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November 06, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-06

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OPINION

Page 4

r

Friday, November 6, 1987

The Michigan Daily

LETTERS

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

4

The many faces of Mike

Phillips

I

Vol. XCVIII, No. 42

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.

Fighting the code

To the Daily:
In the last few days M S A
Student Rights Committee
Chair Mike Phillips has
appeared three times in the
pages of the Daily. As I look
at these pictures, I'm puzzled
by a number of things. 1) Are
these all the same picture? 2) If
not, does Mike Phillips always ?
look away from the camera? 3)
If they are all the same picture,
which way was he actually
looking? 4) Which one of his
many positions, his opposition
to the thoughtless actions of
the engineering groups, his
lobbying efforts against the
arming of the University
security forces, or his
prediction of the downfall of
Senate bill 339, was h e
actually advocating at the time
of the picture? 5) Are all the
members of the Student Rights

i BATTLE OVER ENACTMENT of
the proposed code of non-academic
conduct has raged for fifteen years
at the University. Just as significant
as this struggle, though, is the fight
against growing ignorance among
students about the code.
The Student Rights Committee of
MSA is spearheading this cam-
paign. They are visiting residence
halls and will soon hit fraternites
and sororities in an effort to educate
students on issues regarding the
code.
The code is a proposed set o f
regulations governing student
behavior outside of the classroom
environment. It allows the Uni-
versity to curtail student activity
and protest with academic
sanctions. It also gives the
administration power to create a
judicial system within t h e
University that would have punitive
powers autonomous of the civil
courts.
Influencing student behavior with
the threat of academic sanctions
seriously represses the students'
rights to freedom of expression and
protest. This threat is more ominous
in today's world where students are
leaving college to a hightly com-
petitive job market.
Students should be judged like all
other citizens and have the same

rights to dissent. The University
has no right to act as a judge and
jury.
However, the University insists
that a code enforced by the Univ-
ersity is necessary to protect all
members of the community from
dangerous students. They assert
that hazardous situations, such as
overt racist or sexist acts, could be
dealt with more expediantly if the
University could enforce the reg-
ulations itself.
The civil courts, though, are
sufficient to deal with cases where
protest or behavior becomes de-
structive and dangerous. In ad-
dition, local law enforcement of-
ficials have asserted that a code
would not curtail violence any
more than the civil judicial system,
making the code unnecessary.
Students should make an effort to
learn about the code and understand
its repressive implications. The best
form of resistance to its enactment
is broad popular opposition, and
education is essential to accomplish
this.
Attend the meetings held by the
Student Rights Committee. No one
should be so busy that they cannot
find the time to erase the ignorance
about a subject that affects every-
one.

,A
t«

... printed October 21
Committee that good looking?
-William Pflaum
November 5
Editor in Chief Rob Earle re-
sponds
Thank you for noticing our

... printed November 4
special Mike Phillips' Week
coverage. To answer your
questions: 1) Yes, these are all
the same picture 2) Yes, he
always looks away from the
camera - he's kind of shy. 3)
He is actually looking to his

... printed November 5

left 4) Mike is looking in
disbelief at a statement being w
made by MSA President Weine
and S) No, none of the SRC
members are nearly a s
good looking as Mike.

Analysis in Hamann's letter shows ethnocentrism

To the Daily:
This letter is in response to
the letter submitted b y
Lawrence Hamann entitled
"Funky Black Bitch isn't
racist." Needless to say your
interpretation of the racist
graffiti targeted toward Ms.
Clark is further proof of the
bigotry fused into our society.
In his letter Mr. Hamann says,
"there is nothing inherently
racist about the phrase 'funky
black bitch.' " Perhaps the
gross error in Mr. Hamann's
logic can be revealed to him
via another scenario.
If Mr. Hamann were an
American student or an
American worker in another
country and the phrase
'ignorant American bastard'
was written in the area i n
which he worked or studied,

needless to say not only would
he be offended by such a
repulsive act against him
personally, he would also be
offended by having h i s
citizenship prefaced and
succeeded by such remarks. Not
only that, he would be more
cautious and less trusting of
those in that f o r e i g n
environment for the sake of his.
own well being. In short, such
an act would have a polarizing
effect.
Therefore, when y o u
consider the fact that European
American have always been
referred to as white, whereas
African Americans have had to
fight against being referred to
as niggers, coloreds, or negroes
until the latter part of this
century; you should be able to
understand the sense of outrage

that Ms. Clark and I as a Black
man feel when a word
connoting our heritage is
prefaced and succeeded by such,
remarks as 'funky' and 'bitch'
in our own country and in an
institution founded by our tax
dollars. You should be able to
perceive the alienating and
polarizing effect that that such
acts have. Most importantly,
you should be at least able to
Some grafitt
To the Daily:
From under what rock did
your claw protrude to scrawl
the insipid "'Funky Black
Bitch' is not racist"(Daily,
11/3/87), Mr. Hamann? Didn't
you take.Intro. Psych? Don't
you realize that people process
phrases and not individual
words?
Which phrase has the
greatest emotional impact?
a. Funky AFSCME
Employee
b. Funky AFSCME Bitch
c. Funky Black Bitch
According to you, all three
statements are equivalent. I
disagree- by coupling"Black"
with the term "Bitch," "Black"
is implied to be derogatory.
Think about it.
What would be the purpose
of using a positive or neutral
adjective before "Bitch"? Con-
sider:
a. Funky Brunette Bitch
b. Funky Attractive Bitch
Nine out of ten rude people

conclude that even if the
remarks targeted at Ms. Clark
is by some slim chance not
racist in intent ,it is still racist
in effect and thus is still an act
of racism. The fact that Mr.
Hamann is unable to see this
despite having the benefit of a
University education is indeed
sad and frightening.
-Marvin Woods
Novemner 3
i possibilities
would agree that the adjective
before "Bitch" would have to
be derogatory to achieve
maximum impact.
At least
a. Funky Stringy-Haired
Bitch
b. Funky Foul-Smell-
ing Bitch
make sense as insults.
"Black" was chosen because
it had the greatest emotional
impact, especially in the midst
of racism on campus. How can
you say that such a calculated,
inflammatory usage of the term
"Black" is not racist?
If you think that Blacks are
overly sensitive, try saying
"Hey, Funky Jew Boy" or "Yo,
Funky Camel Jockey" to
passersby. I am sure that they
will understand that a camel is
simply a beast and that a
jockey is one who rides
animals.
-Sue Blair
November 3

71
1.

Hamann lacks sensitivity

Fall Term Shafted

STUDENTS AND FACULTY AT THE
University of Michigan work hard
and they deserve more vacation time
to break up the monotony of a hec-
tic pressure-filled academic career.
During the winter term, classes are
off for a full week in February, the
incorrectly named "spring break,"
while in the fall term the respite is a
measly two days for Thanksgiving.
Gee, thanks.
The difference between a week
(which is really nine days because
of weekends) and two days (really
four days because of a weekend),
is, of course, five days. Five days
is a lot, especially to the student
who planned a difficult schedule for
fall term so he could take it easier
when the sun comes out again in the
spring.
More important though is the dis-
crimination against the fall term.
Most evidently, it's a blatant case of
"termism." Why else should it be
shafted of five whole days of "Mid-
fall break?" The People For a Fair
Fall Term (PFFFT) are having a
mass meeting tonight at 3:30 a.m.
in the under the fourth desk in sub 1
east of the Graduate Library stacks.
Rumor has it that the American

Civil Liberties Union is taking up
the case of the fall term and has
filed a suit against the winter term
for having five more days of vaca-
tion. The ACLU contends that
Thanksgiving is either as important,
or more important, than "Mid-win-
ter break." They cite recent
Supreme Court rulings to demand
that the Thanksgiving vacation be
given priority over the "Mid-winter
break" which has received prefer-
ential treatment over the past
decades.
What kind of a name is "Mid-
winter break" for a holiday, any-
way? Did pioneering Americans
take a week off in February to go to
Florida to eat turkey with native
Americans in the 17th century? Can
you see Miles Standish in a bathing
suit catching rays?
The Daily does not call for a
shortening of "Mid-winter break,"
only an increase of the Thanksgiv-
ing vacation or some extra recesses
to give the fall term its fair share of
nine vacation days. "Mid-winter
break's" elitist attitude must be
halted or else progressive action by
the fall term will never be allowed
to take root.

To the Daily:
I was startled by Lawrence
Hamann's asinine linguistic
analysis (11/3/87) of the slur
against Mary Clark and Blacks
written on the engineering
bathroom mirror. In the best
case, his letter is an attempt at
humor, in which he reveals a
stunning lacktof taste and
sensitivity. In the worst case,
it is an alarming display of
ignorance or malice. Anyone
who thinks that words, even
words like 'white,' have one
neutral meaning clearly knows
little about language. Words
don't exist apart from uses and
associations. Any person with
sense recognizes the meaning
of graffiti on the bathroom
mirror. Anyone would

recognize that 'Black' here isn't
intended as a way of identifying
Ms. Clark, but rather as a way
of intensifying the insult.
Adjectives such as Black,
Jewish or homosexual aren't
scribbled on bathroom mirrors
next to stopped - up toilets as
parts of noun phrases; they are
parts of insults which reveal
the attitudes of those who
wrote them. Regardless of the
motivations of those who
wrote the graffiti on the
engineering bathroom mirror,
they certainly expressed
themselves in racist terms. I'm
sure Mr. Hamann understood
this, before he let his 'intellect'
take over.
-Paul Woodward
" November 3

i
*Y
"
'I

Words have contexts

Chemistry day is today

To the Daily:
Today, Friday November 6,
has been designated National
Chemistry Day by the,
American Chemical Society in
an effort to increase public
awareness of the positive
contributions of the chemical
sciences to the length and
quality of our lives.
Chemistry is a central
science that responds to the
needs of society, and chemists
are human beings applying a
fundamental knowledge of
molecular behavior to meet
those needs. Society has not
always been far-sighted about
its needs and human beings
have not always been far
sighted about their solutions,
but fortunately as our societal
values have changed, our
knowledge and our scientists
have evolved to keep pace.
Today the world needs more
food and chemists are
responding by helping to
control crop pests using
hormones rather than exter-
_,;" " -- v the ...V.:- -:%; .n

for a cleaner environment,
chemists are responding b y
engineering microorganisms
which consume hazardous
waste. Chemists have studied
the ability of certain fungi to
break down PCB's
(polychlorinated biphenyls) and
have modified them to work
under varying conditions. The
result is an organism grown on
wood chips which can be
plowed into contaminated soil
and which "eats" PCB's,
converting them into non-toxic
compounds, carbon dioxide,
and water. In the 1960's,
society recognized the hazards
of uncontrolled automobile
emissions and today we have
cleaner air due to chemists who
were able to develop catalysts
which convert engine exhaust
into safer gases.
These specific examples may
not be the stuff of headlines or
convey the enormous breadth
and scope of the chemical
sciences, but perhaps they
convey the point that there is

To the Daily:
N . Hamann's grammatical
analysis of the epithet "Funky
Black Bitch" (Daily, 11/3) in
assailing an African-
American employee
erroneously discounted the
writing's racist content. His
contention that the use of the
adjective "Black" was merely
an "efficient" description .does
not comport with his assertion
that the attack was due to the
employee's union activities. If
that were the true motivation,
then the graffiti should have
read "Funky Union Bitch" or

somesuch. The victim's
Blackness has nothing to do
with her union activities. Is
not the definition of racism the
judgement of another on the
basis of race as a substitute for
evaluating his or her personal
attributes, Mr. Hamann?
Mr. Hamann's remarks on this
campus' racial atmosphere and
Daily's alledgedly racist
treatment of this incident are
baseless to the extent that they
merit no further discussion.
-Lance R. Jones
November 3

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you MUST COMPLETE EITHER SECTION i
or THG i S- og SSCTION *K" OF THE F.A.EF.
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THEN yOU NEED TO ET AN SA.R. FROM
THE ELL ^P('ESSoR , AND WiTH THAT
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YOU GET ALL THIS To THE O. F A. A.SA-.?
EVERYfTHING SHoUL' BE1 1.-O.K.
. o. .
/ r

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