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July 28, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-28

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The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, July 28, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
End the Kent gymnasium;
start the Kent memorial
WHAT IS HAPPENING at Kent State University (KSU)
in Kent, Ohio is very sad.. The KSU trustees, despite
the efforts of a group of protestors, seem destermined
to press ahead with the construction of a gymnasium
on the site of the 1970 slayings.
The U.S. Interior Department is presently studying
a proposal to turn the site into a national historic
monument, a move we wholeheartedly support. It isn't
clear what effect this would have on the gym construc-
tion, but anything that would preserve the site is worth
a try.
The National Park Service currently maintains his-
toric sites at Gettysburg, Shiloh, Bunker Hill and York-
town, among other places. The dead of those wars are
remembered with stone monuments, reconstructed build-
ings, and parades on Memorial Day.
The dead of the Vietnam War can have no such"
memorial. They were killed in a senseless war 3,000 miles
from home, they produced no heroes, and above all they
had the bad luck to fight in The One We Lost.
NO ONE WANTS to remember iVetnam; certainly not
the KSU Trustees, who apparently gave very little
thought to where they would locate their gym. But the
war and the protest it spawned deserve to be remem-
When this generation turns old and sits around in
lawn chairs watching the Memorial Day parade it won't
be Khe Sanh and Da Nang they'll talk about, it'll be
Sproul Hall and Kent State University. The students
currently opposing the gym aren't proud of the war
they fought - they're proud of the way they fought
against the war. There is a lot of history at Kent State,
and it deserves better than to have a gymnasium built
on top of it.
President Carter has the power to declare areas
national historic sites. Besides being the kind of sym-
bolic, grandstand play Carter loves (the sweater, the
pardon, the fireplace) it would memorialize a chapter
of American history.

Ten years after race rioting,
divisions, hatred are impacted

The s c e n e of citizens gone
wild in the New York blackout
of 1977 has recalled the long hot
summers of the 1960s, with loot-
ers carting off their plunder
against a background of arson.
But there were key differ-
ences: the looters of 1977 were
much younger than the rioters
of 1967; and there were no Mal-
colm Xs or Martin Luther Kings
walking the s t r e e t s to cool
things down.
While the New York blackout
brought out thousands of oppor-
tunists who went back to obey-
ing the law 25 hours later,
thousands more belong to a lost
generation of inner-city youth
whose turn at lawlessness did
not begin or end with the latest
IT IS IRONIC this nation's
worst outbreak of urban vio-
lence occurred exactly 10 years
after President Johnson appoint-
ed his National Advisory Com-
mission on Civil Disorders, the
group of prominent Americans
who warned the country was
"moving toward two societies-
one black, one white-separate
and unequal."
While many educated, middle-
class blacks have since been in-
tegrated into the A m e ri c a n
mainstream, a large number-
perhaps a majority - did net
substantially benefit from the
civil rights movement. They re-
mained poor and continued to
live in Harlem and Watts and
Hunter's Point.
Most of the indices of poverty,
illegitimacy, unemployment and
drug abuse that were a national
scandal in the 1960s are even
worse now. And what has made
the situation even more explo-
sive is youth; half the black
population in this country is
-under 24 years old.
Young blacks are at the core
of the greatest concern of city
dwellers today: crime.
ACCORDING to the FBI, half
of thoserarrested for violent
crimes are under 18. Nearly 50

problem makes it a ticklish pub-
lic issue for social sicentists and
politicians. Recently, a number
of national magazines have pub-
lished stories on juvenile crime,
but without confronting the im-
plications of race.
Some are not so reticent, how-
ever. Francis Ward, writing in
First World, a black intellectual
magazine, calls young blacks
"an endangered species." He
warns that an entire genera-
tion of black youths in the inner
cities may be lost to lawlessness,
violence a n d unemployment.
And he points out both black
and White victims of juvenile
crime are calling for more re-
pressive measures. Already, a
number of states have passed
laws loweringthe age for treat-
ing juvenile criimnals as adults.
One economist estimates a
million young blacks in 25 ma-
jor cities form an underclass
that simply has no future in
America. Most of those who
commit violent crimes, robberies
and muggings and most of
those who were out looting dur-
ing the blackout come from that
the Presidential Commission a
decade ago has nearly come
true. We have two societies-but
neither is completely black or
completely white.kA sizeable
portion of the black population
has moved into the mainstream,
but an equally large number has
joined the class of expendables.,
Tie young people in these
blighted communities may not
be able to read magazines of
social commentary, but they are
aware of the new attitude. They
see it in schools that no longer
pretend to te'ach them, in law
enforcement whose only concern
is containmenthand in the ad-
mission by their government
that four of 10 young blacks in
their communities will never
enter the labor market simply
because there is no room for
them. Even most of those who
do get jobs will lose ground as
the income gap betwen black
and white continues to widen,
The black middle class, which
gave these communities stabil- '
ity and provided role models for
the young, has moved to better
jobs and better neighborhoods,

what happens to them is not of
concern to the majority.
There is little national outcry
about the huge increase in drug
use since the 1960s, or about the
fact that murder is the greatest
cause of death among young
black men.
A DECADE ago, most white
Americans understood the vio-
lence of the riots because the
political message was c I e a r.
Blacks would no longer accept
second-class status. But after a
dozen years of trying to under-
stand each other, we experience
lawlessness on a broad scale,
without political content, with-
out anger, without purpose other
than personal gratification.
Having been *stamped as out-
siders, those young blacks and
Puerto Ricans have done little
more than behave like outsiders.
They have forned their own
societies, g a n g s, clubs and
packs, with their own values
and standards of behaivor. Their
dreams are still the dreams of
America: the good life, money,
the big car and nice clothes.
But there is also tragedy for
those who only wait and watch.
They have no one who will listen
to them and no one to tell them
to stop. There was only a mayor
expressing his "outrage" at ac-
tions that should have created
no surprise.
To see a group of people act
against all conventions of law
and decency is frightening. But
there should be greater fear for
a society that has created a
group of people that listens to
no one, follows no one and re-
spects no one. It should tell us
the degree of lawlessness in this
country goes far deeper than
stolen t e 1 e v i s i-o n sets and
burned-out storefronts.
I o e l Dreyfuss, formerly a
staff reporter covering urban
af f airs for The Washington
Post, New York Post and Asso-
ciated Press, is a member of the
Pacific News Service founda-
tion-funded city project.
Editorials and cartoons that
appear on the right side of
the Editorial Pae are the
opinion of the a uth or- or
artist, and not necessarily
the opinion of the paper.

per cent of these juveniles. are
black. While the population of
red VA convictions,",run on New York City has declined
Daily staffer Keith B. Rich- since 1950, the number of youths
..-A-- staf---r Keitha B.eRich- "

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