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April 14, 1974 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-04-14

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martin porter
tony schwartz
design editor:
rolfe tessen

sundcay

magozine

contributing editors:
laura berman
howie brick
chris parks

Number 22 Page Three
FEAT

April 14, 1974
TURES

Stuck

in

a

non-era:

We're

flaun ting
worrying
By CHRIS PARKS
HIS IS NOT just the end of another
school year. On campus, and in the
nation at large, it is the end of an era.
A catchy, convenient thought. Sadly, how-
ever, it isn't true. At times in the activist
sixties it may have been, and even in the
first years of the seventies, when the 're-
turn to normalcy' began.
But what's happening now feels like
neither the beginning nor the end of an
era. It's more like an endless morass of
non-era, with nothing tangibly different in
sight.
It is the, eve of graduation for many of
us, and never, as a group, have we felt so
divided and lost. The committed are splin-
tered among a multitude of separate and
often warring factions. And the uncommit-
ted, or no longer committed - most of us
it seems - simply endure.
When we first came here four years ago,
there was a feeling that, as young people
and students, we shared a common set of
beliefs and goals. We were consciously un-
conscious of our differences. In a mold of
naive- egalitarianism, which held that dif-
ferences between people shouldn't exist,
we ignored them, or papered them over,
and - when necessary - we suppressed
them. The movement was broad, encom-
passing everyone with basically humanis-
tic values, and it was aimed at The War.
THE WAR, of course, was the issue, the
number one evil and source of all other
evils: Our common ideology was based
upon opposing it and everything and
everyone associated with it. (Our politics
were based, nearly in their entirety, upon
things we were against; but because these
things were evil, we were, of course, a
positive force).
Our struggle was with Them. Them who
had all the power, controlled the military,
the government, industry, commerce, the
media and the University. We struggled be-

o u r o
about

ifferences,

the

future

suspect many of us
who voted for HRP feel
no closer to the party's
leaders than to the
people on the
impeachment or
tuition hike
cornmittees."
cause we knew we were right, and would
soon have The People on our side. Nat-
urally we believed right would out, but in
any event, the struggle would be decisive.
No one really knows when it ended. Some
of us still can't believe it has. Rather it
ran its collective course, and now its
many disparate elements have simply set-
tled into other things.
In any case, people who come to campus
today looking for the student movement
will find, instead, a hundred separate and
isolated little movements bobbing aimless-
ly about.
We have gone from suppressing our dif-
ferences to proudly flaunting them. We,
who believed we had the world in com-
mon, are now convinced we have nothing
in common. We hide behind tags, peering
out suspiciously at each other.
BACK THEN, it was enough if you were
under thirty, wore blue jeans and op-

posed the war. Now we have to know if
you're male or female, blackorwhite,
gay or straight, liberal, radical, socialist,
communist, anarchist, Maoist, Trotskyite,
sparticist, or labor committee. Or maybe
you're into one of a hundred gurus, medi-
tation groupsor other odd mystic orders.
And if you're into one, it's a sure bet you're
not into the other; and that those who are
probably aren't talking to you this month.
And then, of course, there's the rest of
us. We don't belong to anything, except of
course, our cliques. We think of ourselves
as liberal, but we aren't committed'to
anything. We like to consider ourselves
liberated, but changing values and sex
roles confuse and threaten us, and often
we find ourselves falling back on the old
ones.
But, most of all, we worry. We worry
about our sexual attractiveness, our social
lives, our relationshins. More than before,
we worry about our classes, grades, getting
into grad school or getting a job (like
a famous "Graduate" of a few years back,
we're "worried about our future").
We worry, and so we spend our' week-
ends at the Del-Rio, Flood's and the Pretzel
Bell and we drink too much.
The result is that this year has been a
time of leaders without followers; move-
men;s which didn't move anyone.
In the fall, some of us believed that tui-
tion hikes-a solid, "bread and butter" is-
sue-might rouse us into some sort of ac-
tion at least vaguely reminiscent of our ear-
ly days here.
The Regents-the campus' highly myster-
ious absentee board of directors-have no
qualms about violating the sabbath of our
summer vacation. In August, while we
were off in Europe (the Great Escape), or
interning in Washington, or back home
working the swing shift in the local fac-
tory, they decided to make being a stu-
dent 24 per cent more expensive.
The cavalier, unwarranted nature of the

1970

1 974

action was qoickly evident and, in the tra-
ditional welcoming speech to the fresh-
men, Lee Gill, our black, stylish and dy-
namic student body president, called on us
to defy. the Regents and refuse to pay. The
administration held its breath .. .
But they shouldn't have bothered. Follow-
ing the late sixties pattern, the campus'
leaders - mostly self-appointed - formed
themselves into a steering committee and
proclaimed a Mass Meeting. Some 100 of
the masses - mostly friends of the lead-
ers --- showed up and wrote a List of De-
mands. Students who thought they were

striking to get their tuition lowered were
in for a surprise. The next morning, in
leaflets and in news stories, they learned
they were doing it for Third World self-
determination and for the struggle of the
working class.
WITHIN A few weeks, most of us had
joined the sullen lines in front of the
cashier's window and paid up.
Equally under-whelming was the im-
peachment issue - another "natural".
Most everybody around here voted for
McGovern and a nearly equal number have
long despised the Nixon who barricaded his

White House with busses and watched foot-
ball during demonstrations, and who has
less local credibility than Clifford Irving.
So, of course, there had to be a commit-
tee, which naturally, called a rally, at
which we learned we were demanding an
end to racism, sexism and imperialism as
well as the president.
And gradually people lost interest. It
wasn't that we didn't support most of
these things, especially impeachment. It
just seems like most of us have lost faith
in our ability to do anything about them. We
(Continued on Page 6)

4

Liberals and militants on

the question of race-mixing

By CHERYL PILATE
GARISH LIGHTS pulsate to the rhythm
of an off-beat drummer, smoke billows
out from the tables scattered around the
dance floor and black dudes sporting super-
fly hats and slick platform shoes stare bold-
ly at the women walking past.
Setting down his beer and crushing his
cigarette, a sinewy black male moves over
to the table next to him and offers a drink
to the blonde woman sitting in the corner.
On the other side of the room, a black
man wearing a green silk shirt and match-
ing alligator belt and shoes is dancing with
a woman whose halter top reveals a bare,
white midriff.
One of the more popular pick-up joints in
town, The Scene, is known as a place where
people both of the opposite sex--and the
opposite race can meet.
Although interracial dating is gaining in-
creased acceptance, especially in liberal
college towns, it is also meeting with in-
creased resistance from a core of militant
blacks.
In 1971, a Harris poll commissioned by
Life magazine found general acceptance of
both black/white dating and intermarrige.
Although some concern was expressed about
the possible success of such relationships,
66 per cent of the poll's respondents felt
that societal acceptance of intermarriage
was only a generation away.
THESE FINDS were in contrast to a
national poll conducted in 1965 in which
nearly half of the participants favored mak-
ing interracial marriage a crime.,
The Bureau of the Census lists 51,00
known interracial marriages with a one-to-
one ratio between black man/white woman
c o u p 1 e s and white man/black woman
couples.
However, in the past few years, an in-
eragin rnumber f h1arks hae risen un

white utopian dreams - we are still im-
mersed in struggle against them," she
asserts in bitterness.
Her turban-swathed head cocked to one
side, she lashes out at racism in sharp
articulate tones.
"YOU PROBABLY don't understand how
racist it is for a white woman to be-
come involved with a black man. As it is,
there aren't enough black men for black
women anyway-most of them are either in
jail, fighting overseas or just plain blown
away by drugs-the few that are left have
white women grabbing at them."
Although at one time romantically in-
volved with a white man, Jean is now a
black activist who believes that "discipline
and self-control" are essential to prohibit-
ing intermarriage.
"Too often black men are the dupes.
They are caught by aggressive white wo-
men who have been led to believe they can
have anything they want," she declares.
"That's why so often you'll see a white
woman on the arm of the black man that
has the Afro and wears the dashiki. It
makes my blood boil to watch blacks go
sucking up to people who have thrown shit
at them for hundreds of years."
Plucking some imaginary lint off her
knit top, she is silent for a moment as her
mood softens. A grin spreads over her face.
"I could imagine nothing so dull as a
world all one color," she says. "I hope it
never happens."
THERE ARE many others who feel that
intermarriage is the only solution to the
problems of segregation and hatred.
Bill, a 26-year-old black author who was
jailed during the 1967 Detroit race riots
for allegedly inciting violence, bitterly de-
nounces those whom he considers to be
racist. At the same time, however, he is
Ii inO' with a white wnman and sees no rea-

A SOLUTION OR A PROBLEM?

that this attraction exists, Bill is glib as he
explains:
"At one time, there was as much pres-
tige attached to having a white girlfriend
as to owning a Cadillac. In an all-black com-
munity, having a white girlfriend made you
different, worth something -it made our
middle-class dreams more tangible."
Bill denies, however, that status-seeking
attitudes play any role in his relationship
with white women. "We're all human be-
ings-you hit it off with somebody because

you've got it for each other," he says.
"Color has nothing to do with it."
"Besides," he reflects with a sardonic
grin, "what about all the wild-beast sexual
mythologies that used to be applied to the
black man? I know of some white women
who are psychologically addicted to screw-
ing with black flesh."
Although Bill doubts he will every marry,
he strongly endorses the concept of inter-
marriage and believes that the children
from such a marriage would not neces-

sarily suffer from an identity crisis. "As
far as the kids are concerned, there don't
have to be any special problems-unless
you try and live middle-class," he says.
Lighting up a BelAir, he mulls over what
has been termed "reverse racism."
"SOME BLACK WOMEN have gotten
down on me because I get it together
with white women. I try to explain to them
that color isn't important - but they just
don't dig honkies," he says.
Last year, a group of local blacks banded
together and formed a group called BOM
(Blacks Opposed to Miscegenation) to com-
bat intermarriage. The group no longer
exists because, in the words of one spokes-
person, "fighting intermarriage is no longer
a top priority. We must direct more of
our energies towards combatting racism."
An all-inclusive definition of racism is
nearly impossible to formulate since the
label 'racist' has been pinned on every-
one from the anti-bussing segregationists
to those who seek to destroy purity and
intermarry.
There are also people who are seemingly
unaware of racism in any of its forms.
Carol, a white bank accountant and Uni-
versity drop-out, who looks like a model
from Seventeen magazine, lives on the out-
skirts of the city, with her black boy-
friend in apparent oblivion of interracial
tensions.
Although she acknowledges that Ann Ar-
bor is a unique place where mixed couples'
are more readily accepted, Carol has no
qualms regarding her eventual marriage
to Rob - regardless of where they live.
"We've both talked about getting married
and our color difference doesn't seem to
present much of a problem."
Carol, who comes from a conservative
white middle-class family, says her par-

long brown hair, she confides, "Although I
wasn't attracted to Rob because of his
color - it's sort of a fun fantasy trip to
have sex with a black man."
"But," she adds, just being black has
nothing to do with my sexual or emotional
attachment to him. Our only motivation
However, there are many people who
believe that not even the forces of love can
justify intermarriage.
Greg, a black activist and long-time
University employe, believes that "black
people who are into blackness will never
intermarry."
"If a black person has pride in himself
- he does not look to another race and
feel inferior or the need to mate with
them," he claims.
Greg doesn't quite fit the media-inspir-
ed image of a black militant. He is quietly
dressed and small in stature, with a. few
gray hairs scattered throughout his short,
kinky Afro.
CHARGING THAT the "mixing of the
races has always been determined by
white folks," he lashes out at a society
which has forced many blacks to "identify
with the whites who have oppressed them
and cut their balls off."
Greg is usually opposed to intermarriage
but does not condemn those who choose
to intermarry.
However, he believes that any black
with a white mate could never be accepted
as a militant leader. "People would be
suspicious of him," he says. When a black
spouts radical rhetoric, yet has a white
woman on his arm - it is like admitting
that he believes in white superiority."
Soft-spoken and amiable, Greg believes
that "someday all people may be able to
accept each other" but doesn't think "the
An..ZI .. m ir- - rnm .ixrha n-nnl -n ..

...:
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