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April 10, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-04-10

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4

OPINION
Friday, April 10, 1987

The Michigan Daily

r b 41, dCiyxu 4ai1
SEedt antichigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

UCAR keeps up pressure

Vol.

XCVII, No. 131

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

I 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.
Affirmative .action upheld.

N MARCH 25, THE U.S.
Supreme Court struck down a
reverse discrimination challenge to
an: affirmative action plan
voluntarily adopted by a county
transportation authority in Cali-
fornia. This decision, which
explicitly devoted itself only to sex
discrimination, has substantial
inplications for all kinds of
voluntary affirmative action plans
and marks a limited but important
step forward toward true equality
of opportunity for women and
minorities in the job market.
The ruling in Johnson v.
Transportation Authority interprets
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 to allow 'a broad range of
voluntary employer affirmative
action. This interpretation contains
three significant victories for pro-
affirmative action forces. First, it
extends to affirmative action plans
for women the protection which
previous rulings had given to racial
affirmativeaction plans.
Second, the court made clear that
employers may implement volun-
tary plans even though they have
not themselves previously discrimi-
nated as long as there is a "manifest
imbalance" between the percentage
of women and minorities on the job
and the percentage in the general
population who possess the
relevant qualifications.
Third, in a footnote, the court
silenced assertions that the Four -
teenth Amendment's Equal Protec -
tion Clause prohibits public em -
ployers from adopting voluntary
plans.
This decision is an, eminently
reasonable interpretation of Title
VII. Congress passed the landmark
statute in 1964 to "break down old
patterns of racial segregation and
hierarchy" throughout society and,
especially, in the work force.
Several years later, it amended the

law to ban sex discrimination as
well. Congress certainly did not
intend to fashion a weapon for
white males to wield against af -
firmative action employers.
The decision recognizes the in -
escapable reality that the law cannot
became color blind or sex blind
while women and minorities are
hamstrung by past discrimination.
Accordingly, Johnson allows em -
ployers to consider as one factor
the status of an applicant as a
female or a minority in order to
compensate for the effects of our
society's long history of injustice.
It is important to note, however,
that the scope of affirmative action
is still strictly limited. The Supreme
Court stopped short of endorsing
voluntarily adopted numerical
hiring goals and, by citing its 1978
decision in Regents of the
University of California v. Bakke ,
implicitly condemned their use.
Furthermore, current, federal law
requires affirmative action of only,
the federal government, federal
government contractors, and
educational institutions which
receive federal funds.
In future rulings, the court
should endorse reasonable numeri-
cal goals. Moreover, Congress
should require affirmative action
hiring and promotion practices of
all employers subject to Congress'
power to do so.
When someone has been the
victim of discrimination in educa -
tion, housing, and prior em -
ployment, he or she is at such a
disadvantage relative to other appli -
cants that an absolutely non-
discriminatory review of the job
application merely perpetuates the
effects of past injustice. A fair
umpire isn't much good to a batter
who already has two strikes against
him.

By Barbara Ransby
This is the second of a two-part series.
Demand 6:
Orientation for Incoming Minority
Students
This orientation workshop would give
Minority students a chance to meet already
enrolled Minority sutdents and faculty and
to help them feel less alienated and isolated
during their first few weeks of college.
Since most Minority students, especially
Blacks students, come from high schools
which have a significant if not predominate
Minority student body, the transition to a
school where the White/Black ration is 20
to 1 can be quite difficult. The workshop
would welcome these students and give
them a sense of what campus life will be
like as a Minority student.
Status: The University is considering this
demand
Demand 7:
Tuition Waivers for Under-represented and
Economically Disadvantaged Minority
Students.
Many poor Black, Chicano and Native
American high school students do not even
apply to the University because the high
tuition cost is prohibitive, especially for
out of state students. This is of course a
difficulty for White students as well.
However, considering that the average
income for Black and Chicano families is
significantly less than their White counter-
parts and that the gap is widening, the high
cost of tuition and inadequate financial aid
are key factors in the exclusion of many
Minority students from the University.
Low-income students who do come to the
University often have to work full time in
order to survive which translates into
academic pressure and many drop out. This
waivers system for low-income Minorities
would not only make the campus more
diverse racially and culturally, but in terms
of class as well.
Status: The University has, thus far,
rejected this demand.
Demand 8:
A Minority Lounge and Office in the
Michigan Union.
This facility would allow Minority
students a comfortable and supportive place
to meet and discuss common problems and
concerns. A centrally located office of this
sort is desperately needed. Students of
color feel like a "minority" in absolutely
every place on campus, the libraries, the
MUG, the classroom, and the dorms. Even
the Black sororities and fraternities do not
have houses of their own. One room is
Barbara Ransby is a leader of the United
Coalition Against Racism (UCAR).

really not very much to ask.
Status: The University is considering this
demand.
Demand 9:
A Required Course on Racism and
Diversity for all University Students
This University tells incoming students
that in order to have a well rounded
education they must take a certain number
of science and humanities courses. We feel
that students must also have an under-
standing of the history and implications of
racism in order to fully understand the
complex and diverse society we live in. In
fact, the three students who have admitted
to and apologized for participating in racist
incidents have all pleaded ignorance as the
excuse for their actions. At a distinguished
academic institution such as this there is
really no excuse for such rampant
ignorance. This course would not only
educate students about racism but would
combat some of the myths that fuel it.
Status: The University has rejected this
demand
Demand 10:
Full, public and immediate investigation of
all reported incidents of racial harassment
and a publicized mechanism for reporting
such incidents
Racist threats and assaults are crimes not
only against the individual victims but
against all of us who are concerned about
having a safe and fair campus. We can
only know the extent of this problem if it
is carefully documented and monitored.
However, if this documentation is secret
we have no way of knowing if our anti-
racist programs are effective or whether the
situation is improving or worsening.
Also, making investigations public will
help to deter other would-be perpetrators,
letting them know that there will be
consequences for their actions. We all have
a right to know exactly what racist
incidents are taking place on campus, who
is involved in them and what the
administration is doing about it.
Status: This demand has been partially,
but inadequately met. The University says
it is conducting investigations and phone
numbers have been posted regarding where
to report racist incidents. However, the
University has refused to make the details
of its completed investigations public,
including the name of the person who
circulated the KKK-type flier in Couzens
Hall.
Demand 11:
Full Observance of the Martin Luther King
Holiday including closing the University.
Dr. King dedicated his life, not only to
the rights of Black Americans, but to
human rights throughout the world. His
dream was for a just society for everyone.

To honor his birthday, a legal national
holiday, would help to remind us all of
how far we have to go to realize Dr. King's
dream and would represent a symbolic
pledge by the University to make its
contribution toward that goal. Unfortu-
nately, racism, bigotry and intolerance are
daily practices in our society. We could at
least break with our routines one day out of
the year to honor someone who spent his
life fighting against these things. Anti-
racist programs and educational events
should be held in lieu of of regular classes
on this day, January 19th.
Status: This demand has been rejected.
Although a number of programs in honor
of Dr. King were held last year, some of
these were poorly attended because classes
and work commitments prevented many
from attending. The University apparently
does not see this day as important enough
to warrant a pause in our regular business.
Demand 12:
The immediate removal of all those
perpetrators of racist incidents front the
dorms.
Those who make racist threats and
otherwise persecute and harass Minority
students have demonstrated their inability
to live in an integrated setting. The;
victims and potential victims of these
racist students should not be made to live,
in fear of another, perhaps more serious,
assault. This type of racist behavior is in
clear violation of the University's housing
lease and is therefore grounds for evictionI
immediately. This type of sanction does
not, repeat, does not, require theTi
implementation of a code of non-academic
conduct. UCAR realizes that a code will P
be used against activists like ourselves, not I
campus racists. Individuals who make,,c
explicit or implicit threats against others
can and should not only be evicted but
criminally prosecuted. The University,,
should help to guarantee both and they do,
not need a code to do so.
Status: This demand has been partially
met because the University has asked the
Couzens flyer culprit to leave. But, it has,
given him considerable leeway as to when
to leave.
All students interested in supporting the
UCAR demands can sign our petition
against racism being circulated in the
dorms and the Fishbowl this week. Also,
all anti-racist students should wear a red or
green armband to make campus racists feel
like the minority that they are. Finally,
there will be a teach-in on racism,
Saturday, April 11th, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.,;
Anderson room, Michigan Union. Student'
leaders from several other campuses will be
with us for the teach-in. All are welcome.

4

4

LETTERS

The Opinion page is looking for
investigative researchers to have their own
watchdog columns on particular local
subjects, such as Ann Arbor housing,
police and the court system. Call 747-
2814

Capitalist crisis causes racist

climate

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To the Daily:
Two recent racist incidents
on campus (i.e., the racist flyer,
at Couzens Hall and the racist
"jokes" on a campus radio
station) have dramatically
brought the question of racism
to the attention of U-M
students.
Most students realize that
these two incidents (and others
before it) are not isolated. The
number and intensity of racist
assaults against national
minorities in the U.S., partic -
ularly against Afro-Americans,
has increased markedly during
the past several years.
The Howard Beach attack,
the most recent of these events,
stands out because of the
viciousness of the assault and
the death of Michael Griffith.
Other incidents, not so highly
publicized, have included the
stoning of an Afro-American's
home in Cleveland; the police
torture, with stun guns, of
Latino youths in Huntington
Park, California; and the order
by a racist sheriff in Louisiana
to stop any Afro-American
driving through white neigh-
borhoods.
The resurgence of these
racist assaults does not indicate
a rise in racism within the
general population. Rather, it
reflects a climate of racism
rrentirt y n nv-rm-. tha

which weakens the working
class in its fight against the
ruling class. Many people,
who might be called passive
racists, harbor racist ideas that
obstruct building working class
unity. A much smaller num -
ber are pathological racist who
commit terrorist acts against
national minorities. The
degree to which these people
act out this pathology depends
on the climate of racism -
that is, whether it is "socially
acceptable" to commit acts of
violence and terror against
national minorities.
Two related causes of this
climate of racist "permissive -
ness" are the structural crisis of
U.S. capitalism and the racist
policies of the Reagan
administration.
Two. of the fundamental
manifestation of the current
crisis of captalism, as it affects
the U.S., are a rise in the
unemployment level and high
levels of deficit spending.
Unemployment is rising, in
part, because capitalism has
moved to other countries to
exploit labor at a higher rate so
that profits can continue to
rise. This has resulted in a
decline in the basic
manufacturing industries,
particularly auto and steel. Not
only are Afro-Americans
disnronortionatelv emninved in

Reagan administration.
The policies of Reaganism
have been to support high
levels of unemployment,
particularly among Afro-
American workers, while
identifying those without jobs
as the cause of unemployment,
via racist theories of the
"underclass," underachievers,"
and so forth.
At the same time the
military buildup is being
financed through cutting social
services. Again, those social
services are disproportionately
use by Afro-Americans. To
buttress the racist effects of
Reaganism, there has also been
a concerted effort to destroy
affirmative action, voting
rights and school deseg,
regation.
The Reagan administration,

therefore, has sought to create-
an atmosphere in which it is-
once again acceptable to com -,
mit acts of racist violence and:
terrorism. This atmosphere
even seeps into the popular
culture. Racist stereotypes in
movies and TV have become
familiar once again.
The only way to stop the:
rise in racist assaults is
through building unity among:
all people who oppose racism.
Multi-racial organizations"
rooted among workers and
fighting racism and the policies,
of Reaganism must be the key
to turning back this tide of
racism.
-Michael Edwards
Ann Arbor Club
Communist Party USA:
February 19;
4'

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