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September 27, 1983 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-27

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Page 4

Tuesday, September 27, 1983

The Michigan Daily

An accidental

peek at

campus racism


By Barry Witt
A few lines in a letter I came across
the other day told me more about
racism on this campus than any of the
niews stories I've come across in three
years here.
A freshman who worked at the Daily
earlier this year wrote a personal letter
to a friend out of town and was dumb
enough to use a Daily envelope to do it.
So when the post office returned the let-
ter with that little purple hand stamped
Qn the front declaring "Attempted -
Not Known," the letter naturally came
back to the office.
I CAME ACROSS the letter -
already opened - and took a peek in-
side. (The Daily has a long and proud
history of finding interesting stuff in
letters returned in office envelopes. A
few years ago, one staff member
mailed out job applications and
resumes in Daily envelopes. One came
back, and we found out for the first time
that this staff writer had been elevated
to an editor's position somewhere along
fhe line without the rest of us knowing
it. The resume provided us with much
amusement. The former staff member
is now in a top-rated law school.)
Anyway, a journalist's natural
curiosity led me to read this latest note.

and here's an excerpt from what i
"So, let me tell you a funny story.
(Two friends) and I are on our way
from Deeetroit to Ann Arbor. So we're
jokin' about getting a lesbian, or a
homo, or a negro (for a roommate).
"WELL, ME AND (another guy) are
luggin' my shit up to (the dorm). We get
inside and nothin's there except a chair,
two desks, a sink, and a bunk bed with
the bottom bunk already made. (A friend)
walks over to the desk and shows me
this goddam radio the size of
(illegible)...'Hey, check out your
roommate's magazine collection. He
shows me Jet magazine. I was getting
nervous. Then he walks over to the
medicine cabinet and pulls out an afro-
pick. He starts laughing and cracking
up. I could of killed him. Well, as it tur-
ns out, my roommate was big and
black, and really nice. Anyway, after a
few weeks I moved out. He was cpol but
I met this guy named . . . He's a
The letter on to become more
sexist than racist, but the point was
pretty clear from just a few
Now here's a student much like any
other who comes to the University
every year. I suppose I should think

letter if he felt he had any racist ten-
dencies, he probably would deny it. His
is the attitude that says, "Blacks are all
right, just so long as they stay out of my
neighborhood (or dorm, or room)."
The racial divisions on this campus
are so wide today that they seem
almost impossible to bridge. The
University itself doesn't help the
situation with its own subtle
discrimination in not hiring black
faculty members and not recruiting
and retaining black students.
dest part is that so many don't even un-
derstand what they're doing to support
the divisions, and they refuse to
examine what their feelings really are.
Fortunately for my sake, I never had
the opportunity to meet this letter's
author, and he hasn't returned to the
paper this fall.
But if you happen to be reading this
column now, you know who you are.
*And suppose I shouldn't be so preachy
as to suggest that you ought to be em-
But please do me a favor - stay out
of my life.



something special of him since he had
the drive to come into the Daily
(although his writing leaves something
to be desired). Perhaps that's what I
find most distressing - that some of the

people closest to me still may be
throwbacks to the '50s.
RACISM ON THIS campus doesn't
have the look of cross burnings or chur-
ch bombings of the South some 20 years

ago and more. But today's racism is
just as bad. It involves a hidden, deep-
seeded fear that minorities threaten
our present way of life.
If one were to asl the writer of this

Witt is the Daily's editor-in-chief.



Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV - No. 17

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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



PEACE IN THE Middle East usually
is measured in terms of cease-
fires, not in solid treaties like the
Israeli-Egyptian pact. So no one should
be getting too excited by the latest
temporary halt of the fighting in,
U.S.and Saudi Arabian diplomats
were able to get the various factions
fighting in and around Beirut to end the
latest round of bloodshed over the
weekend. The parties - including
Syrian-backed Druse militia, Shite
Moslems, and Phalangists - had been
battling for almost a month. Over the
past few weeks U.S. Marines and other
United Nations' peacekeeping troops
also began getting more involved.
But the fighting is over - for now. It
is up to Lebanese President Amin
Gemayel and the multitude of sects
and factions to agree to a more per-
manent peace, What is troubling about
such discussions is that they tend to be
mply a respite from the fighting -a time

.I and water
out between quarters of a brutal football
There is always the outside
possibility' that these talks will produce
a lasting settlement which removes all
foreign forces from Lebanon and
leaves behind a more unified nation.
That will require more tolerance of the
involved parties - including the
United States - than any have
displayed to date.
More than likely, the cease fire will
last a few weeks. One of the factions
will make a proposal, then refuse to
budge. The other sides will accuse the
first faction of trying to sabotage the
peace process, then leave the talks.
The next day the powerkeg will ex-
plode all over again, a few more people
will die for their "cause," and another
cease fire will allow, each side to reload
their weapons.
It makes one wonder whether peace
and the Middle East can ever mix.


n c rv i



By Axel Hannemann
and Tom Starr
protests are certain to come to
Germany this fall - so massive
they "will make any other
movement in the history of the
Republic look puny by com-
parison," according to Herbert
Hellenbroich, head of the Ger-
man equivalent of the FBI.
Given such deep concern over
the deployment of the U.S.
missiles, a troubling question
presents itself. What if these
protests have no effect?
As, the deployment of cruise
and Pershing missiles comes
closer to reality, the peace
movement has grown
dramatically both in numbers
and in influence. Opinion polls
now show up to 75 percent of West
Germans oppose the deployment.
government has not budged. And
those in the radical fringe of the
peace movement - the
"autonomous groups" of West
Germany's large counter-culture
- have started to ask what cour-
se they should follow if non-
violence does not work.
The answers range from a
general strike to acts of sabotage.
"The terrorist wave we ex-
perienced here in the '70s will
look like child's play," said the
Green Party's Joschka Fischer.
Today, the groups cover a wide
social range on the German
fringe. Some defend their neigh-
borhoods against speculators;
others work against nuclear
power or "the capitalist system."
variations, some common

pro tests.
voke confrontation, using Throwing sto
ifist demonstrators as a form of resist
eId. Although t
ne long-time activist, who movement h
hed to remain anonymous, being split i
I the radicals will remain "radical" gr
violent "if not provoked. We disagree, inc
not going to let certain self- leaders, who
claimed pacifists tell us how violent confro
emonstrate." Those par
gut he also noted the new laws camps and
verning demonstrations. organized "a
hough police have instructions ensure safety
be "flexible" - accepting disruptions. I
vers, for example - it is now a residents ma
ninal offense to wear a take part. "If
torcycle helmet or a scarf or strate with t
nt on one's face at a demon- buy a ticket,
ation. Even bystanders soon complained.
1 be subject to arrest, and But most in
se arrested may be held don't believe
ponsible for the costs in- succeed, and
ved. part in them.
THEY CALL painting your They believ
e 'passive armament'," said missiles can
ther anonymous activist. going bey
hat's that supposed to mean? disobedience,
lh the new laws, there just actions. "You
e to be arrests. That's an train by tear
alation in itself, and I'm not one activist sz
ut to be a sitting duck. Such sa

ones is a legitimate
he organized peace
has tried to avoid
nto "pacifist" and
roups, many would
luding Green Party
draw the line at
ticipating in peace
blockades have
affinity groups" to
and guard against
In some cases, local
y not be allowed to
you want to demon-
hem, you've got to
" one local activist
ndependent activists
the blockades will
they will not take
ve deployment of the
be stopped only by
yond nonviolent
,and they plan other
u can stop a military
ing up the tracks,"
botage appears

unlikely. But throughout the
peace movement, and even
within the Social Democratic
party, there is growing support
for a general strike. Both
pacifists and radical activists in-
creasingly favor halting
"business as usual" as an" ap-
propriate method of resistance.
There is a deeper level of
agreement. Few pacifists would
argue with the first activist when
he says, "It's important for me
and my children to survive in this
world. Life must also be worth
living. The deployment of those
missiles is a threat to my life.
"If I stop fighting the missiles,
I cease to be an active part of my
environment. Then I might as
well let myself be buried alive or
spend my time getting drunk and
watching TV."
Hannemann is on the staff
of Radio Free Berlin. Starr is
editor of the Berlin-based New
American Press. They wrote
this article for the Pacific
News Service.
by Berke Breathed

What next?



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