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December 10, 1986 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-12-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, December 10, 1986 The Michigan Daiy

Ee a o
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

LETTERS:
Daily culpable in cartoon's

Vol. XCVII, No. 68

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Enforce housing laws

HOUSING IN ANN ARBOR is not
only expensive for a college town,
but also some especially parasitic
landlords collect rent year after year
without keeping housing up to
minimal city standards. Last week
tenants advocates brought pressure
to bear on the city council to take
action.
MSA-financed groups including
the Ann Arbor Tenants Union and
the University Student Legal
Services (SLS) did a real service
for students by bringing out the
city's lax enforcement of the
housing code. The Inter-
Cooperative Council also deserves
credit for participating.
The Ann Arbor Tenants Union's
activist work on the housing issue
is sorely needed if only because the
city literally has a policy of not
enforcing its housing code on
houses where tenants do not
complain. As City Councilmember
Seth Hirshorn pointed out, with
transient student tenants, it is

possible for landlords to slip by
year after year without meeting
even basic safety requirements.
One house on East Kingsley has
118 violations, but it is still on the
rental market. Hopefully he and the
city council will make this and
other housing issues a priority for
action.
The city's lack of action on
housing has become so bad that
one of the city's own housing
inspectors, Ray Ayer, is suing the
city to enforce its housing code.
Tenants should support such
efforts until the city changes its
basic approach to the housing
issue.
One possibility is to fine the really
deadbeat landlords for housing
violations and then use the money
to build affordable housing. This
would. bolster Ann Arbor's
construction related businesses,
resolve the housing shortage,
alleviate the homeless problem and
punish do-nothing landlords.

Have a good break

WHEN THE LIBRARY is your
home and the word processor your
best friend, pause (at least long
enough to read this editorial), take
a deep breath, and look ahead
toward the upcoming winter break.
The vacation provides students free
time to engage in activities and
pursuits that school has impeded.
The break also encompasses
important and symbolic days
which, for many, represent peace
and giving.
Winter break provides time for
fun. Weary eyes staring at small
type and yellow library walls, and
fizzled brains no longer functioning
properly enough to balance
overdrawn bank accounts need a
rest - vacation will be welcome.
Vacation offers an opportunity
for evaluating the mistakes of the
term. Gaining an awareness of
mistakes often creates new vigor
and drive. Whether graduating or
returning to school, a critical
realization of the last few months
provides a good base on which to
build.
Students are tossed back to the
outside world. Taking time to
regain touch with life outside Ann
Arbor, reading the newspaper, and
finding out what is happening may
be depressing, but rewarding. It
can be therapeutic to get a dose of
the 'reality' of non-college life.

Winter break presents the
opportunity for catching up on out-
of-class learning. Blow the dust
off those classic novels and delve
into one. See the movie that
everyone has been talking about
lately or take your parents to a rock
concert. Winter break is a great
time for skiing, skating, or
conversing with friends. Then
again, there's still time to sit and
ponder aimlessly.
While relaxing and enjoying
the break, take time to consider and
reflect on the spirit of the season.
The major holidays are
celebrated during the winter break.
Though often marred and distorted
by overzealous commercialization,
they propose virtues that everyone
can practice, with or without
religious affiliation. The break
should provide many people with
an incentive to share and to help the
less fortunate.
This season serves as a
reminder that love and
thoughtfulness are essential to the
well-being of all people. Society
doesn't need holidays such as
Christmas and Chanukah to
promote these feelings. Positive
actions such as giving, sharing,
and the advocacy of peace should
constitute an integral part of
everyday life, not just a few days
in the snowy season.

To the Daily:
The cartoon printed on the
Opinion page on December 8
demands a response, whether or
not the Daily attempts to
retract it. This cartoon, by a
Mr. Siegal, under the heading
"Back-to-school shopping in
Detroit," shows one student,
while robbing two others at
gunpoint, torn by indecision as
to exactly what he would like
to steal.
This is ludicrous and
offensive on so many fronts
that it is hard to know where to.
start. However, this is the first
question which comes to mind:
Which suburb is Mr. Siegal
from? To anyone from
southeastern Michigan, the
steady stream of anti-Detroit
rhetoric emanating from the
suburbs is quite familiar. (It
ceases when the Tigers win the
World Series, but only briefly.)
This cartoon would probably
play well in the Westland
Observer or the Birmingham
Eccentric (or the student
newspaper at UM-Dearborn, for
that matter).
Why not a cartoon about an
Ann Arbor rapist (we seem to
have quite a few) stalking his
victims, or a rich, suburban
high school student contem-
plating whether to commit
suicide by jumping off a bridge
onto a freeway or slashing his
wrists? From the perspective of
someone from another part of
the country, perhaps, these
three scenarios probably appear
to have equal amounts of
humor, which is to say none.
Another facet of the cartoon
which also provokes a gagging
reflex is the obvious and
unneccessary racism. One of
the two blacks portrayed is the
criminal (the black victim
probably is too, right, Mr.
Siegal? How else could a poor
city boy get an expensive
leather jacket, eh?) On the
other hand, maybe this is
something Mr. Siegal has
carefully thought out before
presenting. After all, the black
population is about two-thirds
of the total in Detroit, which
matches the proportion in his
cartoon. Perhaps this was what
he meant to tell us (and with
such grace and wit, too). There
are about 400,000 black
criminals in Detroit (too stupid
to hold down a job), 400,000
white victims of crime (they
want to get out but they're too
poor) and 400,000 black
victims (also too poor to get
out but too stupid to do so
even if they had the money).
Ridiculous? Well, if you've
ever seen people who stiffen up
at the sight of more than two
or three blacks together or
spoken with someone who
tacitly assumes that anyone
from Detroit is either an
ignorant black, a criminal, or a
victim of crime (or all three!),
it's not hard to believe that at
least part of this view is held
by many otherwise rational
people.
As a former (and perhaps
future) resident and worker in

the big, bad city, I can say that
I've had more experience with
crime in Ann Arbor than I ever
did in Detroit. This is not to
say that Detroit is free of
problems, because it has more
than its share. However,
Detroit is far from the
wasteland the ignorant xeno-
phobes portray it to be. It's a
great town to live and work in.
Actually, a case can be made
that, culturally, the wasteland
lies outside the city limits.
I wish the Daily had been
more careful in reviewing this
cartoon before publication. I
have no quarrel with Mr.
Siegal's right to whatever
ovinion he chooges hit should

inadequate
To The Daily:
The Daily's apology
(10/9/86) of the blatantly
prejudiced cartoon entitled
"Back to School Shopping in
Detroit" (published on the
preceding day.) does not even
come close to assuaging the
anger I still feel regarding a
common negative attitude
among students, towards
Detroit and its residents. As a
resident of the city myself, I
have found it increasingly
difficult to respond to the
continuous mocking and criti -
cism from fellow students,
which always accompanies
discussion of my hometown.
"Where are you from?" is a
common question and before I
have even completed the first
syllable of the word, everyone
within earshot reaches for his
wallet to make sure it is still
in place. These frequent epi -
sodes are inevitably followed
up with a brief lecture from
myself, explaining in earnest
that the common stereotypes of
Detroit are far from accurate.
This cartoon only serves to
intensify and perpetuate the
negative feeling which I, and
many other Motown residents
have been desperately trying to
reverse. Detroit is a wonderful
city of which I am proud to be
a resident!
It is possible that if the
cartoon had been captioned
"Back to School Shopping in
the City" it would have been
found humorous and non-
offensive by all.
-Laurel Herron
December 9
Racial tension bred
To The Daily:
As a student publication,
the Daily should be a forum for
higher education. However, as
exemplified on the Opinion
page in the December 8 issue,
the Daily has failed to uphold
this standard. The shortcoming
to which we refer is the
editorial cartoon entitled,
"Back-to-school shopping in
Detroit," (Daily 12/8/86)
which depicts a black high
school student robbing two
men. The stereotypical nature
of this picture is appalling.

school shopping in Detroit,"
(Daily, 12/8/86). To say the
least it was offensive and
disrespectful to the large
portion of the University
community from Detroit
schools. It was racist in its
implications, and it exhibits an
ignorance that Black students
on this campus have had to
deal with for far too long.
This cartoon followed the
special printing of the
University Record devoted to
minority concerns on campus.
These events are part of the
never ending cycle of the
University responding to
minority concerns with public
relations campaigns and broken
promises which are im -
mediately contradicted by racist
incidents such as the cartoon.
Perhaps what is most
disturbing is that The Daily,
which should be a vehicle
through which all student
views can be voiced with
sensitivity and respect has
proven to be part of the
problem. If The Daily is to
meet its responsibility to all
members of the University
community it must remove the.
disturbed mentality, that
allowed such a cartoon to be
printed, from its editorial
process. - Marvin Woods
Black Student Union
President

December 9

Apology

decide what he wants to steal.
Lastly, the most blatantly
offensive aspect of all is the
negative connotations that the
cartoon serves concerning
Blacks as a whole.
As The Daily is aware.
Certain racial issues have
recently been brought to the
attention of the administration
by the student body. Examples
of such are the problems of
insufficient financial aid, and
the refusal of the University to
grant Nelson Mandela an
honorary degree. With these
issues at the forefront the
publishing of this cartoon only
adds fuel to the mounting
flame. Although we realize
that this cartoon was printed on
the Opinion page, we recognize
that a difference exists between
subjectivity and this illustrated
ignorance.
The members of Delta
Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,
feel that this atrocious attempt
at humor only contributes to
the racial tension on this
campus and that its immediate
retraction was necessary.
- The members of
Delta Sigma Theta
Sorority, Inc.
December 9
Stupid stereotype
false
To The Daily:
We are writing in response
to the cartoon, "Back-to-school
shopping in Detroit,"
(Daily, 12/8/86). You have
reached an all 'time low of
reporting in your "paper." The
cartoon that we are speaking of
specifically depicts a young
black man robbing two other
young men(one black and one
white). We find this to be
both offensive to all blacks and
especially to those who live in
the city of Detroit. It shows
the ignorance of your
cartoonists.
This cartoon is amazingly
stereotypical of the black race,
as well as of the city of
Detroit. How dare you print
such an offensive and ignorant
idea in your paper. True, there
is crime in this city, but this is
true in all cities - large and
small. It is true in the suburbs
as well as in the city. You are
totally ignorant to believe
otherwise.
This cartoon shows a person
who is not even bright enough
to decide what he wants to
steal. He speaks in improper
english, using such words as
"dunno." Further, the cartoon
implies that blacks are only
interested in stealing gym
shoes and leather jackets. If
you are going to do this, why
not also depict his mother as
being on welfare, his sister as
pregnant, his father as an
alcoholic, his brother as a crack
addict or dealer, and his
grandmother as a prostitute?
It is this kind of material
that makes your paper not
worth reading any more. It is
this kind of ignorance that
makes your paper not worth
the tree which died for it.
This kind of cartoon does

not belong in a university
paper. The Daily should not
be a forum for ignorant people
to air their unfounded
prejudices. You and the
cartoonist owe us (as black
students) and the rest of your
readers an apology for this kind
of libelous opinion.
- John W. Simms,III
- Sean D. Brown
- Nicole Y. Lamb
December 8
Insensitive protrayal
To the Daily:
We, the members of
Ambatana Minority Council of

ascism
specifically to the students at
Detroit Central High School.
As one of the main media
sources on this campus, the
Daily should be more selective
in choosing materials to be
published. Cartoons are
supposed to be humorous, no
degrading. We feel that this
cartoon was extremely dis
tasteful and full of negative
implications which affect all
members of the University
community.
By the Daily allowing thii
cartoon to appear in print it iS
merely reinforcing stereotypes
of Blacks and increasing racism
on this campus. This prom-
iscuity of the Daily staff only
contributes to the nurturing of
racism here.
We are well aware of the
crime situation in Detroit but
you must realize what a single
cartoon such as this can do to
the image of the city and its
residents.
The staff members wh6
allowed the cartoon to le
printed should be helid
accountable for their actions
and it is necessary that the
Daily printed an apology and is
taking measures to see to it
that things of this nature do
not occur in the future..'
- Ambatana Minoriy
Council South Quad
December 9
Poor taste and info
To The Daily:
The cartoon "Back-to-school
shopping in Detroit," (Daily, r
12/8/86) showed a lack of
taste, judgement, and informat-
ion by The Daily and M.
Siegal.
It is apparent that Mr.
Siegal grew up in the sheltered
environment of the suburbs and
has no perspective on the
problems facing inner city
youths and schools. Poverty,
middle class envy, and guns are
deep rooted problems that Mr.
Siegal's cartoon tries to
exploit.
Furthermore, as would be
expected by a trashy cartoon
such as this, the perpetrator of
the crime is black (he is also
stupid, as shown by his use of
language, "I dunno") and the
victims are white and one
small black youth with*
glasses. Stereotypes such as
this do not help the problems
in Detroit either.
It seems very easy fo;
people situated away from
Detroit to engage in "Detrojt
bashing." This cartoon and
countless other stories we read
in non-Detroit papers and other.
national media are evidence of
this problem. I think its
high time people stopped this
useless effort of Detroij
bashing.
- David Alle
Detroit
December 8
Daily licks toilet:,

To the Daily:
You folks certainly licke4
the bottom of the "ethical
toilet bowl," in the choice.of
your most recent cartoon
entitled, "Back to School
Shopping in Detroit" (Dail
12/8/86). I find it almoQt
pathetically patronizing and
equally as unjust to provide a
mere three paragragraphs
apology for a "mistake" such
as this.
It is also distressing A.
realize that the level of editon
responsibility at the Daily ,s
bursting at the seams with
almost sub-human sensitivity-
I believe some serious
reshuffling in the ranks is in
order if you guys can't realise
and stop a "mistake" before it
L . .. . A ._

r
, ,

_ 71 . -II F , T1

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