also helpful, from the govern-
ment's point of view, in ,that it could mean preventing any effective
action whatever.
King called on white America to repent; he didn't demand our
money and pore outright. The respect and' gentleness with which he
was treated was no doubt partly due to this feeling that he was useful.
The syrupy eulogies tinged with sadness on King's death, are more than
a little motivated by fear, fear that now no one can control -the black
resentment and fury.
King himself probably could not have done it. The black middle
classes respected him; the ghetto youths alternately laughed and
sneered: "What has he accomplished?" He appealed to the best in-
stincts of white and black, but long years of frustration and token
achievements made non-violence seem worthless. Far more than King
ever was, Carmichael and 'Brown are the democrats of the ghetto,
speaking the language of the street and bluntly expressing the dis-
enchantment and anger. Respectable society and the government refuse
to listen to their voices.
The government has no more program for our streets. Today
it relies on the tank and machine gun. The government has no one
left it can use to control the ghetto's passions. In an ironic sort of
way King was important as the last possible lin between govern-
ment and ghetto. No one listens to the Toms, the Whitney Youngs
and Roy Wilkenses. The government and press deify them as
"responsible Negroes," but they have no following. They rush in
these non-leaders to ghetto trouble spots, or put them on TV, tA.
no effect. (Recall how last July the black man even hooted Rep-
resentative Conyers off the Detroit street;s.) Malcolm X, who the
government also tried using, died like King. Brown and the black
militants refuse to accept the flattery, promises, or petty legislation
which in practice changes nothing.
Now will we do anything to eliminate the causes of street anger?
It seems unlikely. But a tired government ,and Vietnam are not the
only reasons. The civil rights bills of the early 60's were given by the
government because the U.S. must conduct a foreign policy in Africa
and a world %'s of which is non-white. This is why Senator Drksen,
with his State Department ties, supported them. In private this was
sometimes cynically admitted. But the ghettoes remain and the current
civil rights bill and other so-called ameliorative legislation are as
meaningless as their predecessors.

Perhaps, toward the end, King himself saw this, for he was trying
to shift tactics and objectives. Belatedly he had come to realize that the
legal rights secured by the 1964 Bill achieved next to nothing. In the
North they were unimportant, in the South evaded or unenforced. They
only had publicity value for Africa and the moderate leadership.
But how would the white leadership have reacted to King's planned
"March of the Poor?" Would his reception by government leaders have
been so gentle as in the past? Unlikely, and the ghetto's black children
will continue attending overcrowded schools, schools receiving in-
adequate funds and staffed by underpaid and often incompetent
teachers. King's demand for real equality, for real opportunity for the
black man to get out of the ghetto, would have been curtly refused.
Oh, the government will grant open housing. But, put bluntly,
what good is open housing legislation' if the black man has little chance
to get an education or job? Without these the legal right to move out
of the ghetto is a meaningless right. (Although it may be some satis-
faction to the small black elite.) But in general the white man keeps
running to the distant homogeneous suburbs, while the ghetto just
expands-remaining the home for the excluded.




To the Editor:
SINCE THERE is some question
as to who killed the Rev. Dr.
Martin Luther King, why doesn't
President Johnson reconvene the
Warren Commission to find out.
--John Koza, Grad.
Spock Case
To the Editor:
I took a high school civic
course, but I seem to remember a
system of checks and balances
provided for by the Constitution.
That is why I was particularly
alarmed by the government's
statement in the Spock trial. "The
exercise of executive and legisla-
tive power . . . is not subject to
judicial examination."
If the Supreme Court has no
jurisdiction in the legality of our
government's actions, then who
does? After a president is elected,
are we subject to his every whim
for four years, with no legal re-
course short of an amendment to
the Constitution?
Once again the bureaucracy as-
sumes more power than that ac-
corded to it by both its citizens
and the Constitution. If I had any
doubts before, concerning the
creditability of our present admin-
istration, they are gone now. Our
democracy has become a farce.


KING WALKED on montainous will,
Pointing to the white fences
Across the valley, walking down
With dark-footed shadows,
In search of closed doors, rooms
Filled with empty people, filled

I 1 1 alf F I ",z;

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