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March 23, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-23

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OPINION

4

Page 4 Saturday, March 23, 1985 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

It's 'Ms.

9 not 'Mrs.'

4

Vol. XCV No. 136

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

Unpopular rights

HE DETROIT CITY Council may
not know it yet, but as a result of
their actions, Detroit is in for one hell
of a fight.
On Wednesday, after much debate,
the Council rejected a request from the
S.S. Action Group, a neo-nazi
organization, to hold a rally honoring
Adolf Hitler. Said Councilman David
Eterhard, "I don't think we need to
kowtow to this kind of activity... Let
them take us to court." Unfortunately
for the city, there is some truth in
Eberhard's remarks: More than
likely, the rejected group will take him
and the city he represents to court suc-
cessfully. For as offensive as a
militant racist organization can be,
neo-nazis, like any group or individual
in this country, have the right to free
speech and free assembly. The group
will get their protest, but because of
the council's short-sighted decision, it
will come at the expense of the city.
On a strictly moral level, it is dif-
ficult to argue with the City Council's
decision. The neo-nazis are
unquestionably a justly unpopular and
detestable group whose appeal is
restricted to a select minority of
Detroit's population. The city doesn't
want to see these people or their rally,
and they would not advocate the
promulgation of their racist edict.
But allowing a group the right to hold
a rally within the city limits is not the
same as inviting a group of neo-nazis
into your home for dinner. Where in-
dividual citizens have the right to
reject the ideas put forth by the neo-
nazis, as the majority of Detroit clearly
does, the city government has the
responsibility to uphold the rights of
the minority as well as the majority,
the unacceptable as well as the accep-
table.'
It is true that in the past, rallies held
by the neo-nazis have met with violen-
ce and riots incited by the staunch

racist speeches and literature made
available, but this alone is no reason to
deny the group a forum in Detroit.
Issues involving individual rights -
rights assured by the Constitution -
must not be decided on precedent. In a
contemporary example, Detroit's
decision is tantamount to barring a
controversial speaker like Stoney
Burke from finding an audience on the
Diag because he has sparked con-
troversy in the past.
It is also true that the right to public
speech is not, and can never be, totally
free. An individual is not allowed to
yell "fire" in a crowded theater, as the
saying goes. this abridgement of free
speech rights is upheld because of the
potential harm to the safety of those in
the theater; it is upheld to prevent
panic, chaos, and possible injuries that
could result from such a prank.
Individual freedoms must be restric-
ted in certain instances to prevent
greater harms to society, but these
restrictions must be confined to the ex-
treme cases - like the theater exam-
ple. Barring an unpopular political
concern from its constitutional right to
hold a rally, however, is clearly an un-
necessary and illegal infringement.
Prohibiting the neo-nazis from
Detroit based on a precedence of
violence and chaos sets another, more
dangerous precedent which would put
all political concerns at the mercy of
city councilpersons' biases and
political ideologies. Just as the morals
of the council prevented a neo-nazi
rally this year, next year's body could
become predominantly right-wing, and
vote to exclude Detroit from a
democratic convention or a rally for
abortion rights.
Individual rights are the most im-
portant of our nation's laws, and
despite the unpopularity of the neo-
nazis, their right to hold a rally must
be honored.

By Donna Jo Napoli
This is my fifth year on the faculty of the
University of Michigan and each year I've
encountered the problem of students ad-
dressing me with the title "Mrs."
People should not address women they
don't know as "Mrs.' or "Miss' for several
reasons.
"Mrs." is a sexist term. So is "Miss". They
denote whether or not a female is married.
Whether one is married or not is a personal
concern, as personal as sexual preference.
We don't presume to mark males by having
separate titles showing their maritial status.
We should stop doing this to females.
Besides being sexist, these titles are often
inaccurate. A woman who does not take her
husband's name is not Mrs. anybody. Mrs.
Ferraro did not run for Vice-President, no
matter what the newspapers said; Ms.
Ferraro did.
Many people consider "Mrs." a term of
respect. Many women are proud to use it for
Napoli is an associate professor of
Linguistics at the University.

not to address a woman as "Mrs." or "Miss"
for at least two reasons.
First, feeling status at being someone's
wife is perhaps one of the most telling exam-
ples of how women's self images are harmed
by sexist considerations. In other words,
sometimes people should be forced to be free.
Second, and this is an argument that goes
way beyond any political considerations,
there exist women who take offense at being
called "Mrs." or "Miss." This is a fact. I'm.
proof of it. It is wrong to address people by
something that might offend them. It shows a
lack of common courtesy. No one today would
consider someone's calling a black person
"nigger" to be anything but offensive (unless
one knew that for the parties involved this
was not offensive behavior). That is, we
assume it's offensive generally because we
know it's offensive to some people. And
because we do not want to offend, we avoid of-
fensive words. In fact, we even avoid words
that sound like offensive words. Thus niggar-
dly is not a frequently used word today, even
though historically it is not related to the of-
fensive word. For the same reason we should
not address women with "Mrs." or "Miss".
Why take the chance of offending when you
can simply use "Ms." (or "Dr." or "Prof.")?

... not (Mrs.)

themselves and may even tack it onto the
front of their husband's full name (first and
last) when giving their own name. These facts
are irrelevant to the question of whether or

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CLEAR LY

Restoring honor

T hroughout its history, America's
pasttime of baseball has somehow
been able to divest itself from another
one of the country's pasttimes, gam-
bling.
Therefore, when Bowie Kuhn,
baseball's former commissioner, ruled
on separate occasions to ban Willie
Mays and Mickey Mantle for their
connection with gambling it came as
little surprise..
Kuhn, however, failed to recognize
that baseball is a game of heroes, and
Mantle and Mays are as heroic as any
players the game has ever seen. Many
argue they are the two greatest players
the game has ever seen.
Mays and Mantle agreed to do
promotional work for two separate
hotels in Atlantic City, where gambling
is legal. But Kuhn felt that the
association with two of baseball
greatest stars was potentially disrup-
tive to the game. Several baseball
owners are actively involved in hor-
seracing, but a different set of stan-
dards was placed on Mays and Mantle.

The pair did nothing illegal. All they
did was serve the game for two
decades each, greatly contributing to
its popularity through the fifties and
sixties. Mays even returned to New
York way after his prime, only to lead
the Mets to the World Series, sending
"The Say Hey Kid" out in the style he so
deserved.
Nonethless, Kuhn quickly set the
wheels of justice turning against both,
imposing a lifetime ban until each
divested himself from his respective
contract. Bowie Kuhn decided to tell
two Hall of Famers where .they were
not allowed to be employed.
Baseball's new commissioner, Peter
Ueberroth saw this action as unfair,
and immediately restored the greats to
their proper place in baseball immor-
tality. Mays and Mantle will be tar-
nished forever by the sanctions Kuhn
placed on them. If anything baseball is
indebted to Willie Mays and Mickey
Mantle. Peter Ueberroth took the first
step in repaying this debt to two of
sports greatest legends.

Letters

Letter was wrong to condemn Caldicoti

1

To the Daily:
I just finished reading the sadly
misguided letter ("Daily .should
weigh both sides of issue," Daily,
March 15) you ran. Mr. Gentges
seems to be illustrative of the
maxim "if you can keep your
head while all around you are
losing theirs, you probably don't
understand the gravity of the
situation". While he accuses
Helen Caldicott, and others who
share her conclusions to the
debate at hand, I think that it is he
who hasthis head buried - not in
sand but in the cheap
rationalizations used to support
the build-ups of our (their?)
nuclear arsenals.
What is of significance here is
that we are practically waiting
for a nuclear war to happen. It
should seem obvious that when
the missile flight times to
Moscow from our European sites
are aproximately six minutes
and the flight timessfrom Soviet
land-based sites about 15 minutes
to our cities, we hardly have time
to reach any desirable decision
about whether to fire our
missiles. As Caldicott noted, we
have had several "false-
warnings" in the past years, have
had to go to critical launch-ready
alerts, and narrowly avoided the

protect our "vital strategic in-
terests"). This is so for a very
practical reason: we are in a
situation where no one trusts the
other guy. If we, or they, do not
start to show some good faith, by
making some unilateral gesture
of conciliation, then it cannot be
hoped that the other side will
believe us to be truly interested in
bringing about a stable balance
between the powers. If we wait
around for the Russkies to do
this, we may never get it. The
only way for us to be sure that we
get serious change going is by
initiating it ourselves. People
may object that it is the Soviet's
fault and that it is morally correct
that they initiate a reduction, but
this is a moot point. We want to
achieve a safer world, and we
cannot sit around pointing fingers
as this is simply counterproduc-
tive.
Also implicit in the letter
referred to above is that we have
something to fear from the
Russians, that they are just sit-
ting there waiting to take over the
entire planet unless we point to
BLOOM COUNTY

the nukes we have and say, "Oh
no you don't". Assume for a
minute that the U.S. was
nonexistent. How long could the
Russian, or any government for
that matter, maintain control of
the earth and the inhabitants
thereof? Sure, the Soviet system
is not exactly "free" or liber-
tarian (to say the least), but
neither are many of the regimes
that the U.S. props up, to wit
South Korea, Phillipines, Chile,
El Salvador, Guatemala and
others. Also, it might be said that
there are some examples where
our own beloved country is less
than egalitarian (but certainly I
wouldn't agree to that). The point
is this: along with making sure

that our present conflict with the
Soviet Union does not see a tragic
outcome (i.e. a nuclear war), we
should also address the roots of
the conflict: the idea that one or
the other "world power" or
"super power" should (even try
to) dominate the globe.
Until we have loosened the ten-
sions that led to the arms race we
may still be stuck with the even-,
tuality of that arms race: a$
nuclear war. We should endeavor
to do this by firstly unilaterally
reducing our nuclear stockpiles;
and secondly re-examining our
proper role in world affairs
(policeman or citizen?).
- Brad Aaron
March 19

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple- .
spaced, and signed by the individual authors.
Names will be withheld only in unusual circum-
stances. Letters may be edited for clarity, gram-
mar, and spelling.

by Berke Breathed

The Michigan Daily encourages input from our readers.
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