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January 07, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-07

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I

OPINION
Page4 . Thursday, January 7, 1988 The Michigan Daily

LETTERS

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Don't alienate other views

Vol. XCVIII, No. 67

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartgons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

Whose First
LAST MONTH before winter break,
the University administration's
weekly tabloid, the University
Rtcord, made some ominous
references in regard to the anti-CIA
protest of November 25th.
The University Record has
explained that graduate student
taar.old Marcuse stands charged
wvith assaulting a police and a Public
Safety officer. Yet, in the first
University Record report of the
event on December 7th, no mention
Was made of the fact that University
]public Safety officer Robert Patrick
ticked Marcuse in the groin. At the
Same time, the article states that
demonstrators knocked down
director of Public Safety Leo
heatley and injured another Safety
pfficer.
.A subsequent article on December
-14th mentions that Marcuse alleged
that Patrick kicked him in the groin,
but it still does not mention the
v4itnesses who also saw t h e
kicking. Unfortunately, the Uni-
versity Record's one-sided cover-
age is indicative of the University's
general practice in the field of civil
liberties.
:The University Record states that
atministrators at Career Planning
ad Placement "planned to accom-
t odate the demonstrators by
allowing them to sit in the office's
.waiting area." Such a statement is
intended to make the University
adiministration appear reasonable
atid the demonstrators unreasonable
fcr not demonstrating in the
designated area.
Yet, the statement actually proves
that the University either does not
understand the First Amendment of
the Bill of Rights or does not care
to. The First Amendment states
specifically that government
authorities, such as administrators
at public universities including the
University of Michigan, cannot ab-
ridge the rights of the people to
peaceably assemble for the purpose
of protesting government policies.
The First Amendment does not
say, "it's OK for the people to
demonstrate, but only in a manner
and place the government
approves."~
Indeed, the First Amendment
restricts only government actions
against the people. Technically, an
individual or protester cannot
violate the CIA's First Amendment
rights because the CIA does not
have any First Amendment rights.
Of course, one is entitled to believe
that "free speech" should be a right
of the government.
Yet, the University's one-sided
interpretation of "free speech"
results in defense of CIA "rights" at
the expense of the students' First
Amendment rights. In the past, for
instance, President Shapiro con-

Amendment?
demned a Rackham Student
Government (RSG) resolution
which "banned" certain Reagan
officials including George Bush
from the campus. (University
Record, 10/21/85) He condemned
the RSG for passing a resolution,
but he did not condemn Public
Safety and Ann Arbor police for
physically blocking and eventually
arresting protesters who never got
to confront the CIA. It boils down
to saying that the University sees
that it and other government
agencies have "rights," but students
do not and the University admin-
istration has chosen to speak on
behalf of government rather than its
students.
Likewise; University Public
Safety Director Leo Heatley's
public statements at the November
25th incident prove that the
University authorities feel they have
the right to circumscribe the right to
free speech and peaceable assembly
in public buildings. Some authority-
lovers would like to portray the
anti-CIA demonstrators as violent
since Leo Heatley claims to have
fallen to his -knees as 30
-demonstrators filed by that day.
Yet at this.same incident Heatley
told demonstrators that they would
have to assault him to get to where
they wanted to go to protest to the
CIA. By saying this, once again
Heatley hoped to conjure up images
of marauding and violent radicals.
In reality though, Heatley's
statement is further evidence that the
University administration system-
atically violates the First
Amendment. Word for word what
Heatley said was that it was
impossible for the demonstrators to
assemble peaceably in a certain
place in a public building where the-
CIA. was recruiting.
For trying to deny the people their
right to demonstrate in the Student
Activities Building, Heatley and
other government officials are lucky
that they did not receive much
harsher treatment.
The "founding fathers" clearly
stated the ultimate rights of the
people in dealing with-government
authorities who try to usurp the
people's rights.
The attempts of the University
authorities .to rewrite the Fii-st
Amendment are intolerable.
Whether it be following protesters
from demonstrations, taking down
banners or trying to dampen anti-
CIA protests, the University au-
thorities are acting lawlessly and
setting themselves up, sometimes
Sintentionally, for justified reprisals
from the people. It's time that the
University authorities stop treating
civil liberties as mere abstractions of
political philosophy and start.living
by the First Amendment.

To the Daily:
I have been reading The
Daily since I was a first-year
student. My favorite section of-
the paper is not Bloom
County; however, it is the let-
ters section of the Opinion
page.
During the the past three
and one half years I have pe-
rused- this section with both
interest and amusement, react-
ing to the often biased and
ineffectual letters therein. Often
I have felt like writing in re-
sponse to some of these sacred
scripts known as personal
opinion, but I never do because
I realize that my opinion
would be just another fading
scream in the ocean of
"University awareness."
Something has finally hit
my nerve and I feel it deserves
attention. The recent array of
letters concerning the issue of
racism on campus and beyond
has been one of the more
heated debates in my recollec-
tion. Once again, these letters
usually express the authors
profound arrogance and naive
belief in the absolute truth of
their argument. Granted, what
do you expect from a college
student?
While reading the letter
"Color blindness is not racial
equality" (Daily, 11/23/87) my
feelings on the character of
Daily letters were once again
reinforced. What spurred me to
respond to this letter was not
its content however (which I
will address in due course), but
.the position of the author.
Mr. Harris' letter was an
unnecessary attack on the
character of Mr. Kushner, the.
author of the letter Mr. Harris
was responding to. I read his
letter "Racists shouldn't accuse
others" (Daily, 11/17/87) and
felt that it raised some
interesting, if not valid, points.
I am not saying that he is
right or wrong. In an issue like.
this one of the few things that .
can be safely concluded is that
racism is wrong. I also think it
is safe to say that the conclu-
sions that Mr. Harris draws are
wrong.
The first thing which upset
me was the holier-than-thou
stance taken by Mr. Harris. He
accuses Mr. Kushner of
ignorance, and then states
that,"I will proceed to educate
you, Mr. Kushner." Class is
in session everyone! Mr. Har-
ris is teaching Getting Facts
Straight 101, Harsh Reality
261, Double Standards 101 and
Color-Blindness 125. Well
thanks a load, buddy, but who
made you king for a day?
For anyone to think that
he/she holds a monopoly on
the truth is to be equally as ig-
norant. It appears that Mr.
Harris has something to teach
us all. But the gist of it all is
that he doesn't teach us any-
thing. While his classroom
examples present valid and
relevant historical events, they
are poorly argued and ineffec-
tual. They are neither con-
ciliatory nor nurturous,causing
the reader to react rather than
reflect.

I could dissect his entire
letter but this would be too
wordy and presumptuous a dis-
play.
Mr. Harris boldly states
that,"I believe it hard, if not
impossible, for a minority to
be racist." Right. To think
that sub-cultural arrogance and
feelings of superiority do not
exist is a foolish assumption.
No single sub-culture or
racial group is benevolent. I
feel it safe to'conclude that Mr.
Kushner, because of his last
name, is Jewish, and therefore
is part of a religious (and some
would say racial) minority. Mr.
Harris proves to us his igno-
rance when stating that, "You,

insensitive.
As a member of this
minority I know that there are
Jewish racists. Sorry Mr. Har-
ris, but there are probably
Afro-American racists and Na-
tive American racists. Addi-
tionally, Mr. Harris labels Mr.
Kushner, "the type of mislead
boy..." It is obvious to me,
and hopefully to others, that
Mr.. Harris' weak argument is
the result of blind zeal and
emotion, not of constructive
logic.
The best part of his letter is
the statement," The only way
this country resembles 'the
great melting pot' is in the
way we see the scum rising to
the top and everyone on the
bottom getting burned." Am I
to conclude from this that the
only ones with any power,
wealth or status in our society
are inherently evil, or maybe
they've just been " mislead" ?
Get with it. Your letter teaches

us nothing. You conclude that
all the ignorant should "wake
up and smell the coffee."
Sorry Mr. Harris, you serve a
bitter cup.
This is the worst part of all.
If Cornelius D. Harris is
MSA Minority Affairs chair
then the fight against racism at
this university has got major
problems. Do you think that
the approach that you take is
going to win anyone over to
your way of thinking? .I hope
not. It frightens me to think
that a person such as yourself
has made it to this position of
power. Don't get me wrong. I
admire your dedication and your
goals; it's just your methods
that I distrust. If you were true
to your position you would
have recognized that Mr.
Kushner held some interest
about racism on campus, and
should have stated something
along the lines of, "I sympa-
thize with your situation but

Daily headline insensitive

To the. Daily:
I'd like to thank those who
were responsible for the head-
line "Asians take suicide pills
before probe," (Daily,
12/2/87). When I glanced at the
front-page headlines, my initial
reaction was one of wonder and
amazement.
"Wow,"s Ithought, "that
must be some probe if all
those 'Asians' take suicide
pills when faced with it. Imag-
ine that." I wondered how
many hundreds of people had
died. I wondered if this event
was some mysterious Eastern
tradition or recent trend which
we in the West have only re-
cently unearthed. I wondered if
perhaps this was. an "Asian"d
Jonestown. Next, I wondered
why "Asians" would take sui-
cide pills while "Caucasians,
Blacks, and Hispanics, etc."
wouldn't. The implications
were intriguing.
Then I read the article. How
surprised I was to learn that re-
ally only two "Asians" had
taken suicide pills and only one
had actually died. Furthermore,
the focus of the article was not
the nature of their race, but
their suspected involvement in
terrorist activities. In fact, race
had nothing to do with the
probe.
Upon learning this, I felt
mildly disturbed. In fact, I
imagined that the author of the
headline had been perpetuating
the myth of the tendency of
"Asians" toward suicide. I even
imagined that the author of the
headline had thought it much
more important that the pair
had been "Asians" than that
they were being held responsi-
ble for the disappearance of the
jetliner. I imagined that. the
headline was misleading and
should have read "Couple take
suicide pills before probe," or
"Suspected terrorists take sui-
cide pills before probe," or
"Couple held in disappearance
of KAL flight 858 take suicide
pills."
Then I thought about how
often thoughtless slips of the
pen create misleading sentence,
and also about the general in-
sensitivity to the issues of
Asians as a minority group.

Having considered these last
thoughts, I decided that I
should not call whoever had
produced this evocative head-
line thoughtless, insensitive,
racist, or careless. Instead, I
would like to thank him or her
for creating such a colorful
Destroying
To the Daily:
The recent incidences of de-
struction of the shanties, which
are a symbol of protest to the
conditions suffered by the ma-
jority of South Africans, has
got me in a piff. The violence
and inconsiderateness of the
acts bothers me, but what is
much more pressing is the dis-
play of ignorance and short-
sightedness.
Those shanties exist as
someone's physical testimony
to their right to freedom of ex-
pression, a form of protest we
in this country hold so dearly.
The most prominent freedom
that saves this country from
the agonies of the damned is
our right to public protest, and
the willingness of Americans
to exercise that right - often at
great personal costs.
In destroying another's ex-
pression you are not trampling
on anothers's ideological or
moral statement (though your
example is in keeping with the
actions of the South African
government), but rather you are
trampling on our collective
right to freedom of expression.
Carrying out your actions to

still feel that you hold some
misconceptions about racism.
Why don't you come check out
a UCAR meeting in order to
explore the problem further?"
What you did instead proba-
bly alienated Mr. Kushner and
others from the anti-racism
movement on campus. Nice
going. While you may be
working for a solution, you are
also part of the problem. You
divide people when they should
be brought together. Attacking
racists (or anyone) head on will
only make them recoil. The
solution to the problem lies in
the promotion of cooperation
and friendship among people
off all racial, religious and
sexual qualities. Stereotypes
will diminish when people see
that they are false, not only
when they read about them. I
agree, education is of the ut-
most importance. Ignorance is
a crime. -Brian Halprin
. November 23
and racist
headline and (to borrow a line
form an anecdote related by one
of my professors) would like to
tell this person, "I have seen
your headline and much like
it."
-H.A. Kuno
December 4
expression
their extreme bodes poorly for
the future of our country, for
denigrating our freedoms at
their margins serves to elimi-
nate those freedoms as a whole.
We need to be ever vigilant
against theherosion oft ohur
rights through t h e
marginalization of our ability
to protest what we perceive as
injustice.
Hopefully the day might
come when you will see the
need, and achieve the moral
fortitude necessary, to engage
in peaceful protest. A part of
me hopes that you will be de-
nied your opportunity, but
only so that you will look
back with disdain on the ac-
tions of your college days. (I
must confess to a small streak
of vengeance running through
me). But more sincerely I
would rather you reevaluated
your actions of today, and in-
stead of working to chip away
at our freedoms at the margins,
you would begin to work to
uphold that which so many
before us have striven for.
-Patrick Regan
January 5

I

1

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The Daily welcomes letters from its
. readers. Bringing in letters on personal.
computer disk is the fastest way to publish
a letter in the Daily. Readers who can not
bring their letters in on disk should include
their phone numbers for verification.Call
747-2814. for- details.

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