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February 05, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-02-05

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, February 5, 1986

The Michigan Daily

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No.89 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board

Bering

A GHOST of AVIATIOIN
SHE WAS SWALLOWED BY THE SKY
OR BY THE SEA, LIKE ME
SHE HAD A DREAA.To FLY
LIKE ICARUS ASCENDING
ON BEAUTIFUL FOOLISH
ARAIS,..*

A Conflicting Assembly

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TAWRENCE NORRIS should
LJresign from his position as
chairman of the Michigan Student
Assembly's Minority Affairs
,Committee. His ties to Niara
Sudarkasa, the University vice
president responsible for minority
affairs, pose a blatant conflict of in-
terest with his work for MSA.
Underlying the Norris controver-
sy, however, is the pathetic
ignorance many MSA members
show about minority issues. MSA
:leaders, in their personal vendetta
against Norris, highlight the
,political squabbling and per-
sonality conflicts that have plagued
-the assembly throughout the year.
aAlthough Norris' work-study job
in Sudarkasa's office does not
technically violate assembly by-
laws, it flouts an unwritten code of
ethics that forces MSA members to
independently evaluate ad-
ministration policies.
MSA and Sudarkasa have
clashed repeatedly over ap-
proaches to the University's low
minority enrollment. MSA em-
phasizes retention of minority
students, while Sudarkasa prefers
to link retention with stronger
recruitment efforts.
More specifically, MSA mem-
bers point to a conflict last fall over
whether Sudarkasa's minority af-
y fairs commission would be merely
an advisory group of students, as
she wanted, or the more creditable
panel of students, faculty, and ad-
ministrators preferred by MSA. In
each of these conflicts, Norris sup-
ported Sudarkasa, going against
the organization he was appointed
to represent. His anti-MSA stance

threatens the assembly's impor-
tant role as a safeguard of student
interests.
The ethical necessity of Norris'
resignation, however, does not
change what the whole affair
reveals about MSA - that it must
show more concern with the sub-
stance of minority affairs.
At a recent assembly meeting at-
tended by Sudarkasa and other
administration officials, MSA
members seemed uninformed and
unconcerned about minority
problems.. One representative
asked why the University had done
nothing to celebrate Martin Luther
King Jr.'s birthday. He was
oblivious to nearly a week of such
events.
MSA officials estimate that no
more than 5 assembly members
bothered to read a 50 page report
about recruitment and retention
put out by minority researcher
Rodereck Linzie.
This is particularly unfortunate
when one recalls MSA President
Paul Josephson's campaign
promises to emphasize minority
issues last spring.
Members of his assembly have
been sparring with Norris all year.
Such in-house fighting, while it
may be a microcosm of more in-
fluential political bodies, fails to
serve student interests.
MSA should consider writing an
ethics policy to prevent future con-
flicts of interest. While this will
greatly help clarify the role of
assembly representatives, what is
really needed is a focused,
unified, and informed group of
students.

LETTERS:

Little progress in the human condition

Dorm reform

To the Daily:
A disaster so widely publicized
as the destruction of the space
shuttle Challenger would seem to
occasion genuine reflection upon
the values which underlie our
commitment as a nation to
projects such as the space
program. Yet, it seems that even
before all of Challenger's charred
remains had dusted the Florida
coast, we were witness to an un-
broken chorus of defense of the
space program. Distinguished
spokespersons from small town
pastors to Air Force Generals to
the president himself assured the
masses that the future of not only
the nation, but of humankind it-
self rested on the progress of the
space program and the sacrifices
that it entails. The ghosts of
progress past from Francis
Drake to Amelia Earhart were
rhetorically invoked in justifying
the hard road of discovery and ex-
ploration. Had any misguided in-
dividual doubted that for a mere
seven lives our values might be
called seriously into question, he
need only have turned on the
television, or opened a
newspaper'editorial page to find
his delusions dispelled.
Perhaps seven lives are not so
significant. After all, how many
lives will violently perish today
on Latin American or Middle
Eastern battlefields, on the par-
ched plains of Africa, or in the
desolate back alleys of North
American cities? Yet, it is,
perhaps, the condition of life in a
world where seven lives are so
bereft of meaning that should
give us cause to doubt the value
of that "progress" which our
leaders are so quick to defend.
For all of Western civilization's
success at conquering the seas,
the air, and finally space itself.
relatively little progressseems
evident in the human condition.
Ships, airplanes, and spacecraft
display national flags, and ex-
pand ancient, primitive conflicts
Cartoon
criticized
To the Daily:
The violent loss of the seven
member crew of the space shuttle
Challenger was a tragedy and a
terrible loss, not only for the
families of these people, but for
much of the rest of the nation. It
is, therefore, my opinion that the
use of the editorial cartoon
"Chassy" on January 31, was an
entirely inappropriate and
tasteless decision on the part of
the Daily staff. To even attempt

to new extremes. Hunger, pover-
ty, alienation, and despair not
only continue to exist, but have
become characteristic of much of
the life on this planet. Unbridled
technological progress, far from
being the panacea to the world's
problems, proves all too often to
be a dangerous vehicle for ex-
panding those ills to heights yet
unknown.

Perhaps space exploration is to
play an important role in the
future of humankind.
Unquestionably, there is great
value to the unending human
quest for discovery and
knowledge. If it is not to end in
alienation and destruction,
however, this quest must be ex-
tended so as to include an. ex-
ploration of those very earthy

Asian-A mericans' identity crises

HINK TWICE before deciding
to leave University Housing.
Residence Halls offer a unique ex-
perience that won't happen in a
house or apartment. There are few
places where students have the op-
portunity to live with such a diver-
sity of personalities; learning to
Aget along with other people is one of
the more important parts of the
University experience. Late night
-philosophical exchanges in one
" room - with the door open - often
invite more people and the sub-
sequent interplay of fresh ideas.
Dorm living presents a constant
challenge to grow and develop as
an individual. There are always
new people to meet and a hall
community to foster real frien-
dships that strengthen in four years
1 and endure long past graduation.
Study partners abound; there's at
:least one person taking your class,
be it English or Aero and better
yet, there's probably someone who
has already been through it and is
willing to help out.
p: Aside from the variety of people,
: there's the incredible array of ac-

town can you select from an exten-
sive salad bar and soft serve ice
cream every night at comparable
prices. The obvious convenience of
prepared food is an indisputable
luxury. In fact, many students con-
tract Entree-Plus after they move
out of the Residence Halls.
So why, with all of these advan-
tages, do so many sophomores
squeeze into the Ann Arbor housing
crunch? Many upperclassmen-
complain about lack of privacy,
noisy freshmen, the impersonal
nature of dorm living and rising
costs. These are valid concerns,
and the University needs to make
some changes so that upper-
classmen could overcome these ob-
stacles.
Perhaps converted triples could
be used for cooking lounges on halls
designated exclusively for upper
classmen. While the cafeteria is
convenient, students who miss
meals should not have to pay for
them. Housing ought to develop a
separate contract system for meal
card holders.
Friends often feel they must

To the Daily:
The Weekend essay about
Asian Americans by Christy
Riedel was outstanding;
however, my closing comment
concerning the relationship of
black Americans to Africa was a
bit out of context as written and
requires clarification. I certainly
do not believe nor did I wish to
convey that Black America has
nothing to do with African
culture. Rather, to state it more
clearly, the Black American ex=
perience has nothing to do with
cultural foreignness; i.e. black
Americans are not invariably
perceived of as foreigners
because of their blackness. In the
majority society's mind,
however, Asianness
automatically binds an individual
to a foreign culture-one that he
or she may never see or ex-
perience. No one questions a
black American who, when asked
where he is from, says,
"Cleveland" or "Chicago." A
similar response from an Asian
American will more often evoke,
"No, I mean where are you
REALLY from?" A Black
American's pride in his or her
Africanheritage enriches and
even helps define the black
American experience, but a
black individual's identity is not
solely dependent on African
traditions and customs to define
itself; African heritage is not a
substitute for American identity,
and it is not used as a way of ex-
cluding blacks or the great
cultural achievements of Black
Americans as foreign to this
society. Asians, on the other
hand,'are seenasinextricably
sustained by a foreignness that
we are supposedly compelled to
preserve as "our" culture.
Physical and social passivity,
sexism, inscrutability, organized
crime, sexual exoticness, and
even mathematical ability and
clean laundry-whether these
even exist or not among
Asians-are explained as having
roots in traditional Chinese and
Japanese culture, and Asian
Americans are categorically
doomed to reverberate to these
ancient Chinese gongs. And if we
do not, then we are assimilated

S. Quad stereotyped

0

To the Daily:
When reading the Daily I am
always impressed with the atten-
tion paid to minority rights and
the effort to break down harmful
stereotypes. Imagine my sur-
prise upon reading the first sen-
tence in the Today section and
seeing that the incorrect, har-
mful stereotype of South Quad as
a jock/party hall was beingper-
petuated by the progressive
Daily. The percentage of athletes
in South Quad is tiny and of those
only some are football players.
Football players do not party
more than other students. They
probably party less because of
the physical training and
designated study times required
of a varsity player.
This stereotype of South Quad
is no different than other harmful
stereotypes. South Quad residen-
ts are no more prone to party
than other University students.
To state that South Quad is full of
partying football players is an in-
sult to those living in the Quad
and especially to the football
players who are trying to juggle
full time school with a full time
job (football). We should not be
so quick to insult players who
made us proud last season and in
past years. The 1300 students
living in South Quad deserve
more respect than this and

perhaps even an apology.
South Quad is committed to the
University's alcohol policy and
enforces it rigorously. This policy
states that there can be no
alcohol in common areas, such as
corridors. Mr. Gorbachev,
therefore, would not encounter
the situation you described.
There is notreason to continue to
believe that South Quad is only
full of partyers. As for football
players, more receive their un-
dergraduate degree in four years
than non-athletes. They are not
just here to party, the players are
here to receive a quality
education and to play their sport.
The continuation of this
stereotype in harmful to the
residents of South Quad, to the
football players singled out, and*
to the University community as a
whole. An influencial information
source like the Daily should live
up to its responsibility for
positive social change and for
upholding community standards.
It is just as harmful to prejudice
a group because of where they
live as it is to prejudice them on
the basis of physical charac-
teristics.
-Andrew Hartman@
January 27
Hartman is a resident advisor in
South Quad.

human problems too often
overlooked in the simplistic
ideology of technological
progress invoked in recent days.
Whatever the value of continued
flights of the space shuttle, it
would do us well to be wary of a
world where seven lives are so
easily explained away.
-Jeff Gauthier
January 31

American art, music, literature,
and even language are continual
and nearly ubiquitous reminders
of the cultural achievements and
presence of blacks in America.
The power of black music, for in-
stance, has had particular in-
fluence on our lives today on ever
level, and much or most modern
music is derivative of and
imitated from black music for-
ms-from Elvis Presley and the
Beatles to James Brown and
George Clinton. However,
America has much less
awareness or appreciation of

uniquely non-Asian, non-white
Asian American sensibility. But
it does exist-from-authors John
Okada to Louis Chu to Frank Chin
and Lawson Inada, to film and
theater directors Renee Tajima,
Christine Choy, Wayne Wang, and
Roberto Uno-a viable, well-
articulated Asian American sen-
sibility exists and evolves,
without the psychological and
social compromise of so-called
"assimilation."
-Paul E. Kim
February 1

A harsh suggestion

To the Daily:
Recently, you published an
editorial on the infant mortality
rate in the United States
"Shameful Statistics" (1/28). In

already born, the state could use
this order to get rid of all the
"unwanted children" while these
children are just "Genetica

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