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October 17, 1986 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-17
This is a tabloid page

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What's so scary about being a parent?,


Barbara Ransby



Anti-apartheid activist plans to step up
pressure against the administration
Barbara Ransby, a third-year graduate student in Afro-American Women's
History, co-founded the Free South Africa Coordinating Committee
(FSACC). At 29, she is married with a two-year-old son, Jason, and
teaches an introductory course in Women's Studies. Ransby was
interviewed by Daily staffer Susanne Skubik.
Daily: How did you get started in the anti-apartheid movement?
Ransby: Oh, that's always the question. Well, I guess I've always
been politically active. Since high school it's been one issue or another,
and I felt when I was an undergraduate in New York that the struggle for
liberation in South Africa was an issue of critical importance. I think
when we find it easy to accept very obvious and brutal forms of
oppression such as apartheid, it becomes easier to accept more subtle
forms of oppression all around us.
D: How did you go about starting FSACC on campus?
R: Well, there was a lot of interest in the free South Africa issue at the
time that I came here. The Washtenaw Coalition Against Apartheid
already existed, but at that time most of their forces were concentrated in
the community. And so, since I did have contacts with students, being
on campus, I called together people that I knew were interested in the
issue and started to meet informally. It started with a handful of graduate
students, really.
D: This year FSACC plans to urge full University divestment from
firms that do business in South Africa, yet the University has already
divested 99 percent of those funds. Don't you think pushing for
divestment of that last $500,000 is pushing it too far?
R: No, not at all. Quite to the contrary. Divestment is, for the
University in particular, largely a symbolic statement and you can't make
a statement like that half-hearted. You have to have a policy of not
investing, or a policy of investing, and the amount is really of secondary
importance, I think. So the reluctance of the University to make an
emphatic statement on an issue that for many, many people at the
University is clear cut, I think, is still indefensible.
D: But you realize that the University is retaining that $500,000 as part
of their law suit to protest a state law which demands that they divest
R: The autonomy issue? Yes, there are a number of responses to that.
One is that the autonomy issue is only an issue because of the regents'
refusal to deal with the issue on their own before the state mandated it.
They had been called upon to divest completely well before the state
legislature passed the law mandating divestment. Had they heeded that
request, this wouldn't have been an issue. I also don't think it's going to
set an absolute precedent in terms of University autonomy. There are all
Continued on Page 9

I was humiliated almost every day.
Eddie Colantino dragged me over to
the lockers near our English class
and held me so I couldn't move, and
then Donald Fox put a hand over
each of my ears and lifted me into
the air. I dangled in the air while
Eddie gathered spectators.
I didn't much like school. My
parents tried to shore up my
confidence. They told me I was a
great person, but they were just my
parents. They were supposed to say
that. And anyway, they weren't
short, and they weren't being
laughed at.
About a week ago a friend of
mine asked me if I had ever thought
about having children. I said yes,
but that it would scare the hell out
of me. What happens if my child
goes through the same things I
went through in junior high? What
am I going to say to him if he says
he hates going to school? That he
hates being so goddamned tiny?
What happens if my little girl
comes running home from school
and asks me if I think she's ugly? I
tell her that she's beautiful, and she
stares in the mirror, tears running
down her cheeks. Her classmates
U.S. out of Central America
--Graduate Library
U.S. out of El Salvador
-Modern Languages Building
U.S. out of North America
-Undergraduate Library
U.S. out of Alabama
-Modern Languages Building
U.S. out of Grant's Tomb
-Dennison Building
U.S. out of my pants
-WCBN-FM studio
(Next to a "BAN THE SHANTY
-Committee for a better Diag"
Selfish-why should you have a
"better Diag" when S.A. blacks
have to live in shanties?
(in reply)
Why are anti-apartheid activists so
paranoid that you can't be against
anything they do? If you oppose
anything they do you oppose
everything they do... Sounds like a
Moral Majority arguement... think
about it!
-Angell Hall
Judy Garland lives! She's working
in the West Quad kitchen, peeling
-Graduate Library
-Angell Hall

don't agree with me, and I'm just
her Dad, and I am not ugly, and
people don't laugh at me.
I walked around the Union last
week asking people what would
scare them most about being a
parent, and if there were ways in
which they would bring up their
children differently then they were
brought up.
"Being a parent (will be) scary,"
said Gayle Richman, an LSA
senior. "You look around you, and
you want to do everything right.
You don't have courses telling you
how to raise your child the best.
You don't want to smother them.
You just don't know how far to go.
There's no formula to it."
"My parents are both hard
workers," said John Goldblum, a
second year medical student. "They
both have very demanding jobs, and
I don't know them as well as I
could. My Dad is a doctor, and I

don't know him too well, and I'm
going to be a doctor too, and I hope
I can get my priorities straight.
When the time comes I hope I can
set the time aside (for my
How demanding should parents
"My parents were really rigid,"
said Genie Baker, a graduate student
in political science. "If I got a 99
percent on a test, there was always
that one percent I didn't get. I will
try to recognize effort more than
my parents did, rather than placing
so much emphasis on absolute
success. I'll probably end up doing
the same things my parents did, and
hate myself for it later. It's a never
ending cycle."
Will you understand your
Kelly Gary, a junior at Western
Michigan University, is worried
about "losing touch with her
children's generation... being old
fashioned in their eyes, not being
able to understand where they are
coming from because I'm stuck in
my own attitudes."
Gary says her parents still do not
understand her, but that she'll be
Continued on Page 9

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Sally Kellerman plays Jack Lemmon's wild neighbor in "That's Life."
Jack Lemmon and Julie

Andrews shine in


March 1979. Anti-apartheid protestors packed the Regents' chambers in the
Administration Building,forcing early adjournment of the meeting.

By Kurt Serbus
film, "That's Life," is further proof
that he is one of the warmest and
most perceptive dramatic directors
around. I say dramatic because in
his home field of comedy, I don't
think Edwards has ever quite made
the cut. He's always been too
mannered and conventional to really
be funny (the entire Pink Panther
series, for instance, was probably
the most overrated string of second-
hand slapstick and second-rate sight
gags ever unleashed on the
American public), and, true to
form, "That's Life," though billed
as a comedy, is somewhat less than
gutsplitting. No matter. The simple
beauty of the story, along with a
genuine love for the characters that
is flaunted in every aspect of the
film from the acting to the writing
to the direction, make this an
intensely rich and moving motion
Even if every other element of
the production had failed, however,
"That's Life" would still be worth

seeing if only for the brilliant
performance of Jack Lemmon.
Lemmon should be getting really
good by now at playing the little
guy desperately shaking his fist at
forces he can't control-he's based
half his career on that
characterization. Well, practice
makes perfect, and that's exactly
what Lemmon's performance is-a
flawless, histrionic work of art that
I don't have room to expound upon
here because I have to mention that
Julie Andrews is almost as good in
much subtler way. She doesn't get
the chance to chew as much scenery
as Lemmon, but she plays a perfect
anchor to his rapidly drifting
The story takes place over one
weekend at the Fairchild home,
where Harvey (Lemmon) awaits
with dread his 60th birthday and
spouse Gillian (Andrews) awaits the
test results of a tumor that could be
either benign or malignant. Harvey,
a terrified hypochondriac, whines
and bitches and tries to fend off old
age with a series of desperate,
fruitless gestures. His children drop

at's Life'
by, each with their own lives and
troubles. And Gillian, the only one
in the family with a real problem,
holds everything together with a
quiet wisdom and dignity.
And that's it. Any plot summary
of this movie is bound to sound
lame, because the magic is all in
the way it's done. Edward's salts
the light humor of "That's Life"
with a sense of realism that he last
toyed with in "10." He should toy
with it more often, because he's
damn good at it, and it's what raises
this movie over a breezy bit of fluff
like "Victor/Victoria." The worst
pain Inspector Closeau ever had to
face was hitting his thumb with a
hammer. Edward's pits the
protagonists of "That's Life"
against a pain far more terri-
fying-the sudden realization of
their own mortality. The fact that
he still makes it come out warm
and optimistic (along with the
knowledge that we are now
laughing with the characters instead
of at them) is proof of a glorious
evolution. U

15 years ago-October 17,
1971: After years of student
demonstrations, petitions and
disruptions-all designed to point
out the need for low-cost student
housing-the University began to
move ahead with plans for 206 new
apartment units on North Campus.
But critics said the proposal fell far
short of what was actually needed to
ease the city's housing shortage.
20 years ago-October 18,

1966: The faculty Senate
Assembly approved seven proposals
pertaining to the preservation of
civil liberties on campus and to the
University's recent submission of
student organization membership
lists to the House Un-American
Activities - Committee. The
measures criticized the University's
action, taken after a HUAC inves-
tigator issued a subpoena for the
student lists.

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