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November 28, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-28

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Page 4-Tuesday, November 28,1978-The Michigan Daily

Ghe 4ichignBiy
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eight -Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

Are the Jeffersons for real?

Vol. LXXXIX, No.53

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

South Africa steps back

T IS AMAZING THAT persons in
this country still hold to the belief
that South Africa is gradually changing
and that the black majority in that
country will someday have equal
rights to those enjoyed by the white
majority. It . seems that every
opportunity South Africa has for
progressive change, it takes a more
regressive and repressive stand.
It was no surprise that John Vorster
was reelected and his position as
Prime Minister reaffirmed last spring.
The small minority of white reformers
in that country lost to an overwhelming
majority which agreed with the racists
policies backed by Mr. Vorster. And
when Mr. Vorster relinquished his
powerful position this fall due to ill
health, an even more steadfast Afrika-.
aner dedicated to the principles of apar-
theid rose to power - Pieter Botha or
''the wea-on" as he is known to his
friends.
Now, after the deaths of Black
Consciousness movement leaders
Steven Biko and Nelson Mandela,
when black resistance seems
disorganized, the election of Andries
Treurnicht as leader of the governing
national Party in populous Transvail
province makes the prospects of
majority rule in South Africa very
dim to say the least.
As Transval leader, Mr. Treurnicht
controls almost as many votes in the
national parliament as the other three
provinces combined. Thereby making
him one of the most powerful persons
in South Africa, second only to Prime
Minister Botha who is the party's
national leader. And the 57-year-old
Mr. Treurnicht, an avowed white
supremicist, has made one thing very
clear - he wants to be number one.

Mr. Treurnicht handily won election
over Labor Minister Stephanus Botha
(no relation to the prime minister) of
the party's reform wing. The
Treurnicht wing of the party ran on a
platform opposed to all minor racial
reforms implemented in the past few
years. He argues that these minor
concessions would lead to a total
breakdown of the apartheid system
and the ultimate domination of blacks
over the white minority.
"If 'petty' apartheid is completely
eliminated, 'grand' apartheid becomes
superfluous, stupid, and
unnecessary," he wrote last year in his
book entitled "Credo of an
Afrikaaner."
When one of the two most influential
leaders of South Africa openly displays
such a racist attitude, it is nearly
impossible to understand how
allegedly reasonable persons, such as
the University Regents, can maintain
their position that South Africa is
progressively changing toward
majority rule.
Mr. Treurnicht's rise to power in
South Africa ensures a slowdown in
even the cosmetic change in that
country. And while American
corporations may be dedicated to
equalizing work conditions in the South
African facilities, it is now clear that
they can do nothing to change
conditions outside the office or factory.
Their presence only lends financial
support to the South African apartheid
regimes. Clearly, the Regents should
be able to see this now. What, if not
these latest developments, will it take
to convince the Regents that this
University should not condone
aparheid by its investments in
corporations which operate in South
Africa. We anxiously await the
Regents' answer.

George Jefferson, star of the popular black
comedy series, "The Jeffersons," returns to
his old Harlem neighborhood on Christmas
Eve to aid a needy family. At the commercial
break, a black family celebrates a reunion
with smiles and Pepsi-Cola all around.
From all such outward appearances-"The
Jeffersons," black faces in commercials,
black reporters and black radio
broadcasters-equal opportunity now
prevails in the media.
But behind this black and white picture of
harmony on the airwaves is a pattern of black
exclusion from media employment as serious
as ever.
The myth that blacks now play a
consequential role in the shape and
operations of the networks was effectiely
shattered last summer by a lengthy U.S. Civil
Rights Commission report on women and
minorities in television. Appropriately titled
"Window Dressing on the Set," the report
presented statistics on the nunber and
percentage of minorities employed in
program, administrative, and management
positions.
The findings, based on a sample of 40
stations, were dismal. The majors, ABC,
CBS, NBC, came under particular fire. In the
off-camera positions (sound,. lighting,
direction and production) minorities made up
less than 2 percent of the crews.
Blacks and minorities in management
fared even worse. In four categories of
officials ranging from news director to
business manager,rthere were no blacks
employed. Of the 13 top management
categories, only one was held by a black. That
slot, which is a general managership, is held
at an NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.
The prospects for any substantial change in
this situation appear equally grim, especially
after considering the expressed opinions of
those station managers the commission
interviewed. Most were convinced that
minorities "lacked the appropriate,
qualifications or experience necessary" for
the higher positions.
The report also revealed that the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC), whose
responsibility it is to monitor station
practices, has no guidelines specifying that
any of its licensees take affirmative action
stepsto correct deficiencies in minority
employment.
While blacks were making little progress in
behind-the-scenes employment, there did
appear to be a significant breakthrough in
screen access. New shows (almost always
comedy or variety) were being scripted, and
a few name personalities began to prosper.
However, the new 1978-79 season represents
a different ball game. There are no blacks in
any lead roles in any of the new series. Only
ltwo blacks have supporting roles in the 21
shows. The four shows in which blacks held
leading roles last season were cancelled.
Presently, only NBC has even developed a
pilot for a black show, "Harris & Company,"
which may or may not be seen later in the
viewing season.

By Earl Ofari
Many observers thought that. the
spectacular success of a series like "Roots"
would turn the heads of some industry
officials. Their concern has always been over
the proven marketability and "appeal" of
black shows for white audiences. The lack of
committment this year shows that Hollywood
remains unconvinced of black drawing
power.
The pattern of media racism is the same in
commercial advertising. Black visibility,
which certainly has increased in
commercials, again does not represent a
significant employment shift.!
Bill Cosby's smiling face and O.J.
Simpson's sprints through airports obscure
the fact that there are thousands of black

But behind

this
white

black
picture
on the
pattern

and

of harmony
airwaves is a

The deteriorating situation for blacks in the
commercial media has prompted many to
explore the possibilities of employment and
access in the public or non-commercial media
outlets. A few public networks such as the'
independent Pacifica stations have recently
made gains in black employment. Black
managers and program directors have been
hired at Pacifica stations in Berkeley and
Houston.-
This positive trend has not carried over to
those public stations, both TV and radio,
funded by the government-suported
Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
National Public Radio, which airs news and
views programs daily over thousands of,
stations across the country, has only one
black correspondent. He serves as part of the
national/international news team, with the
primary charge of covering African affairs.
If tokenism is the order in TV and radio,
theredare still largenumbers of newspapers
that don't offer even that. A 'study by the
American Society of Newspaper Editors
found that fully 88 per cent of U.S.
newspapers with circulations under 10,000
employed no minority reporters. Other
survey findings showed:
*11 minority members of management out
of the thousands of editors employed by
newspapers;
" expenditures for scholarship and training
programs for prospective mino'rity
journalists decreased from $225,000 to
$115,000 between 1972 and 1977;
. and only four per cent of the editors and
reporters of the newspapers surveyed were,
minority.
Not surprisingly, the lack of blacks in the
media has severely limited coverage ofnews'
and events from the black community. White
editors, either through ignorance or
disinterest, often confine their coverage of the
black community to stereotyped reporting of
crime or entertainment events.
Moreover, there is the additional problem
of biased reporting whichcontinues to creep
into the media's style. "Forced busing,"
"reverse discrimination," "whites
massacred," are loaded terms used again
and again by reporters and announcers in
describing the day's events.
With affirmative action under attack, and
federal and state agencies increasingly
reluctant to "tamper" with the media, the
chances of reversing what the Urban
League's Vernon Jordan labels "the new
negativism" as it affects the media seem
remote. Robert Maynard,; chairman. of the'
Institute for Journalism Education, noted
that newspapers are no longer looking for
minority journalists. "It's not an issue of
supply," he said. "It's an issue of demand."
Earl Ofari is public-affairs analyst for
KPKF radio, Los Angeles, and the author
of "The Myth of Black Capitalism. "This
article was written for Pacific News Service.

Of

black

exclusion from media

employment

as

serious as ever.
actors and actresses denied employment
because they don't possess celebrity name
and status.A TV executive admitted that an
advertiser's sales depend on the public
"identifying" with the product's on-camera
representative.
TV is, of course, America's glamor
medium, so it might be expected that
selectivity in hiring of minorities would be a
persistent issue. But could this also be said of
the operations of radio networks?
The problem for blacks in radio boils down
to one simple thing: absence of ownership.
Radio stations yearly reap millions from
broadcasting "soul" music, while blacks
control virtually none of- the product. Blacks
own 51 commercial stations nationally, in
contrast to the more than 8,000 white-owned
stations.

Diplomatic immunity

T HE UNITED STATES is a nation
which has an economy and social
life based largely on the automobile. In
no other country does the auto mean
quite -so much. Perhaps because the
United states is the kind of nation
where minorities are protected - well,
sometimes - the government has
passed numerous traffic laws to
protect the pedestrian. Or maybe the
traffic laws were passed to ensure
another source of revenue.
Whatever the case, pedestrians in
this country are far better off than in
any other country. But that may
change if the United States
Government complies with a recent
request by the United Nations to grant
immunity from traffic laws in this
country to any diplomat connected to
the world body. If such immunity were
guaranteed by the United States, it
could produce virtual havoc in a city in
which it is already too dangerous to
cross the street-New York.
Can anyone in this country even
imagine what New York - or for that
matter any other city where United
Nations delegates care to roam -
would be like if a diplomat were given
carte blanche to drive in the manner

she or he is most accustomed? The oft
told stories about maniacal Italian
drivers are no exaggeration. The
French, although their government
has been cracking down on bad drivers
lately, are not much better. A French
citizen, in France, can now legally
drink one aperatif, one-half liter of
wine, and an after-dinner cognac and
still drive an automobile.
But why pick on just the Europeans?
After all, Turkish drivers are
legendary. The Japanese drive on the
left-hand side of the road. And South
Americans in general, are just too
unbelievable.
Moreover; what about all those
chauffeurs who drive those enormous
Cadillac and Mercedes limousines?
They can't wait to use some of those
nifty tricks they learned in those
special schools which teach evasive
driving techniques to save their clients
from the clutches of terrorists.
No, it would be a mistake for the
United States to grant United Nations
diplomats immunity from traffic laws.
For the sake of the great American
pedestrian, the United States should
say no to the United Nations on this
one.

Letters to the Daily

Reggae review
misleading
To the Daily:
It was with great dismay that I
read the article above on October
25th. My dismay is shared by
members of the African, West
Indian and Afro American
community in Ann Arbor and
elsewhere.
The writer begins by assuring
his readers that is no authority on
Reggae music. By the end of this
article the reader is left with no
doubt that this is the
truth-Richburg has produced an
article that is not a review, not a
critique and not an explanation.
The article, furthermore,
contains information that is
incorrect.
I am most disappointed to see
that the Michigan Daily, in
publishing this article has done
more than contribute its two
cents worth to the exhaustive list
of already existing lies, myths
and half-truths that surround
Reggae music and Rastafan. I
would love to know who told Keith
Richburg that Haile Selassie the
first appeared to Bob Marley in a
LSD vision. This statement is
typical of the Ameican
attitude-anything tfiat cannot be
attributed to scientific fact must
be drug-induced.
There are numerous other
erroneous statements in this
article:
" The statement, "The flag on
the set was red, green and yellow,
the colors of Ethiopia-
Babylon-the fulfillment - of
Garvey's prophecy," . . . raises
questions like "is Ethiopia
considered Babylon? (I am not
aware that it is!). Which
prophecy of Garvey's is he

such poor journalism to spray
itself across the pages of an
altogether fine publication. If
Reggae is not important enough
to research on and get the facts
straight then don't spread lies
and progaganda. Leave it alone
unless you are going to give it the
benefit of truth and be careful in
reporting on it. This community
is very finely tuned in to the
Reggae sound and does not
appreciate careless reporting.
If your writers are not willing
to search for the truth, the facts
behind.the myths that mediocre
publications advocate, then don't
publish the half-truths that will
mislead the ignorant. I am truly
disappointed with this brother
and this article.
-Selamanit
A Jamaican sister
"
Intellectualism
on campus
Tothe Daily:
As an out-of-state teacher who
has recently returned to graduate
school, I don't fully understand
the major U-M issues yet.
However, because I was
interested in the process of
decision-making, I attended-a
good portion of the Regents'
meeting last Thursday. And .I
came away very impressed.
Any school that can produce
students with the intellectualism,
reasoning powers, and oral skills
displayed by many of those who
spoke at that meeting must be
doing something right! Those
students who addressed the
Michigan Union changes and,
most especially, those who
favored a restructuring of U-M's

situation. The student remarks
were concise, respectfully
delivered, devoid of extraneous
emotion, and suitably intelligent.
I cannot help but think that the
Regents and administrators
present at that meeting must
have been filled with pride while
listening to these students.
Regardless of any Regent's prior
position on the issues being
discussed, I'm betting he felt
impressed as these students
demonstrated their abilities. I
know that I, as a teacher, would
have been proud if I could have
claimed a small part in their
intellectual development.
(Incidentally, I was also
impressed by Professor
Weiss kopf's reasonable,
provisional plea in response to a
potentially emotional situation.
Even if some other school can
claim credit for inspiring his
education, U-M can be credited
with having the wisdoni to hire
him.)
At any rate, those six students
made me proud to be a part of the
community of scholars that they
so impressively represent.
-Renee Betz
"
Police brutality
To the Daily:
It doesn't matter that the
rowdy fans who tore down the
Michigan Stadium goal posts
Saturday may have been wrong.
The brutal response of the police
that I witnessed was far worse,
and was the kind of action that

If police want respect, they
should learn to grow up. Their'
superiors, Police Chief Walter '
Krasny and Mayor Louis Belcher
must also be heldhpersonally
responsible for the, police'
brutality exhibited Saturday. I:
feel an immediate investigation
is warranted.
-Dan Ruben
k0
History distorted
To the Daily:
Mr. Milbrath's distortion of
history in your issue of November
16th has stirred my historical
conscience into a reply. Tho.
Russia had already violated
much of the Yalta agreements,
notably in Poland, the first major
breach was the seizure of
Czechoslovakia in 1948,
transforming what was perhaps
under Masaryk and Benes the
freest country in eastern Europe
into the most thoroughly ensla-
ved today.
As for unlilateral
disarmament, it may certainly
decrease the danger of war from
mutual tension, but it increases:
the danger of war from
aggression. Russia, and Hitler's
Germany, "picked on" many ;
small weak states...
Unpreparedness did not protect
any of them. So it might well be;
that unilateral disarmament
would increase the chances of
war.

i

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