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November 14, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-14

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Page 4-Wednesday, November 14, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Letters from Peking:

By John Roderick

1br Mitdpgau 3a41i,
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedor

Chinese grapple

Vol. LXXXX, No. 60

News Phone: 764-0552

with inflation, democracy

+t '1

Edited and managed by 'students at the University of Michigan

Anti-redlining legislation
can end discrimination

T HE PUBLIC'S two-year battle
against insurance rip-offs and in-
surance company fraud has finally en-
ded in a cease-fire, with the signing
yesterday of a model bill outlawing
The bill basically prohibits the
discriminatory practice of issuing
across-the-board higher insurance
rates for urban dwellers, which has led
to the general deterioration of major
cities like Detroit. Redlining practices
in Michigan based on residency in the
urban centers made it next to im-
possible for some Detroiters to assure
the basic necessity of insuring their
home or car. The geographical
discrimination has been said to be a
product of declining urban areas,
where crime is higher and automobiles
and homes are more of a liability or
target of rip-off artists than a basic
necessity of life. But the case is quite
the other way around - the
discrimination of insurance companies
is not an outgrowth of urban problems,
but rather the most direct cause, and
that is one ugly aspect of urban decay
this particular bill can arrest.
What's more, insurance companies'
systematic discrimination has been
more sweeping and all-encompassing
than the Ann Arbor human rights code.
Insurance companies in this state
discriminate against women, singles,
and minorities. In fact, geographical
discrimination is nothing more nor less
than a thinly-disguised form of racial
discrimination, mainly because all the
areas discriminated against are
psually the areas inhabited
predominantly by blacks. In fact, this
form of geographical discrimination,
particularly in home insurance, is in
some resbects more obnoxious than
blatant racial discrimination since it is
more easily covered and quickly

defended. This kind of racism which
should have been wiped out in the bill
of rights is one of the unfortunate
aspects of society this new bill can
This bill, signed in ceremonies
yesterday, has been hailed by all those
who oppose insurance discrimination
as a landmark piece of legislation that
should form the model for a national
anti-redlining bill. The very adamancy
with which insurance companies op-
posed the bill should serve as notice
that anti-redlining efforts like this will
have a major inpact on what to now
has been an accepted part of life for
many oppressed people.
And the victims of redlining are in-
deed oppressed, as discrimination is a
denial of the basic rights of equality
upon which this nation was supposedly
founded. Young people, single people,
minorities are all oppressed by the
discriminatory practices of a system
aimed against them - a system
weighted heavily in favor of those who
run the insurance companies, the
credit card companies, the mortgage
companies, and the real estate
This bill in itself will not end the
practice of redlining, as oppressors
have historically shown that when they
are obsessed with the rightneousness
of their oppression, they will fight even
the law to continue their
discriminatory practices. This law will
not work unless it is vigorously enfor-
ced, and that in part requires an effort
by every consumer who has been a vic-
tim -of redlining to make the guilty par-
ties known. Only with such a concerted
effort, and with this bill as the impetus,
can redlining, and the ugly, base racial
discrimination that entailed, be wiped
away forever.

PEKING-Along with the autumn
leaves, some other things also have
begun to change in China, not to
everyone's undiluted satisfaction.
The biggest change-the one
which has hit a hundred million
pocketbooks-is the steep rise Nov. 1
in the retail prices of pork, beef,
mutton, poultry, eggs, fish and milk.
Though the price boosts averaged
around 33 per cent, considering the
fact that prices have been stable for
three decades, the government can
be pardoned for insisting it wasn't
taken it in stride, largely because
they knew of it in advance and every
worker gets the equivalent of $3.33 a
month to offset the higher cost of
Everyone knows, too, that the in-
creases have been brought about by
whopping rises in the money the
government gives the peasants for
their products. This is part of the
vigorous campaign to narrow the
gaping differences between town
and country and establish a firm
base for the 21 year modernization
"My parents, who are on a com-
mune, are better off than they were
before," said one city official.
"There will be hardships, par-
ticularly for large families, among
those in the cities. But the city still is
a better and more comfortable pace
in which to live than the country."
Foreign reporters touring city
markets for reaction have been
astonished to find what a variety of
food the Chinese have to choose
from. It varies from liver pate to
choice cuts of meat, though
rationing is in effect in many areas.
The abundance of 1979 undoub-
tedly is another reason for accepting
the price hikes without complaint.
Things weren't so good a few years
IF THE CHINESE were subdued,
foreigners in China were not. They
reacted with cries of anguish as the
government raised the prices of food

in its Friendship stores, where
foreigners shop, by as much as 100
per cent.
This wouldn't have been so bad if
the prices were at the Chinese level
before the increase. But in fact,
they already were considerably
higher. The government's ex-
planation is that quality is better,
but this is not always the case.
Foreigners need not confine their
shopping to these stores, but in prac-
tice their Chinese cooks and
household help tend to do so because
it is more convenient and because
they are officially encouraged to do
"There's absolutely no reason to
raise Friendship store prices," said
one irate Englishman. "The only
reason is the conviction we are able
to pay. But some of us cannot. We
get no subsidies from home."
An American businessman saw it
another way. "We've never had a
real argument for a living allowance
here," he said. "Now that prices are
going up, we do."
The second event that affected the
Chinese though in a less obvious
way, was the trial last month of 29-
year-old Wei Jiongsheng, the coun-
try's best known civil rights
Accused of being a counter-
revolutionary and of having given
military secrets to an unidentified
foreigner, he was sentenced to 15
years prison after a 5-/2 hour trial.
way, they had a stake in the trial.
They were the innocent victims of
repression in the 15 years when the
Communist Party's extremists ran
the country. The new moderate
leadership that succeeded them has
promised to restore the long-absent
rule of law-beginning Jan. 1. So in a
sense this was looked on as a
possible model of things to come.
The harshness of the verdict
prompted an oral protest from the
United States and dismayed many
Chinese. Considering the brevity of
the trial, the failure to produce the,
foreigner involved to confirm or

deny the accusation, and the fact'
that it was only partially reported in'
the press, it seemed to them to have 4
been a not entirely satisfactory
blueprint for the future.
The movement toward wider
democracy, instituted by Vice
Premier Deng Xiaoping late last
year, has caught on with a society
eager to accept, within limits, ideas,,
from the West. But a significant
hard core still looks on any criticism'
or free expression with fear and
suspicion. They feel more comfor,-
table with bureaucratic conformity. .
Through newspapers, radio,
television, the stage and literature'
all now reflect the new feeling for,
democracy,. its symbol remains
Peking's lone "Democracy Wall," a
600-foot stretch of wall on Changan'
Avenue where anyone can express
himself on anty subject.
THE POSSIBILITY that this is.
the last bastion of free-if
sometimes eccentric-thought may
also disappear was hinted at receri-,
tly by Peking's China Youth News, -
which sets itself up as guardian of
youthful morality.
"It is impossible to study-
problems seriously or in any depth
through big character posters put
up on the streets," it said. "Because
spectators unfamiliar with the
relevant facts would find it hard ta
distinguish between right and
wrong, facts show that such posters'
are apt to be used by those who have-
ulterior motives to create confusion
in production, work and society At"
Dissidents had put up what they,
described as a transcript of the Wei
trial on the battered old wall. There,
Peking's citizens can read a version,
at least, of what went on in the cour-
troom, one far more complete than
that supplied officially.
All this seemed distasteful to the
Youth News. It warned there is no
future for those who oppose
socialism or Communist leadership.
"The lesson of Wei Jhingsheng and
how he slipped onto the counte'-
revolutionary road is worthy of at:
tention," it said.

The drinking age

Letters to

FACED WITH the unpopular and
controversial drinking age law,
bar owners in Michigan had two
choices. They could risk the wrath of
local and state enforcement agencies
by letting everyone over 18 into their
establishment, or guarantee the law's
strict enforcement by keeping those
under 21 out in the cold.
Choosing the latter option, several
local bar owners have put themselves
squarely at odds with the state's
Department of Civil Rights and the in-
dividual liberties of adults under 21. By
making sure nobody disobeys the law
in their establishment, these owners
are denying the civil rights of many
University students without any proof
that they would openly violate the law
by having a drink. The suspicion may
have validity but without any
overriding evidence, the imposed
restriction on 18-to-20-year-olds runs
contrary to an individual's right to
assemble in a public meeting place and
to carry out open conversation free
from outside interference.
The motives of the bar owners make
a lot of sense. They are justifiably
worried that the state's Liquor Control
Commission may revoke their license
if it finds anyone under 21 drinking in
their establishments. Since many
students under the required age do find

ways to skirt the year-old law, a
revocation of a liquor license is a very
real possibility. But the answer,
however, for those bar owners is to con-
tinue to try to only give liquor to those
over 21. If their younger friends get
their hands on it, there's nothing the
owners can do about it.
If the efforts of a dedicated group
prove successful, perhaps those
troubled bar owners will no longer
have to make a tough decision on the
drinking age question. A committee
has formed to lower the state drinking
age back to 19 by placing the question
once again before the voters in
November. The group, Citizens for a
Fair Drinking Age, is currently cir-
culating the necessary petitions and
forming a lobbying organization. Since
the vote was so overwhelmingly in
favor last year, it's going to be an
uphill struggle all the way. And while
the law should return to allowing 18-
year-olds to drink, a move to cut the
age by two years should still be suppor-
ted .vigorously. Last year many
students were apathetic which con-
tributed to the proposal's sweeping
If the next ballot proposal is to have
any chance of success, students will
have to mobilize behind this new group
and counter the large number of sup-
porters who enjoy the status quo.

To the Daily:
As freshmen Dental students
currently taking gross anatomy
we object to the "spirit" of your"
November 8th article
"Cadavers: cold hard facts." The
study of anatomy is obviously
important to students pursuing
health related careers and the
laboratory experience is essen-
tial for proper orientation and
understanding. The anatomy
department staff approaches
their subject with complete sin-
cerity and respect. It is unfair to
these fine teachers " to sen-
sationalize certain aspects of this
course, .Although there is a
degree of humor found in our labs
to help us "cope", it is certainly
no more than in our other
. laboratory classes, and the
overall atmosphere is one of
serious interest in our work. To
talk to a few students and then
devote a front page article to this
subject presents an incomplete
picture of our study of anatomy.
We regret your lack of respect for
this sensitive subject.
James W. DeCapite
Mark L. Salhoney
Richard J. Gardner
Harold O. Steele
Carl C. Druskovich
John Merrill
M. Timothy Wark
Millie Tinker
Robert Williams
Monica Fisher
Gordon Wymore
Gregory Yassick
David C. Oswald

Timothy Shaughnessy
Michael P. Carpenter
Kenneth M. Pozolo
Matthew G. Johnson
Brenda Gordon
Doug Raff
Gregory Davis
Greg W. Loewe
Danny H. Byl
Karen Bartos
Cheryl R. Kluk
Hedy Sarosi
Robert Rousseau
David DeMeglio
Jeffrey W. Easton
Al Pozdol
Thomas E. Butts
Susan Wilhelmsen
Lois Meek
Jeffrey K. Bastin
Lee J. Bentsen
Gary Werkman
Paul H. Domin
Allan Finn
Frederick M. Vega
Grant T. Chyz
Peter Belpedio
John Tomiuk
Ronald H. Flachs
David M. Clark
Richard J. Bakeman
William Beutel
L. G. Cannon
Peter E. Shumaker
Carol A. Lefebvre
David J. Huyser
David Wisse
James S. Pearce
John D. Bruinsma
Jeff Halvorson
David Christensen
Maria Demas
Rob Sachs
Jeffrey S. Meral
Thomas L. Nykamp
To the Daily:

e Dail
form of artistic expression. and subtle messages
Therefore, we who decry this ex- do not exist apart
ploitation of women should not sexual function would
ask potential viewers not to fund bombard the viewers
this oppression. We may only By asserting
educate people on the adverse ef- widespread mov
fects of pornography. discourage attendan
The Michigan Daily has drawn films should be f
two invalid distinctions in for- K\.ichigan Daily isc
mulating its potition: the distin- right to persuade oth
ction between education viewers right of those who ar
and persuading them not to see to express them selve
the movie and the distinction tending. The essence
between cultural expression and speech is to persua
other types of activity. In effect, accept your beliefs
the Michigan Daily has called for cordingly, as long
an abridgement of our right to rights are not violate
political speech to protect artistic The second disti
expression from the laws of sup- Michigan Daily mak
ply and demand. artistic expression a
- Apart from its dubious ar- tivities, is equally un
tistic function, pornography is a Is it more impor
three billion dollars a year oppressive form of ai
business. It is such a big business an unjustified wa
because there is a large demand labor conditions orc
for porn. If demand decreases, ted officials? If then
supply will dwindle. Simple be persuaded not to1
economic. Our ultimate goal is to port to these other oi
end the supple of pornography by tivities, why denyc
cutting off the demand. persuasion here?
The first step to decreasing The First Amendm
demand is to educate people on speech from the ma
the destructive effects of por- only insofar as th
nography. We hope that once seeks to bar, intimid
educated, a person ordinarily coerce speech. No
would not care to see the movie. even been advanced
anymore unless he or she dervies must be protecte
entertainment from watching the capitalistic system o
degradation of a class of people__ demand. If no one wa
the entertainment cannot be the speech,' has af
separated from the oppression. wrong been perpetr
Realisticaly, is there much dif- the speech-maker?
ference between educating I view the Michi
someone who then loses the reverence for artisti
desire to see porn and going one regardless of conten
step further by asking that per- ticism. Does it mourn
son not to see the film? Filling of the Black min

that women
from their
d continue to
that i
ement t'O
nce at porn
ormed, the,
denying our
-hers and thO
re persuaded a
res by not at ,-e o ol t c l
e of political
de others td
and act ac--
as others'
inction the"
kes, between-
and other ac
tant that an:
art exist than.'
r, inhuman;
corrupt elec-w
majority cah
give its su-
ppressive aq-4
our right of
ient protects
ajority's will'
he majority
date, chill er
theory has
ithat speech
d from our;
of supple anO
wants to hear
ated against
igan Daily's
c expressioin
nt with skep
'n the passing
strel shows

ewbe tic t ti

Sue Warner................................EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


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