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October 06, 1988 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PERSPECTIVES

The Michigan Daily Thursday, October 6, 1988 Page5

Maize

and

blue

BY DONNA IADIPAOLO
I remember applying to this grand
old University as a senior in high
school. Wow, I thought, I might be
going to the same college where the
Wolverines play football.
You know, the college where the
spirit of "brotherhood" and the team
spirit of achievement live on.
And then I was accepted to the
University. I was so excited. To be a
part of this great collegiate football
history. "Let's go Blue!"
Just like everybody else, I ordered
my football tickets and left my Sat-
urdays free so I could stand in
Michigan Stadium and sing "Hail to
the Victors".
Such a rich tradition.
My roommate and I even deco-
rated our South Quad room in the
patriotic colors. (I remember setting
aside an entire day just to look in
New York Carpet World for a piece
of carpet the exact right shade of
blue).
And, of course, I dressed up on
game day - complete with shoelaces
with printed "M's" and my face col-
ored with paint.
But looking back, I am now dis-
gusted by my blind patriotism. It's
even hard for me to admit that I
actually did all this.
After attending a couple games as
a first-year student I sold my tickets
and vowed to never attend another
game. I had overcome the Maize and
Blue patriotism.
I think many of you might be
able to admit to it. Patriotism is that
great self-righteous feeling we all
hide behind so we can deny the exis-
tence of all all those great evils. You
know, let's not even talk in conver-
sation about all those "-ism's."
Shhhh - racism, sexism,
elitism, classism... patriotism.
Looking back, I think that's what
disturbed me most as a naive first-
year student. Certain absurdities at
this University, and where the
priorities always seemed to fall.
Athletics. Specifically male-ath-
letics. Specifically football.
Of course, I'm sure most are
aware of the exorbitant amounts of
money spent on football compared to
the support needed in the dying hu-
nanities.
And I'm also sure we can all rec-
ognize how ludicrous is the fierce-
-ness in our recruitment of athletes
compared to the less intense efforts
for minority students.
But there is something even
more disturbing. Something that can
be categorized within those same "-
isms-"
Institutionalism.
You know, all those brilliant
minds that actually run this Univer-
sity. The regents, the Dude... and the
athletic directors.
Perhaps this institutionalism can
.be best understood if we can under-
stand the mentality of one of the
*current athletic directors here at the
,grand old University.
And maybe even my reasons for
no longer being so patriotic toward
this University can be better under-
stood. Monday I spoke with the As-
gociate Director for the Athletics De-
partment, Don Lund.
. I was talking with him about
Michigamua - an all-male "honor
society" - which has been under
some controversy for the past ten
years.

(By the way, this "honor society"
is not academically orientated.
Mostly athletes make up this group;
at times some members have even
been known to be on academic
probation.)
Anyway, the controversy with
Michigamua stems from reports cit-
ing the organization as depicting Na-

tive Americans in a offensive man-
ner.
I was interviewing Lund about
Michigamua because he is a member
of their "Old Braves Council".
(This so called "Old Braves
Council" is supposed to serve as an
advisory committee for the changing
membership of Michigamua.)
The group allegedly violated a
1973 civil rights ruling that stated
Michigamua was to "eliminate all
public rights on campus" because
they were practicing "unlawful dis-
crimination" against Native Ameri-
cans.
So I'm talking over the phone
with Lund, and he starts to get off
the subject a bit after I ask him
whether or not alleged violations did
occur by Michigamua.
"Donna, have you ever even been
to a football game?" he asked. He
seemed irritated by the line of ques-
tions and told me that Mike Dames
was the current president of the orga-
nization and Mark Mesner the current
secretary. You know, all-star football
players.
I really didn't see the relationship
to my question, or football.
"Well no." I said meekly. "But, I
used to," I enthusiastically answered
back.
"You used to. (pause) I see,"
Lund said.
Suddenly I was made to feel in-
complete. What was I missing? Was

this some kind of required extra-cur-
ricular activity I didn't know about?
Why was it that I stopped going to
these games which I once became so
excited about? Why had I stopped
wearing my maize and blue gar-
ments. Why could I no longer re-
member the words to "Hail to the
Victors"... why didn't I care?
Was he trying to make me feel
unpatriotic? God, I hope so. Re-
member, activism is one of those "-
isms" that administrators would
rather not deal with. You know,
those damn idealistic students.
Then I remembered some of the
more immediate reasons following
my departure as a patriot.
"I stopped going because I was
sick of the fights that always broke
out around me," I told him. "I was
sick and tired of people falling all
over me."
I remembered those days well.
Coming home with beer and vomit
spilt all over me and sometimes even
bruises from people falling on me.
Yeah, I was sure missing out on a
lot of the fun.
But now it isn't just my weak
stomach and non-masochistic body
that is keeping me from the games. I
wouldn't go to many concerts if that
were the case. It was much more.
It's all those absurdities that occur
at this University everyday. Its all
those "-isms" that we all fight to re-
main insensitive toward.

patriotism
about Who's Who in the Michigan
r Athletics department.
.You know, who all the rulers of
this University are - like the
Alumni Director and the Football
Ticket Office manager. Lund said
they were all members of the
Michigamua "Old Braves" network,
This all got a bit tiresome, so I
f tried to direct the questioning back to
Michigamua and asked him if he had
informed the students in Michigamua
of the 1973 civil rights ruling. What
about this all-male group dressing up
with war paint and "whooping"?
What about the patriotism owed to
the original Americans? What about
educating your current members
about why stereotyping is damaging,
Mr epLund?
His response was somehow not

KAREN HANDELMAN/Doily
Children show off their inherited Michigan spirit by wearing
traditional fan attire.

surprising.
"I don't recall if anybody
them about it or not," Lund
"...they're well informedi
though."

told
said
now

And where is all the money spent
that could correct so many of the ab-
surdities?
Football.
Enough to turn a naive first-year
student away from Michigan Sta-
dium.
"Oh yeah, " said Lund in response
to fights breaking out during the
game. "I'm sure they were alcohol

related - you've probably even had a
part in it before." Lund said.
I never even met the man. God, I
resented that accusation. But things
really do fall in place Mr. Associate
Athletics Director, don't they? It be-
came quite obvious to me that he'd
rather talk about football than any of
his organization's civil right infrac-
tions. Next he proceeded to quiz me

Hmmm. Could it be because
they read something about it in the
paper?
Well, as expected the conversation
began to deteriorate.
"Donna, we seem to be two dif-
ferent people who can't completely
understand each other," Lund said.
Thanks for the enlightenment,
Mr. Lund.

I

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