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November 11, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-11

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A

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, November11, 1982 The Michigan Daily
Breaking ground for blacks in business

I

After breaking ground for blacks
in the world of tennis, Arthur Ashe
now is attempting to do the same in
the world of corporate America.
Ashe currently works as a minority
recruiting consultant for the Aetna
insurance corporation. Daily staff
writers Julie Hinds and Sharon
Silbar spoke to Ashe last month
during a recruiting trip about the
problems- and the oppor-
tunities-black college students en-
counter.

culture shock was more than they could
handle. And not only could they not
handle it, there was no.one for them to
talk to about it.
You also have at a school this size a
built-in tendency to keep things exactly
the way they are. It doesn't take a far
leap of the imagination to find a student
wondering why this University doesn't
respond to him, saying, "This place is
the pits. Let me out of here." But
Michigan isn't alone in that.
Daily: At the colleges you've
visited-particularly the smaller black
colleges-are students afraid they
won't complete their education because
of Reagan's cutbacks in federal aid? Do
you think that could have a devastating
effect on getting blacks into the cor-
porate ranks?
Ashe: At a crucial time when you're
full of hope and expectation, to have
your hope dashed by something beyond
your control is very frustrating. I've
just been to some black schools-
Morehouse and Spellman-and the ef-
fect there is quite noticeable. There's
been a tremendous decrease in the
enrollment; students couldn't find the
money, so they couldn't go back to
school.
What's made it even worse is that a
lot of black students plan on graduating
in five years. You'd be amazed at how
many, know they cannot graduate in
four years-not because they're not
academically qualified, but because
they don't have the money. Their nor-
mal plan is to take off a year to earn
money. Now that the scholarship
monies have been cut off, now they
can't even find a job.
Daily: How effective do you think
Jesse Jackson has been in placing

pressure on major corporations to hire
blacks?
Ashe: Psychologically he's been even
more effective than he has in actuality.
In the past, civil rights movement
boycotts have been very local. What
Jesse's stressing now is that the
political awareness of middle-class
blacks is such that if he tells them
"don't buy x," they won't buy it. It's
worked. I don't think it's an accident
that consumer product companies have
been reaching agreements with Jesse.
Daily: You've made the transition
from a successful sports figure to a
successful corporate figure. But em-
phasis on college sports may take away
from a student's chance to get an
adequate education. Do you think that's
a problem?
Ashe: I always say that more em-
phasis should be placed on education.
After all, that's the reason you're in
college. But the plain and simple fact is
that athletics are a normal part of
college life. I think all accept that-
black and white.
What is bad, though, is that a
disproportionately high percentage of
varsity athletes are black, and they
are only in college to play a sport very
well. If they weren't athletes, not only
would they not be in a particular
college, they wouldn't be in a college at
all.
But it's not only the fault of the
universities, it's the fault of the black
community as well. We place so much
cultural emphasis on sports-we just
exalt those people. We print their
salaries, their cars, their homes in our
magazines. I think it's only natural for
a black kid to want to be another Butch
Woolfolk.

There's still discrimination in sports,
probably more off the field than on. The
NBA has often been called too black;
and that was cited last year as a reason
for declining attendance. When the
NBA is 80 percent black and attendance
drops, people start charging that white
middle-class people don't want to see
two black teams play. There's still a lot
of arm-twisting In other sports for
positions-especially in football for
quarterback. How.many black college
students have had hopes of being a
quarterback and have been put in a dif-
ferent position when they turned pro?
Daily: What about discrimination in
corporate America?
Ashe: Oh, it's there. When you first
enter, there's a good chance your first
boss will not know how to criticize a
young black graduate. If it's done the
wrong way, that superior may be ac-
cused of being racist.
The further on up you go, you have to
learn to play the corporate game.
There's also a disadvantage as you rise
in ranks because more and more
business is done outside the ,business
setting-at country clubs that serve the
rich and the powerful. Black people
don't belong to those clubs. That's a
huge disadvantage. Even the inability
to play golf can wind up being a disad-
vantage for a young black in the
business world. It's difficult sometimes
when no one in your family has done it
before. So many times you're the only
black around.
Dialogue- is a weekly feature of
the Opinion Page.

Daily: Are blacks preparing.
adequately in college to advance to the
corporate level?
Ashe: Yes, but students are looked
after fairly well at Michigan. You have
enough money to hire people to look af-
ter you during your college days more
than just a bull session with your
professor. But in some of the smaller
schools-black as well as white-
unless that school is very, very well en-
dowed, it can't afford the counseling.
Daily: r A college guide for black
students recently rated the University
as "the pits." What sort of feeling do
you get from black students on cam-
pus?
Ashe: Up until recently, the specific
needs of certain groups. like black
students were just not being met. The

Daily Phoooby BIANi MASC.
Ashe: "We place so much cultural emphasis on sports-we just exalt those
people ... I think it's only natural for a black kid to want to be another Butch
Woolfolk."

But if you invest all your sense of self-
esteem into athletic prowess, you've
got real problems.
Daily: Were you surprised at the
amount of discrimination you ran into
as a tennis player?
Ashe: I didn't run into any as a
professional player. As a kid I ran into a
lot, but I was not surprised. I was born
in Richmond, Virginia, which was the
capital of the confederacy. I lived in a
discriminatory environment for all my
formative years. I went to all-black

schools by law. Everything I did was in
a black setting. For a while you think
it's normal, until you see the other side.
Daily: Does a great ,deal of
discrimination exist in other sports
where blacks have yet to establish
themselves?
Ashe: You don't see many black
hockey players, but that's not due to
discrimination. That's a cultural em- «
phasis. You don't see many hockey
players from Alabama, either-black
or white.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman
TME To PRACTCE, SIR-
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COM...

PRO***
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Vol. XCIII, No. 55

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

MISE

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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

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Dashing hopes

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L AST WEEK, when Dean Hinton,
the U.S. ambassador to El
Salvador, told a group of Salvadoran
businessmen that the United States
would no longer tolerate the wholesale
corruption of the country's courts,
many thought a long-hoped-for change
in American policy was beginning to
materialize. Many thought that the
United States, after 17 months of
relative silence on the atrocities in
Central America, was finally going to
start taking constructive action.
Those hopes were dashed early this
week.
On Tuesday, word from the White
House came. Dean Hinton is not to ut-
ter another word criticizing the
Salvadoran government's human
rights violations. Such criticism, a
White House official said curtly, is
"counterproductive." Silence is now
the order of the day.
In context, the administration's
rebuke of Hinton is almost incom-
prehensible. From the time he took his
position in San Salvador, Hinton has
been an active supporter of the
Salvadoran junta and been par-
ticularly virulent in his criticism of the
opponents of the current regime. Hin-
ton has carefully distanced himself
from the "crazy liberals" in the United
States who have called for reform
measures in El Salvador. It was Hinton
who seemed to be on the far right on El
Salvador.
But for the Reagan administration,
even Hinton's position apparently
wasn't conservative enough. Criticism

of Salvadoran oppression - even from
one of the regime's friends-is "coun-
terproductive."
Sadly, it is the administration's
response to the Salvadoran crisis that
is counterproductive. Out of a fear that
legitimate, well-founded criticism may
somehow damage U.S. interests in El
Salvador, the Reagan administration
is going to tolerate in silence the
human rights violations which are
themselves a great threat to the
Salvadoran government.
The Reagan administration justifies
its position on human rights in El
Salvador by suggesting that the only
alternative to rightist military rule is a
communist government. But the
population of El Salvador wants
neither a government of the fanatical
right nor a government of the fanatical
left. They want a Cuban-style workers'
state about as much as they want their
current masters. The support forthe
guerrillas doesn't come from any
grassroots conversion to Marxism; it
comes from a profound dissatisfacton
with the current regime. Like most
people, the Salvadorans only want a
fair stake in the world and the freedom
to enjoy it. Under the current regime,
they have neither.
The latest administration position on
El Salvador is another ste pback from
a peaceful solution to the region's
problems. It will further weaken the
stability of the region, undermine what
few reforms have been made, and
breathe new life into Salvadoran ex-
tremists of all colors.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Comment on the GEO contract vote

14

To the Daily:
I would like to comment on
your report of last Thursday's
GEO meeting ("GEO decides to
head back to bargaining table
with administration," Daily,
Nov. 5). As you write, Jon Bekken
tried to'cast doubt on the validity
of the ratification vote. None of
his insinuations, however, had
any factual basis.
Bekken and others have in the
past accused the election com-
mittee of being partisan "pro-
contract". Suppose we did doctor
up the vote counts-pretty clever
of us to do it in a way that the out-
come wouldn't reflect our sup-
posed preference, isn't it?
Bekken does have an ax to
grind in this affair. The so-called
"Membership for a fair con-
tract." of which he is a leading

proven accusations. Anyone who
wishes to reinspect the ballots
may do so and the election com-
mittee will gladly be of assistan-
ce if so requested.
Contrary to the statement in
the Daily article, the GEO con-
stitution does not require 50 per-
cent of the membership to vote in

order to have a valid election; in
fact, there is no minimum
required percentage. However,
50 percent of the total member-
ship would have to vote for
ratification to have a contract
ratified. I understand the writers
of the constitution had in mind

that a contract which could not
draw support of at least half the
membership could certainly be
improved upon.
-Cay Horstman
member of election
committee for GEO
ratification voting
November 7

Rickover skims surface on ethics

To the Daily:
I have just returned from the
inaugural Warner-Lambert lec-
ture series with retired Admiral
Hyman Rickover. I am per-
plexed. I felt the admiral gave a
mind-probing lecture on
technology and the
humanities-explaining the dif-
ference between pure science and
,.J ,t ___-

taining to the lecture concerned
whether or not the engineering
college should deal with the topic
of professionalism and ethics. The
admiral wittily remarked, "You
should learn those (ethics) on
Sunday in church."
I was very disappointed by this
response. As a recent
engineering graduate, I am

problem, but failed to suggest a
solution. When asked his opinion
of an ethics clause for engineers,
the wise admiral gave a quick,.
barbed, and foolish respon-
se-totally negating the wise
comments of his lecture.
I had hoped the admiral had
thought more on the subject. I am
unaware, but curious about
whether maiking engineerina 2n

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