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November 03, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-03

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4

OPINION
Tuesday, November 3, 1987

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

i

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Redress

and

reparations

Vol. XCVIII, No. 39

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

,LAST WEEK'S Sexual Assault
Awareness Week, sponsored by the
University's Sexual Assault
Prevention and. Awareness Center,
provided events and activities
designed to . enlighten t h e
community about sexual assault.
'Acquaintance Rape Day,".
"Fighting Back and Self Defense
.Day", "Men Fighting Rape Day,"
and "Survivors of Assault Day" -
k the week came to a dramatic end
with a "Survivor Speak Out" at
which 13 sexual assault survivors
:described their traumas and tri-
umphs to a supportive group of 175
people in the Michigan Union.
: The week's events included date
rape workshops - one for all
students and another exclusively for
sororities and fraternities, a self-
defense workshop, films, and many
heated discussions. Though the
.Nnpressive attendance at these
ivents illustrates a growing concern
and awareness in the community
about sexual assault, most of.those
in attendance were people who
;already understand and care about
the issues.
However, the very people in the
University community who
perpetuate violence against women
through even the most subtle forms
- such as sexist jokes and sex role
stereotyping - are the people who
did not attend last week's events.
Since those people will n o t
voluntarily attend such conscious-
ness-raising activities, the
University should implement a
mandatory class on sexism, racism,
and classism.
In order to wipe out rape, people
must be aware of its causes and

abolish behavior which perpetuates
society's "rape culture," that is, a
culture that condones the elements
which encourage violence against
women, such as sex role
stereotypes, sexism in advertising,
violent pornography, and beauty
pageants. These elements, how-
ever, are ingrained so deeply in the
society's values that people do not
realize their offense and potential
harm. For example, at very early
ages children are taught that men
should be "macho" and
domineering while women should
be compliant and nurturing. On a
societal scale, this teaches men to
dominate society and sexual
relationships and it teaches women
simply to go along with the man's
desires, including submission to
date rape.
Rape prevention begins at a subtle
level, likenot laughing at sexist
jokes, and not condoning "getting
drunk and getting laid" among
friends. Men and women need to
learn that women have the right to
say "No."
Many campus groups deserve
credit for working toward the
implementation of a mandatory
class on racism, sexism and
classism, including People
Organized to Wipe Out Rape
(POWOR), United Coalition
Against Racism (UCAR), and the
Student Women's Initiative Group
(SWING). A mandatory University
class would enlighten people about
these subtle reinforcements of "rape
culture." If people do not
understand the detrimental social
implications of their behavior, they
will not make efforts to change it.

By Raymond Lin
During World War II, the government
couldn't make up its mind. On the one
hand, the United States stood for
freedom, the defeat of fascism and
making the world safe for democracy.
On the other hand, the government
stripped 120,000 Japanese-Americans
of their constitutionally-guaranteed
rights and threw them into concentration
camps because of their race.
Apparently, the government couldn't
decide whether to fight for democracy or
to make a mockery of it.
America's confusion over its own
principles began in 1941. After Pearl
Harbor, president Roosevelt commis-
sioned the secret Munson study of
Japanese-American communities. The
study found Japanese-Americans
exceptionally loyal to the United States
and no threat to national security. The
president was fully aware of these
findings.
Yet he needed to do something. He
needed to find an outlet for America's
growing war hysteria, he needed to show
the public he was taking bold action to
win the war. So he ignored the results
of his own study and instead went along
with the public, blaming Japanese-
Americans for Japan's actions, accusing
them of spying and subversion. He
knew the "Japanese problem" in the
United States was imaginary, but went
ahead and signed Executive Order 9066.
This authorized the eviction of West
Coast Japanese Americans from their
homes and their "internment" in con-
centration camps. It was clearly a
racist measure: German and Italian-
Americans faced no such treatment.
West Coast businessmen who resented
Japanese-American competition ap-
plauded, America found a scapegoat, and
Raymond Lin is an LS&A senior.

the president boosted his image as a
strong leader.
Meanwhile, loyal Japanese-Americans
found out their own country considered
them traitors. The "land of
opportunity" they had struggled to
succeed in turned out to be a land of
crowded wooden barracks surrounded by
barbed wire and armed guards. Stripped
of most of their possessions, the
internees remained in the camps for the
next four years.
The incarceration of Japanese-
Americans during World War II has been
called the single greatest violation of the
Constitution ever committed. But
forty-five years after the fact, the
government still has done little to
compensate the internees for the crime
committed against them. In 1948, the
government passed the Evacuation
Claims Act. Supposedly designed to
pay back the internees for the
possessions they lost during the war,
the government actually returned less
than ten cents for every dollar lost.
Compensation for physical or emotional
suffering was not considered.
President Ford and other individuals
have offered verbal apologies for the
camps, but the government as a whole
has yet to admit formally that the camps
were a mistake and to guarantee such
mistakes will not happen again. For
years, the Redress and Reparations
movement, led by Asian-Americans, has
demanded the government make a
formal apology and compensate
surviving internees.
These efforts have finally paid off.
Last month, the House of
Representatives passed the Civil
Liberties Act of 1987, which authorizes
the payment of $20,000 to each
internee, establishes a $50 million fund
for educating Americans about the
concentration camps and recommends
that the president pardon all those

convicted of violating the "relocation
program" laws during the war. This bill
passed by a large margin in the House
and is expected to do the same in the
Senate.
However, one thing stands in the way
of this bill becoming law. That thing
is Ronald Reagan. The president has
already vowed to veto the bill. He
argues that the government has already
dealt with the camps, and that the issue
does not warrant further legislation.
It's strange how the president firmly
believes in spending billions of dollars
on weapons to defend democracy and
then refuses to spend anything to address
one of the worst crimes against
democracy this country ever committed.
In the early 1970s, the justice system
awarded $10,000 compensation each to
several Vietnam War protesters who
spent a few days in jail on false charges.
But Reagan doesn't believe the
thousands of people who spent four
years in concentration camps on false
charges deserve anything.
Reagan's veto must be defeated. On
its 200th birthday, the Constitution has
been hailed as a great document of the
people and of their right to freedom. If
this really means anything, the
government has to address the blatant
disregard for its own principles that took
place during World War II.
There is a lot to learn about the
Japanese-American concentration camps.
This article just scrapes the surface. On
Wednesday, November 4thi, the Univer-
sity of Michigan Asian Student
Coalition (UMASC) will hold a
presentation on the Redress and
Reparations movement at 6p.m. in the
Kuenzel Room in the Union. If you
want to learn more about the camps,
the Redress movement and how you
can fight against Reagan's veto of the
Civil Liberties Act bill, please attend.

41

M

LETTERS

'Funky Black bitch'

isn't

To the Daily:
In response to the article
entitled "Worker: 'U' behind
racist incident" (Daily, 10/26)
where the article as well as the
accompanying photo describe
the phrase "Funky Black Bitch"
as "racist graffitti." There is
absolutely nothing inherently
racist about the phrase "Funky
Black Bitch," and furthermore,
the Daily's portrayal of this
occurrence as a racist incident
only typifies the "when in
doubt, cry racism" attitude
prevalent on campus, but it is

Cooperate on campus

LAST THURSDAY'S rally to sup-
port University maintenance worker
Mary Clark was a heartening show
of student/union cooperation which
should continue as a powerful tool
to effect.common goals.
Students are often too insulated
in the ivory tower to notice the im-
perfections in their environment.
Higher education may drive a
wedge between classes of people by
occluding students' views of their
laboring counterparts. Students
easily become preoccupied with
their academic pursuits and
thoughtlessly litter study areas and
classrooms, leaving a monumental
mess for maintenance workers.
In a state such as Michigan, with
its deep industrial and union tradi-
tions, students should pay particular
heed to the efforts of University
workers. In light of the fact that
union workers pay much of the
taxes which support this state uni-
versity, students should be even
more sympathetic to unions.
Common goals also unite stu-
dents and workers at the Univer-
sity, as illustrated by the 200 some-
odd students and union members"
who attended Thursday's rally.
These groups gathered specifically
to protest University intransigence
on investigating the atrocious attack
where Mary Clark faced racist
graffiti and a vandalized toilet, but

workers enthusiastically reacted to
Mary Clark's undying willingness
to uncover the perpetrators of this
offense and to continue her fight
against racism at all costs.
Students have for years struggled
to reverse the racism imbedded in
the institutions around them but
have not always been aware of all,
the discrimination leveled against
workers whose late hours make
them virtually invisible to the stu-
dents. Now that Mary Clark has
stepped forward to fight the injus-
tices in her workplace, students
must support her and continue a di-
alogue with the unions so as to
learn of more instances of institu-
tionalized racism.
Union members and students not
only desire a university free of
racism, but also one with better fa-
cilities. By supporting union efforts
in collective bargaining, students
can help ensure that workers will
have more incentive to maintain li-
braries and classrooms in prime
condition. At minimum wages,
workers are less inclined to remove
the bottles and newspapers which
students carelessly leave-behind.
The coalition of workers and
students to fight racism and the
general lack of respect displayed by
the University for its community's
wishes should be encouraged and
strengthened. Two such large and

'Speakout'

iS

also racist itself. Funky and
Black are merely two sequential
adjectives describing the
subsequent noun, Bitch. If, in
fact, the Building Service
management was behind the
incident, it was admittedly due
to the so-called victim's role as
an American Federation of
State, City, and Municipal
Employees (A F S C M E)
representative, according to the
woman herself.
Calling someone funky is
not racist, calling someone a
bitch is not racist, likewise
successful
stop blaming the victims of all
types of sexual abuse and
assault. Too often survivors are
discouraged from talking about
what happened to them. The
silence that they must then
keep is devastating. Events like
last week's "Speakout" break
that silence and allow survivors
to begin to heal. I know that I
have a long way to go in my
own healing process, but I also
know that, with the support of
others, I will continue to be a
survivor. And next year, I will
go in front of the room and I
will speak out about my pain,
my anger, and my survival.
-Name withheld
November 2

To the Daily:
Last Thursday night, I
attended the "Speakout"
sponsored by the University's
Sexual Assault Awareness and
Prevention Center. For almost
three hours, I listened as a
dozen women and one man
broke the silence and spoke
about sexual abuse and assault
that they had all experienced
and survived. For almost three
hours, I sat on the floor in the
back of the Michigan Ballroom
and cried.
I cried for the hurt and yet
incredibly courageous people
that were getting up before a
roomful of listeners to tell
their stories, express their rage,
and share their sadness. I cried
for myself as well. I am a
survivorof childhood incest
and abuse. I had my first
flashback less than a year ago.
I am 25 years old and I am
only beginning to deal with the
huge amount of pain and anger
that my abused little girl has
held silently for years.
Although I never quite found
the strength Thursday night to
get up and tell my story, I
would like both thespeople
who did speak ont and the
organizers of the event to know
how grateful I am. I know

calling someone Black is not
racist either. Because the adjec-
tive Black may have deliberate-
ly and effectively made a
distinction between the intend-
ed recipient of the vandalism
and any other person w h o
might have stumbled upon that
bathroom in that condition
only shows that while this act
is certainly unacceptable and
appalling, the perpetrator(s)
were efficient at singling out
the receiver of their communi-
cation.
Just as the word "white" has
neither a positive nor negative
connotation but is actually an
Thanks for
To the Daily:
Thanks for the article
"Former singer speaks of new
life as Muslim" about Cat
Stevens (Daily, 10/26/87), a
former British pop singer who
became Muslim. The number
300, however, just wasn't right
since Rackham's main audito-
rium, which could sit 1200
people, was almost if n o t
completely filled with people.
Anyhow, Cat must have
shown a lot of courage to ap-
pear in front of us, instead of
to sing, to enterain us with his
new way of life and in addition,
to resolve knowledgeably is-

0
racist
indifferent adjective, so is the
case with the word "Black." To
imply that this graffitti had a
racist nature would suggest that
the Daily attaches a derogatory
connotative meaning to the
word "Black" - a most
certainly racist attitude. People
at this university must not
automatically assume racism
just because a Black individual
is involved in a given situation
of harrassment, but rather
consider other factors which
may be more pertinent to the
incident.
-Lawrence Hamann
October 26
Cat Stevens
sues regarding the contempo-
rary Islamic world as well as
fundamental teachings of Islam
which could hardly be untan-
gled intelligently by those who
were born as Muslims. Besides
having gone through a difficult
path to find, he is now having,
in turn, a rather challenging
task of deciphering to us the
"ideal" Muslim nation or soci-
ety, which he said is depicted
in the Koran. Above all, his
findings clearly has transformed
himto not just another human
being.
-Wan Mansor
October 26

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