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March 30, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-30

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OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, March 30, 1988 The Michigan Daily

I I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Indian-Americans misrepresented

Vol. XCVIII, No. 121

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.

'U' fails grad
FOR GRADUATE TEACHING and re- waivers
search assistants, this month's familiar misses,
maize and blue envelopes, heralding Michig
the arrival of University tuition bills, "respon
contained an unfamiliar item: a bill for sity are
federal withholding tax on graduate tu- Befoi
ition waivers. dents to
This charge, to the tune of $100 to
$800, reflects the new status of tuition insolve
waivers as taxable income under the graduate
1986 Tax Reform Act and is yet another must es,
federal scheme to balance an out-of- sponses
control budget on the backs of those in this
who can least afford it. The failure of The tC
the University administration to mitigate dence t
the situation and ensure their employees new t x
a decent living wage - as well as their the cur'
deceptive attempts to justify their inac- as D'Ai
tivity - is contemptible. Univen
Rackham Dean John D'Arms has alone fr
sent his own letter to graduate assistants when it
reassuring them that he is "aware" and TAs' pz
shares their "concern" that graduate ployeel
students have been singled out for an expired
excessive tax burden. This is little The C
comfort to those students whose tax bill (GEO)i
alone exceeds their entire month's pay- of the
check. protest.
D'Arms goes on to claim that "the cause f
University has taken steps to mitigate will suf
the immediate impact of [the tuition moonli
waiver tax]." In fact, nothing concrete Gradual
has been done except to create loan nancial
programs at the University Credit kind of
Union and Rackham Graduate School this urn
whereby students have the privilege of Thus fa
falling into debt in order to pay the adminis
taxes on income which they never see. And th
Other universities have responded worried
much more adequately to the change in living w
withholding requirements for their impres
graduate students. Alternatives em- Porr
ployed by other universities such as w ed
Michigan State or Illinois include: rais- meaninj
ing salaries to cover the tax, granting Stude
state residency status to out-of-state show th
students, or reclassifying tuition 12:30 tc

students
as scholarships. D'Arms dis-
such solutions for University of
gan students by saying
ses appropriate for one univer-
rarely appropriate for another."
re instructing University stu-
plunge into a spiral of debt and
ncy in order to finance their
e education, the administration
xplain exactly why all the re-
of so many other universities
country are inappropriate for
University has produced no evi-
hat their interpretation of the
x code based on the wording of
rent contract is correct. In fact,
rms' letter fails to mention, the
sity was incorrect and stood
om all other universities in 1984
t chose to withhold taxes from
aychecks the last time the Em-
Educational Assistance Section
in Congress.
Graduate Employee Organization
is right to call for a mass boycott
March tax bill and a public
Undergraduate students have
for concern as their education
fer if their TAs will are forced to
ght in order to pay unjust taxes.
te students facing possible fi-
insolvency will not produce the
cutting-edge research on which
versity has based its reputation.
culty, too, need to pressure the
stration by supporting the GEO.
lose University administrators
3 that graduate students denied a
wage might not give a favorable
>sion of the University to
ctive students should be very
d. And should do something
gful to rectify the situation.
ents, faculty, and staff need to
eir solidarity at the Diag rally at
omorrow.

By Deep Karra, Ranjit
Puthran, Rachel Zachariah
and Preeti Malani
Consider the following opinions con-
cerning Indian-Americans today: _
- Indian-Americans are well-off financially,
with a mean income higher than that of
White Americans.
- Indian-Americans have a high success
rate in school and in the job market, due
to their diligence and high level of intelli-
gence.
" Indian-Americans experience very little,
if any, racial discrimination.
" Indian-Americans are, as a class, rela-
tively problem-free.
These opinions seem to represent the
general perception of Indian-Americans
living in this country, and seem to present
a relatively favorable depiction of the In-
dian-American situation as viewed by the
general public as well as by many Asian
Indians themselves. Yet underneath the
glitter and gloss of skewed statistics and
misrepresentations, there seems to be a
rising uneasiness among Indian-American
youth today, as many of us are forced to
face ourselves and address issues which
have, until recently, been suppressed under
a blanket of apathy and inaction. Issues
concerning our identity, our heritage,
stereotypes, discrimination and violence
have come to bear on our conscience more
and more, as we reach that age where deci-
sions must be made and actions taken
which will affect ourselves and those
around us at the present time, as well as in
the future.
The major source of conflict for young
Indian-Americans seems to be the so-called
Deep Karra, Ranjit Puthran, Rachel
Zachariah and Preeti Malani are members
of UMASCIIASA.

"model minority" myth, which includes
such opinions as those presented above.
Are these opinions accurate? Of course
not. They are just that - opinions, which
have been bred through the incredibly per-
sistent tendency of individuals to stereo-
type and label whole classes of people
based on the achievements or failures of a
few individuals. Although many Indian
students do well in school, just as many
do not. Although many Indian adults now
earn relatively high salaries, most do not.
However, in this competitive age of race
comparisons and counter-comparisons, it
is the success of a few individuals which
are well-documented and the failures of
most which are conviently ignored.
How are Indian-American attitudes about
themselves affected by such external
stereotypes which they, like everyone else,
have undoubtedly been exposed to? Many
have struggled with an identity crisis
which is the result of the conflicts which
arise as they try to reconcile within them-
selves the differences in the value systems
of the American society, in which they
have been raised, and their native India.
This struggle usually involves an attempt
to maintain one's Indian heritage, while
accepting the American ideals which have
been internalized while growing up in this
society; this usually leads to varying de-
grees of assimilation on the one hand, and
rejection on the other.
Through the results of this internal
struggle, many of us are now forced to
take a peek outside of the security shield
with which we have surrounded ourselves
for so long. We must face the realities of
discrimination and violence against Indian-
Americans that are as much a reality for
the Indian-American community as for the
population as a whole. The recent inci-
dents of violence and murder against Indi-
ans by the so-called terrorist "dot-busters"
gangs in Jersey City have by now become

household news items among Indian-
Americans; even as nearby as Bloomfield
Hills, where Detroit Country Day private
school has seen the development of the
KAI (Kill All Indians) organization, there
is proof that anti-Indian sentiment does
exist, just as does anti-Black sentiment,
anti-Asian sentiment and anti-Jewish sen-
timent. In addition, institutionalized
racism and discrimination has affected all'
minority groups, from which Indians have
not been excluded. Yet, either due to,
skimpy media attention or inadequate
community involvement, many young
Indians are not aware, or choose to ignore,
these very real situations.
Is it fair for us to simply closed our
eyes and brush off such realities, dismiss-
ing them as "someone else's problem?"
Let's get real. It seems that many Indian-
Americans have been living in the shadow
of a myth that can no longer hide the
realities of their existence in this country.
There are real issues confronting Indian-
Americans on this campus and nation-
wide. There are also many individuals on
this campus who have turned to face those
, issues. The University of Michigan Asian
Student Coalition (UMASC) and the In-
dian-American Student Association
(IASA) will be sponsoring a work-
shop/discussion on Indian-American
Awareness, to be held this Thursday,
March 31st at 7PM in the Michigan
League, Conference Room D. The work-
shop will deal with issues such as Indian-
American identity, stereotypes,
discrimination and violence, among oth-
ers. All students are encouraged to attend.
Hopefully, through communication and
realization among Indian-Americans on
this campus, the model-minority myth
will no longer remain the shroud of igno-
rance which .has obscured our vision for
sudh a long time.

Arab-Americans face

Sandinista peace plan

N SPITE OF efforts by the Reagan
Administration, peace may have broken
'out in Nicaragua. On March 23, the
Nicaraguan government and the contras
signed a truce mandating a 60 day cease
fire, an end to military aid to the con-
tras, broad political amnesty, freedom
for prisoners, and negotiations aimed at
ending the war.
While this is a welcome first step to-
ward reconciliation, a lasting peace is
contingent on fully disarming the con-
tras and cutting the strings of their pup-
peteers in Washington. Sadly, this may
be the most difficult step.
The Sandinista government, how-
ever, should not feel any pressure to
agree to any proposal involving the
United States as long as hostile troops
threaten their border with Honduras.
The Reagan administration thinks it
knows what is best for the people of
Nicaragua, even to the point of under-
mining the efforts of their favorite band
of terrorists - the contras. The New
York Times reports, "senior American
officials say that they were shocked by
the accord, and that if it had been left up
to the Administration, the contras
would never have signed it." (3/26/88)
True to form, the Reagan administra-
tion is attempting to sabotage the pro-
cess behind a timid facade of approval.
George Schultz called the accord a step
forward, but the White House has re-
fused to actively support the agreement.
The truce has reportedly produced a
feeling of "discomfort" in the White
House. Fortunately, the Nicaraguans
realize that this simply doesn't compare
to the "discomfort" of getting one's leg

blown off by a landmine.
Reagan has got to quit while he's be-
hind and abandon his failed policy to-
ward Nicaragua. Over the last 8 years
his obsession with overthrowing that
country's government has stained his
hands with the blood of 40,000 corpses
and brought a poor nation to the brink
of economic collapse. In contrast, the
Arias Peace Plan is a promising
opportunity for peace and political
reconciliation.
In light of the carnage they produced,
the administration should throw its full
weight into the peace process, including
direct negotiations between Nicaragua
and the United States. Reagan
promised to negotiate if the Sandinistas
ever met directly with the contras.
Since this has transpired, Reagan
should be tested at his word.
Although it must be a bitter pill to
swallow, the administration must pre-
pare to normalize relationships with
Nicaragua. The U.S. should end its
economic embargo against that country
and cease its attempts to block interna-
tional loans. It should also stop threat-
ening Nicaragua with "training exer-
cises" in Honduras. These steps must
be part of the recognition of Nicaragua
as a sovereign state with a legitimate
constitutional government. Even the
contras have done this in signing the
truce.
On March27 the Nicaraguan
government freed 100 prisoners in
compliance with the accord. They are
respecting their end of the bargain, now
it is up to the administration and the
contras to do likewise.

By Jamal El-Hindi
People often ask me what I mean when
I say I am an Arab-American. I wish it
were an easy answer, but saying that
you're an Arab-American today is not the
same as simply saying you are Polish or
Jewish, Korean or Italian.
We have our ethnic traditions, favorite
foods and stories of immigrant families
struggling for a stake in the New World
just as any other ethnic community in the
United States. But in other ethnic groups
most people don't bother to emphasize
their American ancestry; it's automatically
assumed. They don't say they are Polish-
Americans or Greek-Americans; saying
they're Polish or Greek suffices. Arabs,
however, need to specify when they are
Arab-Americans. It's as if the two have to
be forcefully affixed to avoid confusing
others. If I were to simply tell someone
that I was Arab, they would assume-I was
not American. There is a presumption that
the two identities don't fit together natu-
rally.
This presumption represents merely the
surface of misunderstanding towards
Arabs - in this country and the Arab
world - that keeps Americans from
accepting a vital people in and from a vital
land.
In the past two decades, such misunder-
standings have set deeper into the
American mind set. Through the Oil
Crisis of the 1970's, Arabs became
scapegoats for rising prices and economic
Jamal El-Hindi is a member of the
Association of Arab-American University
Graduates.

stagnation in the West. Friends always
asked which oil well was mine and wanted
to know where I hid my money. They did
not understand that most Arab states did
not have oil. And when I asked them what
they would do if they had control over a
non-renewable resource that the wealthy
and industrious West demanded of them,
they remained sheepishly silent.
There has always been an unfair slant in
the West's and America's depiction of
Arabs. The Arab is a thief; the Arab is a
vagabond. The Arab is dirty; the Arab is
Suntrustworthy. The Arab is a terrorist. The
unchecked and racist image runs so deep
that even the lovable Jerry Mathers of
"Leave it to Beaver" once moralized at the
close of an episode, "I'll never trust an
Arab again!"
I personally didn't feel as if I were
"mistrusted" any differently than other
Americans until relatively recently. With
increasing tensions in the Middle East and
sporadic violence spilling outside its bor-
ders, I began to feel that I wasn't welcome
in my own country. Crossing the border
from Canada became more unnerving as
border authorities no longer just asked
where I was from and where I was going.
They asked where I was born and where
my parents were born. When I was study-
ing in England, even with my American
passport and student visa, I was registered
under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
simply because I was Arabic. And when I
returned from England, my Arabic posters
were confiscated by U.S. Customs offi-
cials.
But my grievances are insignificant
when compared to those of others. Many

prejudice
Arab-Americans are continually questioned
by the FBI. In Los Angeles, immigration
authorities have illegally rounded-up Arabs
with both student visas and green cards
cowboy style and herded them into prison
for disseminating information about the
Arab-Israeli conflict. There is a growing
fear among Arab-Americans as
government memoranda document the
establishment of special internment camps
waiting in Louisiana. And the widow of
Alex Odeh, an Arab-American murdered
for actively voicing his objections to
America's unquestioned support of Israel,
still waits for the FBI to put away the
assailants who planted the bomb in her
husband's office of the Arab-American
Anti-Discrimination Council.
Thinking about these signs in America
of an unchecked resentment against Arabs
and hearing other stories of those who are
increasingly harassed for their Arabic
backgrounds whether they be merchants,
teachers or political activists, makes me
wonder whether I will always be able to
comfortably call myself Arab and
American at the same time.
And now I am back to the original
question. What does it mean to be an
Arab-American today? I guess it means a
number of things. It means keeping alive
your cultural identity just as other ethnic
groups do. It also means dismantling
stereotypes and trying to help other
Americans develop a truer picture of
Arabs, the Arab World, and recently, the
Arab-Israeli conflict and Palestinian
question. Finally and most frighteningly,
it means being scared that Americans
won't listen to you when you simply try
to be Arab and American.

LETTERS:

Beat Nazis through non-violence

Stop police brutality

To the Daily:
On Saturday afternoon a De-
troit-based gang of neo-Nazis
tumbled into town and at-
tempted to hold their annual
rally at the Federal Building.
As I watched the confrontation,
I was horrified at the reckless
violence that erupted. under a
hail of projectiles, the
swastika-laden fascists bleated

way to truly defeat the neo-
Nazis is to reject their elixir:
chaotic violence.
There is no doubt that
throwing a rock at a neo-Nazi
can fulfill the spirit. After all,
how often do we get the chance
to slug it out toe to toe with
the incarnation of evil itself
and win? But the pleasure of
squaring off with a group of

They left with a few bruises,
but probably with smiles on
their faces. While four violent
protestors sat in jail cells, they
sat comfortably back at Nazi-
central drinking a cold case of
Coors.
Protest against the Nazis
must be nonviolent because the
unbridled barbarism that took
place on both sides of the po-

they ever do get power, they
would unleash the sinister ap-
petites of men. However, we
must aspire to more that the
primal gratification of
brutalizing our enemies. There
is a place for violent protest,
but the cost of violence against
the neo-Nazis on Saturday
outweighed its benefits.
Through non-violent protest

TODAY, THE anti-racist demon-
strators who were brutalized by
Ann Arbor police at a protest
nenitn t s TnsL1 "ri1 1 wries .

the counter demonstrators where
abused by the police even after they
had been subdued. Hair pulling,
choking. and beating tvoified the

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