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October 05, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-05

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4

OPINION
Page 4, Monday, October 5, 1987 The Michigan Daily

bem tgan tla
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII, No. 18 420 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.

Fight injustice you.

know

.

Check police power

A NN ARBOR CITY
OUNCILMEMBER Jeff Epton
recently announced that he will
propose to the city council a plan to
create a task force to review the
police department. This task force
should include students and
thembers of the University
community.
The city police force has
historically infringed upon the
rights of students and community
tembers, especially those
participating in political protest.
When the NBC Today was aired
from campus two years ago, the
police violated students' by tearing
4 banner from the hands of a
protester. This violated the
student's freedom of speech and
4xpression.
w An internal police investigation
lAst year, stemming from police
Abuses on campus, exposed the
police as incapable of reviewing the
NBC incident. The police denied
the episode despite eyewitness
accounts and photographic evidence
contradicting it.
Ann Arbor police routinely video
tape protests and other campus and
community incidents, but Police
Chief Corbett refuses to divulge
with whom he shares the video
tapes. This type treatment harasses
the community with no check on
police power.
Police brutality, the ultimate abuse
of power, went unchecked at Art
Fair, this past summer. Several
students were reportedly brutalized
by police after Deputy Chief
Lunsford ordered the dispersal of a
legal assembly of about a thousand
fairgoers. Lunsford claimed he felt
a potential for violence.
The incident demonstrates that
their was a potential for violence,
but it may not have come from the
fairgoers. Lunsford dismissed the
charges of brutality, rationalizing,
they may have come from students
angry that the crowd was broken

up.
The police have also been
involved in several seemingly racist
incidents. During anti-racist
activities on campus last spring,
Prof. Donald Deskins, a black man,
was pulled over by a police car that
headed in the opposite direction. It
would have been nearly impossible
for the police to see the chipped
license plate or bald tires for which
he was pulled over.
In a similar incident, Professor
Aldon Morris was on his way home
from a meeting at the Institute for
Social Research when he was
pulled over by police, who were
looking for a man who robbed a
bank that night. The police refused
to contact the people Morris was
meeting with and instead insisted he
would have to appear in a photo
line-up in order to clear his name.
Morris refused. It was only after
Morris' picture appeared in the
newspaper did the police drop him
from the list of suspects.
The police conducted an internal
investigation of the incident and, as
usual, found nothing wrong.
There is a definite need for a
indepth review of the Ann Arbor
Police department. Jeff Epton's
proposal should be ratified by the
city council and approved by Mayor
Gerald Jernigan.
Jernigan has threatened a veto and
if such action is taken students
should make sure to register to
vote. When this task force is
approved, students and other
members of the University
community must be integrally
involved, because they have been
the victims of continual police
abuses.
Abuse of police power is
pervasive not only in Ann Arbor,
but the entire country. The
community must monitor police
actions and demand an accounting
for any illegal actions or ethically
intolerable violations.

By Errol Anthony
Henderson
I live in Detroit. I commute to Ann
Arbor. I've spent all but the last six years
of my life in the Brewster Projects on the
eastside of Detroit. That fact alone has
oriented my life and way of thinking like
nothing else. I believe that I have an
inestimable responsibility to those
African-Americans who suffer material,
psychological, and/or physical privation
due to social inequities. I also have a
healthy skepticism for those who purport
to speak for these deprived souls that
inhabit the projects, ghettoes, inner-cities,
etc.
When people take up the mantle of
social justice they usually do it in the
name of the exploited and oppressed.
However, all too often, the rewards of
social protest accrue disproportionally to
those who speak for the deprived more so
than the deprived themselves. It is time
for those of us who are aware of this fact
to make necessary changes in order to
make those who speak for the oppressed
more accountable to those who are
oppressed.
This phenomenon is manifest in the
role black students play at the University
vis a vis the black communities of
Detroit. You can see black students of
every ideological bent espousing freedom
for whatever piece of geography that is
fashionable on campus. There are the
sons and daughters of those who took
pictures at the March on Washington and
who still tell stories of how they once
touched Martin King. Today these sons
and daughters will get arrested outside the
South African embassy (cameras in hand),
but the only significance Zambia has to
them is that they think that's where Kunta
Kinte was from. Some people are
legitimately outraged and concerned and
want to play aaproductive role; however,
too many are bandwagoners -
voortrekkers if you will.
The connection between t h e
voortrekkers' actions and my earlier point
is this: I believe that there is a direct
correlation among black students between
the geographical source of a political issue
and the level of political protest around
that issue. That is, as the distance
Errol Anthony Henderson is a graduate
student in the Department of Political
Science and is a member of the Black
Student Union.

between the physical source of social
injustice increases, so does the shouting of
those who "profess to favor freedom."
Black students will claim struggles as
their own the more physically detached
they are from that fight. Why? Because
the further you are away from a fight the
less fighting you have to do. It's so much
easier to give lip service to something
than to fight for it one's self.
Case in point: Many people last
spring protested against this university
because of it's racist policies. We did this
not only in the name of black students
here at the University but especially for
those blacks who, through no fault of
their own, would never get here.
Last year's actions were necessary but
not sufficient to better the lot of the latter-
group. A black student (especially one
from Detroit) can not call the University
to task for its obligations to blacks
without concomitantly making that same
protest to the Detroit Board of Education.
You cannot be valiantly screaming in the
white face of Harold Shapiro without
screaming in the black faces of Arthur
Jefferson, Gloria Cobbin, and Alonzo
Bates. Now you know what I'm talking
about! Detroit schools are administered by
people who don't lose a minute of sleep
worrying about how people graduate
without knowing how to read or write.
They don't miss a second of The Cosby
Show worrying about the gross number of
black dropouts. Black students will be big
and brave cursing out Shapiro, but I'll be
damned if anyone of them would come
down to Woodward and Putnam and wave
a finger at the Board. No way.
We can't talk about the problems of
black students as if white people are the
cause and sole perpetuators of them. No.
We have to be accountable to those black
students who want to get an education by
helping to make an education in the
Public School League possible. And you
can't do that in Ann Arbor!
You've got to go to the source, and the
source is black people in Detroit: That's
the fight. It doesn't take any heart to sit
up here cursing white folks: That's
bullshit. Let's go to Detroit and meet
with the Board of Education that not only
can't educate anyone, but can't even
protect the students who want to learn
from being killed. Why the hell is
everybody looking at South Africa for a
state of emergency? You've got a state of
emergency at your doorstep. How many
black kids have to die in Detroit before

we see this state of emergency? How
much higher must the black infant
mortality rate go? How many more
murders must there be? It's easy to curse
white folks in Ann Arbor. Let's curse
some of the "brothers" who are rolling
cane. It's easy to boycott the Student
Union. Let's boycott the crack houses
around our high schools. It's easy to
reduce a complex four hundred year process
into one of black faces and white faces.
Let's use the tools of science and our own
ethics to deliberate on problems and then
enact realistic, tangible solutions in a
timely fashion. It's easy- to be a
revolutionary at the University. I'd love
to see one of these revolutionaries at night
on Mack Avenue talk revolution.
It's easy to talk about what young
blacks need. There's a black reading
month program in all Detroit high
schools: I'm going to Northern; let's go
back and show these young men and
women that there is an alternative to
rolling, or being in the joint, or joining
the Army, or being dead. Let's show by
our presence. How many blacks here have
gone back to their junior highs to show
these kids that there are alternatives?
Think of the pride young blacks would
have in us if we went back to them and
showed them that we cared? Think of the
insight we could give?
We can't go to them with the
abstractions and dialectical materialism and
simplistic notions of reality. We'd go to
them with something tangible. No pie in
the sky welfare check dreams of some
inevitable social transformation - help
them work out a day care schedule so that
more can stay in school. We'd give them
something they could use today or
tomorrow, so they won't have to wait
until the second coming of Malcolm X.
Let's be responsible and accountable to
those who need us the most. This
responsibility is not luxury: It's our duty.
We show the way. We guide. Because we
have the analytical tools and opportunities
that too few of our people have.
Don't get me wrong, protest South
Africa, protest Nicaragua, protest New
Caledonia, protest wherever you find
injustice. But ask yourself, "Who are you
protesting for?" If it's for yourself, buy a
button to wear and talk about showing
"solidarity." If it's for the people,then go
to them - wherever they are, because
when the shouting stops, the fight really
begins. So let's get busy.

Backpacks have two straps

Film co-ops in peril

FOR MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS,
students have enjoyed the best of
revival, art and foreign films
courtesy of the student-run campus
film co-ops.
Declining interest in film as an art
fOrm, the advent of VCRs, and
competition from both the Michigan
Theater and new co-ops have
threatened the film groups' financial
stability. One film co-op, Cinema
II, has been forced to stop showing
this semester after falling $11,000
into debt.
To compound their problems,
renovations in Angell Hall
Auditorium A have made :it
imhpossible to show films there until
January at the earliest. It is :still
uncertain whether the roof in this
aditorium, which slopes down too
low to project images onto the
screen, will be fixed.
.This leaves three auditoriums
available for seven film co-ops. As
aresult, the co-ops are not showing
nearly as many films this year as in
years past. With fewer
opportunities to show films, the
zrouns are facinr a areater nresure

of cult films, and Mediatrics will
feature films by women directors.
However, the co-ops were able to
much more in the past when they
were financially successful. They
invited famous directors to campus,
and purchased the projection
equipment in Lorch Hall.
If costs were reduced, more
ambitious showings would again be
possible. This is because the fixed
costs of the co-ops are high; they
have to pay projectionists, rent
auditoriums, and pay for the films.
Currently, the University and
Wisconsin are the only Big ten
Institutions which charge student-
run film groups rent for
auditoriums. If the University's
rental rate could be lowered or
eliminated this would alleviate many
of the co-ops' financial problems
and allow them to be more
adventurous in their scheduling.
The University's Associate Dean
for Long Range Planning, Jack
Meiland, has discussed the
concerns of the film co-ops and has
said he will go to the fee committee
to determine whether the rental rates
exceed the University's overhead

By Steve Semenuk
"If a backpack has two straps, why then
don't most students use both?"
That was the question posed two years
ago in a passing remark by retired
professor of geography, George Kish. Ever
since hearing that deeply philosophical
proposition, my crusade has been to
promote the utilization of both straps
when toting books around campus. I have
approached my cause with a sense of
altruism and practicality somewhat akin to
those who lobbied so long and hard for
seatbelt laws. Hopefully I will be as
successful.
The illogicality of not wearing both
straps of one's knapsack should be evident
after even minimal contemplation. To
begin with, why would a manufacturer
waste the extra materials on an extra strap
if it weren't meant to be used? And
further, why would any consumer squander
valuable denero on an auxiliary
attachment device if he/she didn't intend to
use it?
Ever mindful of the consumer's
mercurial tastes, greedy capitalist daypack
makers have quickly sought to exploit the
irrational consumer's whimsical wants by
introducing lines of one strap shoulder
bags. From Bannana Republic's canvas
Semenuk is an opinion page staffer and
"two-strapper."

paratrooper bags to Caribou's costly
Cordura line, the one-strap sack market is
exploding.
Such economic vagaries may be
explained, I believe, by certain
psychological factors, the first and
foremost of which is that two-strap
carriage isn't generally cool. Riding a
bicycle is the only accepted excuse for
"two-strapping it." Some, however, are so
captive to peer pressure that they even
attempt to steer their bikes while trying to
keep one strap on their shoulders.
Generally, typical "one-strappers" will
ride to some destination with two straps
and immediately slip one strap off as they
dismount.
Another occasion illustrating the
widespread stigma attached to "two-
strapping" occurred one night as a
well-groomed, stylishly dressed young
man walked past myself and another "two-
strap geek." Upon seeing us, this student
must have thought, "I'll give it a try, it
looks comfortable," because he decided to
pull on the other strap. Unfortunately, as
we approached that mecca of fashion, the
UGLI, the student stealthily shrugged the
"extra" strap from his shoulder and strolled
stylishly inside.
One strap purists lope slantedly down
the Diag with one arm immobile and
shoulder slightly elevated to prevent their
bags from slipping off. This practice
becomes extremely burdensome during the
winter months as the "one-strappers" must

keep one hand free of the warming depths
of a coat pocket.
While peer pressure perpetuates the
one-strap culture and all of its behavioral
oddities, common sense and science both
prescribe "two-strapping." Scoliosis, or
curvature of the spine, is a serious
condition which could be exacerbated,
especially in young age, by imbalanced
weight on the shoulders. Although
scoliosis is a relatively rare occurrence in
the college years, one strap inarguably
places unbalanced stresses on the spinal
column which may result in discomfort.
Because this one-strap phenomenon
seems a predominantly undergraduate
problem, I believe that level of education
is the most accurate predictor of whether
an individual will use one or two straps.
Undergraduates seem to lack the
educational depth necessary to disregard
fashion and to instead rationally reason
that two straps are better than one.
Even the casual observer can see that
graduate students disproportionately wear
both straps. In my experience, those
professors without briefcases
overwhelmingly use both straps as well.
This is not to say that most students are
incapable of logically deciding to wear
both straps, but many just don't have the
time or information to make such a
reasonable and beneficial decision.
Hopefully, and this is appearing already,
"two-strapping it" will become the
campus fad.

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