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March 30, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-30

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OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, March 30, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Edit'ed and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Race riots need

reanalysis

I

Vol. XCV, No. 142

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Pierce over Hadler

A NN ARBOR residents have a
clear choice over the direction
they would like to see the city turn
when they go to the polls on Monday.
The Republican candidate Richard
Hadler claims he is pleased with the
way the city has run under current
mayor Lou Belcher who is not running
for reelection.
Ed Pierce, the Democratic can-
didate, contends that the city has
developed in such a way as to effec-
tively shut many low to moderate in-
come residents out of the housing
market. He calls for city government
to promote affordable housing by
linking some downtown development
to new housing projects and by looking
into ways to shift the tax burden from
property taxes.
Hadler is a retired businessman and
a long-time resident of the city. He
served on City Council in the early '70s,
but has not been particularly visible in
city politics since then. Although he
says there is a housing problem in the
city, he says he does not feel the city
should play the part of a landlord."
Pierce received his M.D. from the

University and ran a low-income clinic,
in the city for many years. He also ser-
ved on City Council in the early '70s,
but went on to a distinguished career in
Lansing as a state senator. In 1982, he
lost to James Blanchard in his bid for
the Democratic gubernatorial
nomination.
In view of his concern for the housing
industry and his greater political ex-
perience, Pierce is certainly the
stronger of the two candidates.
Not all of Pierce's proposals are en-
tirely appropriate, however. His plan
for an- entertainment tax, although
supposedly directed at events that at-
tract out of town patrons, could
become an additional expense for the
student population. Also, his plan to
remove parking meters and switch to a
parking permit system seems ill-
advised. Parking meters encourage a
high turnover of patrons that over-
comes the disadvantages of their high
maintenance costs.
Nevertheless, Ed Pierce is clearly
the better candidate for mayor. His
social concerns and vast political ex-
perience make him the logical choice
at the polls on Monday.

By Jeffery M. Paige
As a former consultant to the National Ad-
visory Commission on Civil Disorders and
author of a doctoral dissertation on the 1967
Detroit and Newark riots, I was pleased to
learn that the distinguished labor historian
Sidney Fine had undertaken a history of the
riot with primary source material not
available at that time. Thus, I was disappoin-
ted to hear Professor Fine, in his Russel Lec-
ture, present a one-sided account of the riot
based on a highly selective use of available
evidence. After airily dismissing extensive
survey data on political and social attitudes
which clearly demonstrate a substantial
political component to the riots he proceeded
to support his own contention that Detroiters
rioted largely for fun and profit with a racist
anecdote which the Daily accurately reports
in its story (March 29, p. 1). I am willing to
wager Professor Fine $50.00 that he cannot
prove that any participant in the riot actually
made these remarks. My bet is that Fine
heard it at an Ann Arbor cocktail party.
Actually, Fine doesruse survey data, but
only when it supports his own contentions.
Surveys of arrested rioters were reported
since they support his position even though
social scientists have long believed that such
records tell more about police arrest
preferences than the actual distribution of
deviance. Similarly, post-riot surveys
showing support for more repression were
described while simultaneous surveys finding
massive alienation in the inner cities were not
even mentioned.

Accounts of the situation in Detroit in 1967
and the start of the riot were taken entirely
from police and other official sources and it is
worth noting that in the Detroit of 1967 all of
these officials were white. If Fine had taken
seriously the careful chronology of the riot
contained in the National Advisory Com-
mission report or had talked to any of the
black people involved in the "blind pig"
where the riot began he would have heard a
very different story. The overwhelming issue
in the inner city black community in 1967 was
police brutality, and this was a particularly
sensitive issue in the 12th Street area (now
Rosa Parks Boulevard) where police were of-
ten accused of treating all blacks as potential
criminals. Indeed, the riot was started not by
"pimps and prostitutes," as your article
states and Professor Fine strongly implied
(but did not say), but by a University of
Michigan student, William Scott Jr., the son
of the owner of the "blind pig." Scott became
incensed at the way white police accom-
plished the arrest of his father and sister. You
can read Scott's in an essay which won the
University's 1969 Hopwood Award and was
privately published as Hurt, Baby, Hurt.
Despite Professor Fine's sunny description
of race relations in Detroit, the relationship
between the largely white police department
and the black community had been a
poisonous one since the 1943 riot in which
police joined white rioters in attacks on the
black community. A balanced history would
have drawn on evidence from the black com-
munity through direct interviews, reports in
the black press, or survey responses. Fine
provided a whites only view of the riot.

Perhaps the most disturbing element in
Professor Fine's talk was his advocacy of
repression as a solution for black rebellion.
Detroit policemen who regarded the shooting
of unarmed looters as "murder" were
ridiculed and their reluctance to use letha
force decried. Similar ridicule was directed
at President Lyndon Johnson's reluctance to
call on Federal troops for fear of being ac-
cused of killing women and children. Ap-
parently -such sensitivity had no place in ur-
ban America. It appears that all Fine learned
from this terrible riot was that lethal force,
applied efficiently and rapidly, is a cure for
political discontent.
Since today's students are too young to
remember the events of a1967 -still vivid'
memories to many of my generation - it is
particularly important that Fine's one-sided
account not go unchallenged. In November of
1965, Judge George Edwards of the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
and Commissioner of the Detroit Police
Department from 1961 to 1963 presented a
view neglected in the Fine talk but which is, I
believe, much closer to the truth. Judge Ed-
wards wrote in the Michigan Law Review that
"...hostility between the Negro communitie4
in our large cities and the police departments
is the major problem in law enforcement in
this decade. It has been a major cause of all
recent race riots. "Increased repression will,
in the long run, only increase this hostility ana
make future confrontations worse.
Jeffery M. Paige is a professor in the
Sociology Department.

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4

Council endorsements

I'JXT WEEK'S Ann Arbor City
N Council elections provide voters
with an excellent opportunity to elect
quality legislators and put control of
the council into the hands of the
Democrats. Our endorsements follow:
Ward One
Incumbent Lowell Peterson is run-
ning unopposed and will keep the seat
he deserves. Although his policy
suggestions occasionally border on the
absurd-as in the proposal that all
downtown development be tied to low-
income housing-his work on the coun-
cil warrants another term.
Ward Two
Incumbent Republican Richard
Dedm has voted sensibly on the coun-
cil, and he was one of the major
proponents of the shelter for the
homeless. Although he says he must
still be convinced that the lack of af-
fordable housing is serious, he seems
willing to work on the city's social
issues. Democratic candidate James
Burchell, who has political experience
in other cities, has favorable position
on the issues but seems too concerned
with party squabbles to work effec-
tively toward the compromise votes
which characterize most council ac-
tions. With a plea that he study the
housing issue more closely, we give
our endorsement to Deem.
Ward Three,
Incumbent Democrat Jeff Epton has
served the city well in his freshman
term. Epton has distinguished himself
as a hard-working council member

dedicated to affordable housing, and
he was largely responsible for the
masterful compromise engineered last
summer over the city's budget. Our
nod goes to Epton over Republican
challenger Max Sweet.
Ward Four
The Democratic challenger in Ward
Four, Dave DeVarti, is a students'
candidate. He has shown a great in-
terest in the student vote and seems
quite familiar with issues facing
students on campus. He has spoken out
on issues such as housing, parking, and
safety, and his success as a local
publisher shows his aggressiveness
and ability to get things done. Incum-
bent, Republican Larry Hahn is not
committed to providing affordable
housing in the city and voted against
additional funding for the homeless
shelter because of certain provisions in
the plan. He has not campaigned
vigorously, and the votes should go to
DeVarti.
Ward Five
Kathy Edgren, the Democratic in-
cumbent, has built herself a sound
reputation by being accessible to her
constituents and being responsive to
their interests and concerns. She has
expressed a committment to affor-
dable housing and services. Her op-
ponent, Republican John Burch, has
said he supports increased public
safety programs and privately run
shelters for the homeless. He has spent
much of the campaign attacking
Edgren and does not seem to be well-
informed about city issues and
problems.

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Letters
Daily confused by*the 'truth'

4

To the Daily:
In its editorial "What is
truth?," the Daily did not
respond philosophically, but in-
stead apologetically, to Israel's
killing two Lebanese journalists
(Daily, March 27). The first
question one should ask is why
the Daily took special notice of
the deaths of these CBS em-
ployees. One would have guessed
the Daily, like other liberal
media, implicitly or explicity
assumes that journalists are
privileged observers of violent
conflict. Hence, regardless of the
moral issue of taking a human
life for whatever end, it is not OK
to take a journalist's. Most jour-
nalists write as though killing
journalists is something more, or
more newsworthy, than killing
civilians, i.e. simple human
beings.
But, in the case of Israel's at-
tack on a CBS camera crew, the
Daily was faced with a dilemma:
the Daily thinks it is bad to
kill journalists qua journalists,
yet also supports Israel's oc-
cupation of Lebanon. In "What is
truth?," the latter won the day,
while journalistic privilege and
truth lost out. Truth lost because,
in endorsing Israeli occupation of

Lebanese towns, mosques, and
refugee camps by mistake; it is
in Lebanon to kill its political foes
and those unfortunate enough to
live in their neighborhoods. The
killing of the camera crew was
thus only a mistake if Israel's very
occupation of Lebanon is a
mistake. The sad fact of the mat-
ter is that few in the American
media care whether Lebanese
Moslems live or die.
This relates to the Daily's un-
critical and propagandistic use of
the term terrorist. The editorial
sets the stage by asserting that
"People are victimized by terror-
ism nearly everywhere." (Watch out
for the Libyan hit squads!) The
Daily then discusses the nature of
the new terrorism: violent
religious martyrs. Israel, accor-
ding to the Daily, is "plagued" by
this type of terrorism and must
protect its soldiers from it.
Just who are these true
believers? Are they those. in-

corrigible Palestinians? Maybe a
couple. But even if there were
still some of these irreputable
nationalists and misguided souls
sprinkled about the countryside,
killing them is not a public
relations problem for Israel -but
its national pastime. Are they
Iranian imports? There may be a
few of these youngsters left over
from the latest battlefield in Iraq.
But remember, it is OK. Ito kill
Khomenei followers and others
who think that Moslems should
have control over their own coun-
tries. These men are crazies who
do not appreciate the value of
human life.
Could they be Lebanese? They
live there, after all. Whether
Israel is fighting a rearguard ac-
tion or pursuing a scorched earth
policy, it is encountering light
resistance from the indigenous
population of the territory it oc-
cupies. The local population is
fighting a hit-and-run, i.e.
guerilla war against foreign ar-

mies occupying their country.
Some might even venture to cal]
them freedom-fighters, guerillas
or the resistance. Make your own
historical comparisons.
In labelling these persons
"terrorists," the Daily endorses
Israel's military occupation of
Lebanon. Did the Daily hesitate
to think about the political im-
plications of using this ,
jorative term? Because I cann
tell, I request that the Daily write
an editorial defining what it
means by the word terrorist. I
then challenge the Daily to use it
consistently. If all a 'terrorist' is
to the Daily is a person who
violently opposes a nation or ar-
my the Daily supports, then the
Daily should have the journalistic
integrity to say so. The Da'
might even want to come to gri
with state-terrorism, as opposed
to state-sponsored terrorism.
'Eric Schnaufer
March 27
by Berke Breathed

BLOOM COUNTY

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