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April 03, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-04-03

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4

OPINION
Friday. April 3. 1987

Page 4

The Michigan Daily,.

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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'Vol. XCVII, No. 126

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

.,;,nsigned 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.

City

endorsements

MONDAY, ANN ARBOR WILL
VOTE for mayor'and city council
cahdidates. The following are the
Dilly's choices in three of Ann
Arbor's five wards.
First Ward: In a ward which
i ariably elects Democrats, the
R epublicans have had difficulty
attracting credible candidates. This
year is no exception.
,.Like last year's Republican
candidate Debra Shannon, this
year's nominee, Ron Witchie, is
not only a newcomer to city
politics, but a newcomer to the city
itself. Witchie, an environmental
engineer, moved to the city just six
months ago.
Witchie's Democratic opponent,
Ann Marie Coleman, is a campus
minister at Guild House and has
had over a decade of experience in
local politics. Unlike Witchie,
Coleman has experience both with
students and in the rest of the
community.
Coleman has worked with
campus groups opposed to
intervention in Central America.
As a councilperson, she would
put the off-campus housing crunch
at the forefront of city concerns.
Coleman has hands on
experience working in city
government, most notably in the
pay equity study. Ann Marie
Coleman is clearly the best choice
in the first ward..
Second Ward: As one of Ann
Arbor's most affluent wards, the
second ward has traditionally voted
Republican.
Seth Hirshorn broke this pattern
last year by running a grass roots
campaign advocating the interests
of students and homeowners. This
year's Democratic nominee, Mary
Reilly, is following in Hirshorn's
footsteps.
Republican candidate Terry
Martin is a fiscal and social
Walking foi
EVERYONE IN ANN ARBOR
should take a stand against racism
by walking in tomorrow's second
annual Freedom March. The
Freedom March commemorates the
twentieth anniversary of Martin
Luther King, Jr.'s death and
expresses solidarity with oppressed
people of color all over the world.
For the University community,
the march begins on the Diag at one
in the afternoon. For other
residents of Washtenaw county,
the march begins as early as 9:30
a.m. when members of the
Ypsilanti community gather.
Groups of marchers from
Ypsilanti, metropolitan Ann Arbor
and the University of Michigan
campus will come together for a
rally featuring local and national
speakers including a representative
of the African National Congress,
the leading organization of Blacks
in South Africa.
It is in the interest of students to
participate in the march and express
their concern over racial problems.
Both overt and structural racism are

present in the University today.
Racially motivated harassment and
vandalism are regular occurrences.
Structural racism pervades the
administration's hiring and admis -
sions policies.
Not all the opposition comes
from overtly racist people. Some

conservative who favors limited
government. Her opposition to
school desegregation as a school
board member in the 1970s
contrasts starkly with Reilly's
opposition to racism both on
campus and in the community.
To alleviate Ann Arbor's
housing crunch, Reilly is
committed to pressuring the
University to build more student
housing and should be supported
in Monday's election.
Third Ward: Because of its
willingness to unseat incumbents
of either party, the Third Ward is
considered Ann Arbor's swing
ward.
Incumbent Democrat Jeff Epton
seems unlikely to fall victim to this
fate. Two years ago he won
reelection by more than 700 votes
and has maintained close contact
with his constituents.
While Epton has been criticized
by his opponent, Republican Isaac-
Jacobein Campbell, for spending
time on national and international
issues rather than local concerns.
Epton's concerns accurately reflect
those of his constituents. Despite
opposition from Republicans, the
sister city proposal was passed
with 61 percent of the vote.
Though The Daily, and most
students in the ward, opposed
Epton's support of rezoning in
North Burns ,Park, Campbell has
said he also would have voted for
rezoning
Campbell is justified in his
concern about crime in Ann Arbor
and budgetary responsibility. His
enthusiasm, articulateness, and
warm, friendly manner would be
excellent qualities in a city
councilperson. In terms of
experience, however, Jeff Epton
has the edge and deserves
reelection.
r the dream
The racist tendencies of the
University, however, a reflection
of national racism. The Reagan
administration, purports this racist
tone, taking harsh stands against
programs advocating proportional
representation and legislation
prohibiting racial biases in the job
market. Forsyth County publicizes
its disdain for Black people and
lynchings occur in Central Park.
Members of the Ann Arbor
community who participate in the
Freedom March will set an example
for the country by showing that
they actively oppose the racist
aspects of U. S. society.
In South Africa, Blacks continue
to struggle against the life shat -
tering system of apartheid that rules
the country. The University of
Michigan deigned to award Nelson
Mandela an honorary degree, but,
hypocritically, full divestment still
is not a reality at the University.
Black citizens of South Africa face
a costly struggle to gain the right of
self-determination. People partici -
pating in the Freedom March will

show solidarity with the oppressed
Blacks of South Africa and send a
message of opposition to their
white oppressors.
Twenty years ago, Martin Luther
King Jr. died in Memphis,
Tennessee. He was assassinated
while showing his solidarity with

By Anonymous
Reason 3: To Allow Non-gays to Feel
the Kind of Oppression All Gay People
Suffer, Whether Open or Closeted. If the
above two reasons were our only goals,
we could have adopted much more direct
and simpler methods. The merits of
employing the tactic of a Blue Jeans Day
are at once subtler but more profound.
Sexuality is something we each feel
very personally; it infuses our daily lives,
and is a key aspect of who we are, who
we love. Its expression to and acceptance
by self and others is critical to healthy
human functioning. Non-gay people feel
free to present their true selves to the
world, that is, to be open and blatant
about their heterosexuality, without fear
of verbal harassment, violence, or the
loss of civil rights. They are at liberty to
wear wedding rings and hold hands with
their opposite-sex partners in public, to
discuss their feelings and relationship
joys or problems with classmates or co-
workers, and to enjoy in a multitude of
other ways the self-affirmation and social
support of their opposite-sex
relationships that comes with being freely
open.
Lesbians and gay men have the very
same human needs, but every day our
homophobic society forces gay people to
make a choice about how they will
present themselves to the outside world
- about the kind of psycho-social
"clothes" they will wear that day. A gay
person can choose to be equally honest
and open about her/his same-sex
orientation, but being open does not
mean being free. While this "coming out"
can be an incredibly self-affirming process
(and is why so many gay people over the
past two decades have taken the risk),
instead of receiving social support and
acceptance the openly-gay person is
exposed to the many overt forms of anti-
gay prejudice already described.
Or a gay person can attempt to "pass
him/herself off as straight" - an ability
unique among oppressed minorities.
"Passing" hides the prevalence of our
numbers and masks the extent of anti-gay
repression, but it reduces neither. That is,
passing does not avoid the oppression; it
The author's name has been withheld
on request,for obvious reasons.
Wasserman-

only internalizes it. It means withholding
the expression of many of your most
important feelings, even to those close to
you. (Instead of being the ultimate source
of comfort and acceptance, the family, and
particularly your parents, threatens the
ultimate fear of rejection.) Especially for
people who have significant same-sex
feelings but haven't accepted them,
passing isolates you in a very silent, very
lonely, very painful world of self-denial,
and reinforces a negative self-image that
society perpetuates through vicious mis-
characterizations of what kind of people
gay people are,
The pain of self-denial inherent in
passing is incredibly intense, but is
matched only by the fear of discovery.
Passing means living a double-life:
keeping friendships artificially superficial,
being evasive to friendly queries about
what you did last weekend, being careful
to substitute "she" when you mean "he"
and vice versa. A slipped pronoun at
work, or a picture of your lover
mistakenly over-looked in your frantic
attempt to "degay" your home when the
family or landlord comes over, can mean
the loss of a lifetime of employment.
And pension. And health insurance. And
housing. And family. And expose you to
the myriad of other forms of abuse you'd
spent so much mental energy and worry
trying desperately to avoid. Passing is
incredibly draining - but if done right,
then nobody knows. The invisibility of
lesbians and gay men on this campus
only dramatizes the prevalence, not the
absence, of anti-gay oppression here.
Gay people, then, indeed have a choice
about what clothes they will present to
the outside world. They can wear the
clothes that represent their real selves, or
they can wear the clothes of passing. But
neither choice allows lesbians and gay
men to avoid the homophobia and
heterosexism that society thrusts upon
us. That is, gay people have a limited
,choice how to be oppressed, but not
whether or not to be oppressed.
The tactic of thrusting upon the 'U' a
Gay Blue Jeans Day portrays this lack of
effective choice to escape such
imposition, while reflecting back on the
whole university community a hint of its
own anti-gay bigotry, that gay people
usually invisibly suffer alone. For most
students, being our normal selves clothes-
wise means wearing blue jeans. But Blue

to blue
Jeans Day forces people to choose either
to be their normal denim-clad selves, and
so expose themselves to that amount of
anti-gay ridicule that attends even those
who support such a radical proposal as
fair treatment and equal rights for gay
people. Or people can choose
purposefully to avoid their usual denim
and instead clothe themselves in a facade
of other fabric in the hope of avoiding
that ridicule. What people can not do is
avoid the imposition of having to make
such a choice, and the assumptions about
your sexuality and moral worth people
will make that day based on what you
wear.
Many people will avoid denim like the
plague on Friday, as they conspicuously
did during the last two local Gay Blue
Jeans Day's in '78 and '81. Some people
will be caught unaware and may feel they
have to explain themselves. Many will be
incensed at the idea and imposition of a
Blue Jeans Day altogether. Well, we at-
LaGROC think you should be incensed.
We are. We have the same homophobic
oppression thrust upon us in the very
same way. But we have to deal with it
every day of our lives, not just Friday,
and riskfar greater consequences, whether
from being identified as gay or from
surpressing our feelings and identity.
If you already support gay rights then
it's simple: if you don't have to wear
some uniform, make sure you wear denim
on Friday. If you are incensed at the
imposition of a Blue Jeans Day in the:
first place, then you should be equally:
incensed at anti-gay oppression, because
the form and the substance of both are the
same. Speak out against the impositions
Blue Jeans Day represents, then, by:
speaking out against anti-gay oppression.t
Rather than internalize your oppression
by "passing" as a non-supporter, exercise
your right to self-determination while
supporting ours at the same time by,
wearing denimon Friday. You won't be:
able to tell whether any one person is
wearing denim that day to make a protest
statement, or because that is what that
person normally wears. The ambiguity;
both protects the individual while makijng
everyone a suspect supporter. Rather
you'll have to look for any campus-wid
change in denim wear and attitude to get a,
hint of the extent of anti-gay oppression
here. For our part, though, we hope to;
see the campus decked out in denim.

4

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MYJ' D)OLT WE ACCEPT T -5 O'AT
OFKJ2 FoR A BAN ON NUCLEAR 1" IN&?
~LETTERS_

P~c4 el-SnN& j I loRMTrFog
NEW W PaNS D6V7"t.OMENT..

0
AND DEVeOPMENT D~o WE~ NEED
IS ME.Y To STaPNTE61c SUPEtRIORTY?
SoQERIOi~y/
Lam' T

HAOW ELSE CAN \N- GE T N
,5W(FITS To .roF 1%TIN& 2

4
t

Families of POWs-MIAs stil

To the Daily:
Movies like "Rambo" and
"Missing in Action" have
helped to popularize the plight
of over 1,797 United States
service men still listed as
missing in action in Vietnam.
They have raised awareness of
the issue that many families
have been suffering from for a
long time. Namely, when will
the son, brother or father who
went to Vietnam come home.
For many of these families it
has been a hard road to travel.
They have lived through 680
eyewitness accounts that stated
the finding of the United States
Vote 'straight'
To the Daily:
The Lesbian-Gay Political
Caucus of Washtenaw County
is pleased to endorse all of the
Democratic candidates in the
Ann Arbor General Election.
These candidates for Mayor
and for City Council have
given oral and written con -
firmation of their support for
the civil and human rights of

service men still alive in
Vietnam, only to be crushed by
despair when further investi -
gation and scrutiny find the
reports invalid.
The Pentagon now list all but
one symbolic prisoner of war
as presumed dead, but they
continue to check up on all
reported sightings of American
service men. This is despite
the 1979 report from a special
Congressional committee that
concluded, as did a more recent
panel specially appointed by
former President Carter, that
there were no more prisoners of
war left in Vietnam.
Democratic
particular needs that the City
should address.
A statement made by Second
Ward Republican candidate
Terry Martin can speak for
itself: "I cannot accept assump -
tions of universal discrimi -
nation as I personally find the
gays of my acquaintance sensi -
tive and responsible citizens."
For a fuller analysis of the

The Reagan administration is
putting pressure on the com -
munist government of Vietnam
for resolution of the POW-
MIA issue. The Admini -
stration hopes that Hanoi's
desire for renewal of diplomatic
ties with the U. S. will lead to
the resolution of the POW-
MIA problem. The Reagan
administration knows that the
communist government hopes
that it will receive economic
aid for its shattered economy in
exchange for the remains of
missing service men. The
administration is using this as
leverage to gain access to the
crash sites of American aircraft
in Vietnam.
Clean up pO.
To the Daily:
Spring is finally here. The
birds are chirping, flowers
blooming, and students
studying on the grass or
enjoying the beautiful weather.
What a glorious time to be in
Ann Arbor-

P suffer
Already the Hanoi government
has made significant con
cessions to the Reagan admini;t
stration. They have sent th6
remains of many service mew
back to the United States;
They have also agreed to other
joint activities that could help
to resolve the POW-MIA
issue.
However, no American
service men have been found
alive in Vietnam. The chances
of finding live Americans is
slim at best, but the friends and
families of POW-MIAs
continue to hope for miracles.
-Daniel Scheffler
January 11
'ter pollution
an effective way to get their
messages across to the student
body. They put it down, and
then, perhaps we read it. But
who picks it up? I think that
everyone who is responsible
for using this kind of free I

S

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