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January 08, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-08

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Page 4

Friday, January 8, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
-Vol. XCVIl, No. 68 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
M of the Daily.



Teach Reality

IN AN EFFORT to diversify an
ethnocentric curriculum, the English
department is reconsidering what
constitutes a "classic." This month
English professors will have the
opportunity to ratify a proposal
requiring majors to take one course
in English literature written by
either North American minorities,
Africans, Asians, and Caribbeans
and women. The requirement
would demonstrate to the
University community that
legitimate and important voices are
not defined by the mainstream.
Recently scholars and students
nationwide have been asking what
defines a classic and discovering the
answer is subjective. Course texts
reflect what society traditionally
values, however as much important
literature exists. outside the
mainstream. And the reality is that
the world is greater than the
If educators want to prepare
students for the real world they
should incorporate diversity into
University courses. Seriously
trying to reevaluate what makes a
classic would mean studying works
by and about minorities, women,
and cultures outside of America and
Europe. Some disciplines lend
themselves better to this study.
History, Economics, or English
would be enhanced by broadening
their curriculum to include work by
non-traditional authors.
The School of Social Work
curriculum, for example, requires
"minority content" in all courses
and one course designated as
"minority relevant." T h e
University's English department
currently has the opportunity to
embrace the curriculum challenge
with a resounding Yes!' to non-
traditional English literature.
English professors should not allow
the opportunity to open their
curriculum to slip past.
Current courses favor white male
European literature. This semester
the English Department offers three
courses specifically in non-
traditional literature, as well as a
few courses advertising- a diverse
syllabus, and more than 15 in
traditional literature.
Educators dictate what is studied.
By requiring a non-traditional
course, professors help legitimatize
the literature. The requirement will

help break deeply ingrained biases
on what defines literature. But the
department's ultimate goal- should
not end with one course, but stretch
to diversify the curriculum of every
The false assumption that the
requirement would incorporate
inferior literatures shows ignorance
toward the fine bodies of English
literature written within other
cultures, or by minorities, or by
The hope is also not to
marginalize the literature, setting it
apart as an exemplary minority
voice. Departments should also hire
scholars who can bring a
background in non-traditional
literature to the University.-
An embarrassingly short list of
writers who have made outstanding
contributions but are not a part of
traditionally studied literature
include: 19th and 20th century
writers 1985 Pulitzer Prize winner
Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian; Novelist
Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian; Native
American Lesley Marmon Silko, a
poet and novelist; Louise Erdrich, a
poet and Native American;
Novelists Toni Morrison" and Zora
Neale Hurston; Latinos Lorna Dee
Cervantes and Gary Soto. From the
17th and 18th centuries: Aphra
Behn, a novelist, playwright, and
poet; Poets Anne Finch and
Dorothy Wordsworth; Novelists
Mary Shelly and Harriet Beecher
Stowe. From the 16th century, Poet
Mary Sidney.
Some say students will balk at
being forced into studying non-
traditional literatures, possibly to
the point of rejection. But requiring
students to study Chinua Achebe or
Anne Finch is no different than
requirements for Geoffrey Chaucer
or John .Milton. Aesthetic quality is
a constantly changing value. The
requirement will give both students
and teachers a chance to reevaluate
Those who say students will
resist a requirement have not been
listening to students. One of the top.
demands at last spring's protests
was a University course on
diversity, racism, sexism, and
classism. While the English
department requirement is in no
way a substitute for administrative
action on a University-wide multi-
cultural course, it is a step in the
direction of opening minds.

By Barbara Ransby and
Kimberly Smith
The struggle against racism at the
University of Michigan has not died since
April 1987, it has only become less
popular and less publicized. The struggle
has not been won and the situation for
Blacks and other people of color on this
campus, in this city, in this country and
abroad has not improved abundantly. Yet
when the television camera disappeared so
did the crowd of militant, angry students.
Too often we get discouraged by this and
forget that the goal of the movement is
not to "count heads" but to involve those
"heads" in meaningful action. In addition,
it is the responsibility of each individual
to make our presence in the struggle felt
not merely by our presence as a number,
but by our action against our own racism
and that of others. On campus we have
come to a point where the action of every
individual is crucial.
On Monday, January 18, 1988, UCAR
along with other campus organizations are
requesting that all students boycott classes
in honor of Martin Luther King's birthday.
Our goal is to shut down the University's
"business as usual" in order to have a day
of anti-racist and anti-oppressive educ-
ation. This ambitious goal can only be
realized with the help of all the students of
color and progressive, anti-racist whites.
We have moved beyond the need for
protest to the need for resistance. To
protest is to say "I won't go"; to resist is
to say "I won't go and I won't make it
easy for anyone else to go either." We see
that protest has only forced the issue to be
discussed by those in power, but not
resolved. Through resistance of the racist
policies of this University, we will push
toward resolution of the problems for
ourselves and others.
Some members of this community are
still unpersuaded that racism is a serious
enough problem to warrant a day of.
reflection and anti-racist education.
Regent Thomas Roach demonstrated his
Ransby and Smith are representatives of
the United Coalition Against Racism.

insensitivity to the issue by describing
MLK Day as a "special interest-group"
concern. Ostensibly this entire university
is committed to opposing racism, not
simply "special interest groups." LS&A
Dean Peter O. Steiner also demonstrated
his own racist views by suggesting that
Black's lack of adequate role models and
improper social values are the cause of our
under representation in colleges and
universities. This type of ignorance and
insensitivity is part of the reason we
desperately need a day of anti-racist
education on January 18th.
The rise of blatant and violent racist
assaults across the country are yet another
reason. During the academic year 1986-
87, racist incidents were reported on
approximately seventy college campuses
across the United States. These instances
included: a dorm room of five Asian
women broken intorand vandalized with
the letters KKK painted- on the walls
(Macalester College, St. Paul,
Minnesota); the words "Death Nigger"
carved on the office door of a counselor
(Purdue University, W. Lafayette,
Indiana); a Wellesley College (Mass-
achusetts) trustee commenting at a campus
speech that the Black employees at her
firm prefer selling drugs to working; an
anti-apartheid shanty doused with gasoline
and set on fire while four students slept
inside (Johns Hopkins University,
Baltimore, Maryland); a gang of white
football players assaulting two Black
students (Columbia University, New
York); and a series of anti-Jewish cartoons
run in the Syracuse University (New
York) newspaper.
On November 28, 1987 in
Poughkeepsie, New York, a fifteen-year-
old Black woman, Tawana Brawley, was
found in fetal position inside a plastic bag
behind an apartment building. She had
been raped, beaten, her body covered with
feces and her hair chopped off. On her
torso was scrawled the words "nigger" and
"KKK." The victim's own account alleges
that one of her assailants was a police
officer and all were white males. There is
ample evidence of an attempted cover-up
of this case. It did not even make the

pages of the New York Times until two
weeks after it occurred.
Closer to home, a bi-racial couple in
Farmington Hills, Michigan, had their
home vandalized last month with
swastikas and "nigger go home." And
despite some progress in the area of
education, white college graduates still
outnumber Blacks almost two to one. It
is this reality of racial violence and
inequality that means we all must remain
vigilant and active.
It should also be stated that* by
observing Martin Luther King's holiday
we are not merely honoring a man or a
martyr. We are paying tribute to a
movement and to all of its participants,
heros and heroines, whose efforts have
been less publicized and immortalized, but
without whom those victories would not
have been won. In addition we are paying
tribute to a people's realization of the need
to include a struggle against racist
oppression in their everyday lives.
Moreover we must come to this realiz-
ation ourselves in order for the "dream" of
the man we honor to come true.
At the November Regent's meeting, a
UCAR member proclaimed "If you [the
Regents] will not cancel classes, we [the
students] will." Thus since the University
has failed to take the moral leadership on
this issue, UCAR is asking that students
boycott classes on January 18, 1988 and
attend alternative educational programs
organized by the BSU, the Commemor-
ation of a Dream Committee, UCAR, and
other student organizations. Planning
sessions for MLK events will be at regular
UCAR meetings at 6 p.m. on Thursdays
in the Michigan Union. Petitions asking
for support of the three priority demands,
along with a pledge sheets requesting that
students pledge to boycott class are being
In lieu of classes there will be all day
anti'racist educational events in the
Anderson Room of the Union 9 a.m. to 5
p.m. on January 18th except for 11:30 to
1:00 when everyone should participate in
the Unity March from South University
Street to the Diag.


By Mocha
that the police have to be absolutely free
to arrest and/or beat the shit out of
whoever they want (except for rich white
people), whenever they want, otherwise
they just couldn't possibly do their job.
GRR-RR!!! That pisses me off.
And what about the University's so
called Department of Public Safety? First

one dead animal. Not to mention all the
species-ist remarks about my ancestry (pit
bull this, bull terrier that, etc.) that would
come out in the news coverage of the
event. (Of .course I'd never do such a
thing, because I believe in non-violence as
a philosophy).
I'll tell you who else ought to be on a
leash - that fascist Contra-mouthpiece
pizza mogul Tom Monaghan. When he
and his real estate developer buddies get
through with all their corporate building
projects, buying up land around here,
taking over this community - there ain't
gonna be a square foot of green grass for
me to piss on! (rd pee on his raunchy
pizza, but he'd probably just call it an
extra ingredient and charge people for it).
Not to mention his one man robber baron
style foreign policy in Central America.
Him and those college Republicans -
they all need to kept on a short leash.
Sometimes they get me so mad I'd like to
sink my sharp little canine teeth into one
of their fat pink butts. GRR-RR!!! (But of
course I'd never do that since I'm a
Well I could go on about all the humans
that ought to be on leashes rather than us
dogs, but I think you get the idea. To my
canine sisters and brothers, I call for
resistance. Dogs of all species, unite!!
You have nothing to lose but your chains
- and collars.
I'm sick and ured of the outrageous
legal paranoia and double standards applied
to Ann Arbor's loyal canine community,
which is of course disenfranchised and
without a voice in important policy

matters that affect us. I'm referring, first
and foremost, to Ann Arbor's unjust and
oppressive leash law, which punishes our
entire community for the actions of a few.
This city ordinance requires all dogs to
be on a leash at all times, and imposes a
$25 fine for a violation. The fine goes up
for repeated violations - one of my
human friends was fined $115 once for
simply walking down the street with a
well-behaved dog right next to him.
What could be the rationale for this kind
of restriction on our freedom of
movement? It can't have anything to do
with defecating on people's lawns. After
all, I can pinch a loaf right on somebody's
doorstep at the end of a rope, just as easy
as I can when I'm free. So the real reason
has to be that we are considered dangerous
To this I say: bull-shit!!! The over-
whelming majority of dogs are non-
violent, and go through their whole lives
without ever biting anyone. To put us all
on leashes is like revoking all humans'
driver's licenses because some people drive
drunk (and are responsible for about a
thousand times as many fatalities as dogs
each year).
There are a lot of humans around that
are quite a bit more violent than we-
canines, but I don't see any leash laws for
them. Take the police (please). Clubbing
students at the art fair, harassing
protesters, using excessive force in arrests,
etc. But what happens when the people
propose to put these fine public servants
on a leash - i.e., a citizen review board?
Mayor Jerk-again and his Republicans get
all bent out of shape and start whining

J EW"/

chance he gets, just because he doesn't
like somebody, Assistant Director Robert
Patrick goes for a field goal right into one
of the protester's nuts. Can you imagine.
the public reaction if I were to just haul
off and bite Patrick in the doo-dah? I'd be
Mocha, a former Opinion staffer, is on
sabbatical in Champaign, Ill. researching
comparative leash policy at the national

Classes should be canceled Jan. 18


/ /, . -

To the Daily:
18. WHY? January 18, 1988
is the National Holiday for,
Martin Luther King, Jr. This
is a day honoring Martin
Luther King, Jr. and other

cancel all classes on Monday,
January 18. If the University is
truly committed to combatting
racism, it will honor the day
which celebrates the Civil
.Rights Movement and the
demand for social justice. On

portive action focusing on the
anti-racist movement. We urge
all University faculty, staff,
workers, and students to attend
these events, dedicating the day
to supporting the fight against

be available in the Fish Bowl
in the week preceding January
-Vicki Baecher, Tracye
Matthews, David
Maurrasse, Brett



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