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October 10, 1988 - Image 4

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Monday, October 10, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

4

The Greek Alternative?

Vol. IC, No. 23

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.
Columbus Day justifies genocide of native Americans:
Day of mourning

TODAY IS COLUMBUS DAY, a
national holiday that rewrites the history
of America to exclude indigenous
peoples and their ties to the land.
As historian Howard Zinn has noted,
"To emphasize the heroism of Colum-
bus and his successors as navigators
and discoverers, and to de-emphasize
their genocide, is not a technical nec-
essity but an ideological choice. It
serves - unwittingly - to justify what
was done."
Christopher Columbus in no way
"discovered" the Americas; rather he
began the processes of conquest and
colonization by the European powers,
particularly England.
Columbus first reached the Bahama
Islands and there encountered the
Arawak Indians. Of the Arawaks he
wrote: "They have no iron. Their
spears are made of cane.... They would
make fine servants.... With fifty men
we could subjugate them all and make
them do whatever we want."
On their first meeting with Europeans
the Arawaks were hospitable and
brought them gifts and food. In ex-
change, Columbus took some of them
hostage hoping to get gold. In his di-
ary, Columbus wrote: "As soon as I
arrived in the Indies, on the first Island

which I found, I took some of the na-
tives byforce in order that they might
learn and might give me information of
whatever there is in these parts."
More importantly, the celebration of
Columbus Day whitewashes the geno-
cide of the indigenous Americans.
According to J. Sakai, "from the 10
million Indians that once inhabited
North America, after four centuries of
settler invasion and rule there were in
1900 perhaps 200,000-300,000 sur-
viving descendants in the U.S.A."
Zinn puts the acknowledgement of
genocide in the conquest of the Am-
ericas in context. "My point is not that
we must, in telling history, accuse,
judge, condemn Columbus in ab-
sentia..... But the easy acceptance of at-
rocities as a deplorable but necessary
price to pay for progress (Hiroshima
and Vietnam, to save Western civil-
ization...) - that is still with us."
Columbus Day should not go un-
noticed. Rather, it should become 'a
day of mourning for the millions of
native Americans who were killed and
enslaved in the process of nation-
building. Columbus Day should be a
day to acknowledge the real history of
the United States and the terrible blood-
shed, slavery and repression that went
into its founding.

By Rollie Hudson
In a general letter to the several thou-
sand recent rushees, I would like to raise a
few unresolved questions about the Greek
system.
A week ago I read in an article that it
purports the ideals of "scholarship,
leadership, and friendship." Indeed, I can
see that from within the Greek system one
can build a social and academic network
and meet people who will not only make
college fun, but who can expand
opportunities in the future as well.
Michigan can be intimidating for many
young men and women, with its thirty-
five thousand faces, academic pressures,
and the pangs of homesickness which can
be felt even into the second year. And with
the University's inability to create a
hospitable housing environment (i.e.
overcrowded, highly restricted, and
relatively uneventful dorms) the Greek
system offers an attractive alternative.
Yet despite its lofty ideals, the Greek
system falls short of what it aspires to be.
Upon closer inspection, those Greek
"traditions" grow increasingly less re-
spectable. For instance, a gender analysis
shows that fraternities have had, and con-
tinue to have, what is known as a "Rape
Culture." Even Time Magazine (3/23/87)
noted that "Men are encouraged to
treat women aggressively and women are
encouraged to submit."
A 1987 study by the Project on the
Status and Education of Women
demonstrated that over 50 gang rapes oc-
curred in the nation-wide Greek system in
less than a two year period. Women are
given too much alcohol and drugs and are
then abused. Of the thousands of men in
fraternities who have raped or been abusive
towards women, it is doubtful they would
have done so without an institution which
tacitly sanctions such actions. Excess
alcohol consumption and the
objectification of woman as sex objects
are integral aspects of the Greek system.
To blame the victim - to accuse the
woman of agreeing to the conditions
which lead to her abuse - is fallacious. A
seventeen year-old woman, often without
the most developed sense of self-esteem
and eager for peer acceptance, pumped full
of chemical stimulants, is unlikely to be-
in any condition to give informed consent.
A lesson to be learned is that "Real Men
Don't Rape " or abuse women.
Fraternities deny this lesson.
The insecurities and character
Rollie Hudson is an Opinion page staff
writer.

deficiencies regarding gender divisions of
most adolescents are only increased when
women are constantly referred to in
degrading, deumanizing, and tasteless
terms. And we are all familiar with the
derogatory words and actions used to turn
women into things- to- be- conquered.
But when speaking of the Greek system
we recognize two; a Black Greek system
and a white Greek system. Thus it is a
segregated Greek system. Why? One needs
only to look at relatively recent history of
American fraternities (and, of course the
larger racism which has shaped America)
and to today's continued exclusionary
policies.
Crude proscriptions of Blacks and Jews
are out. "Occasional Black members are let
in, showcased to counter charges of
racism. But nothing, in fact, has
changed." (M.G. Lord Nation 5/87) This
absence of people of color in the Greek
system is a racist fact.

it comes to public relations.
Concerning philanthropy, estimates
show that nationally the half million
people in the Greek system give only
$29.00 on average, to charity. When
compared with tens of thousands of dollars
in tuition money, an average of $750.00
paid in yearly dues, and millions spent
collectively on consumer goods, drugs,
alcohol, and food, that amount is
contemptuous at best.
More to the point, the University's
privileged well-fed children have little
compassion or awareness of the reality, or
the causes of hunger, drug addicts, starving
Black children in the third world enclaves
that are our county's non-white ghettos.
Even if they gave more, doling trifles to
the poor is no solution.
The youths who have never known pain
however, are often incapable of real pity,
or real concern for society. They would be
questoining an establishment which

4

"Michigan can be intimidating for many young men and
women, with its thirty-five thousand faces, academic
pressures, and the pangs of homesickness which can be felt
even into the second year."

The following excerpt from an
opening letter from the President of
Kappa Alpha Theta (the oldest women's
sorority) to its members recently read,
"We still have alumnae who are reluctant
to recommend anyone else other than the
traditional white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
And this is their right... the purpose of the
recommendation system is... not to pro-
vide a 'ticket' for everyone." (Shades of
Dean Steiner).
Many of today's Greek organizations
have done away with such direct language
but when they refer to maintaining the
"tradition," the results are the same. One
needs only to have watched the dozens of
would-be sorority women walking from
Hill Street the last few weeks. To para-
phrase Lord, "statistics said that among
the women there should have been several
Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans,
but I didn't see any."
Historically, Jews and Blacks have
formed their own groups in order to sur-
vive white Protestant exclusion. Thus to
say that because the "other groups" have
been allowed to form their own organiza-
tions, white exclusiveness is acceptable,
smacks of the old refrain; "Separate but
Equal." A few Blacks in the white Greek
system as tokens are a virtual coup when

maintains their comfortable existence.
The Greek system also perpetuates an
anti-intellectual existence which champi-
ons apathy. It does not nurture progressive
individuals who are concerned with maxi-
mizing their full ethical potential. Rather,
it anesthetizes people into one-dimen-
sional human beings who are so tied up in
their own cold self-interest who, as Tol-
stoy said, claim that that their privileges
"exist in themselves, without
connections." It is a kind of ethical
asphyxiation.
Don't rationalize your involvement in
an inherently racist, sexist, elitist, and
hypocritical system. "I'm just trying it
out," or "I'm not really into it" does not
merit one's involvement. It is up to you,
it is up to all of us, to take it upon our-
selves to have the courage and conviction
to live within a racially and culturally in-
tegrated environment.
We live in an unjust social order and
must stop thinking of ourselves as ethical
exceptions. We do not exist in isolation;
we can make a difference. By its own
definition, the Greek system works against
this kind of society. The key is to begin
with our own actions. Your potential is
great, and the Greek system will only deny
you the chance to realize it.

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Native American Month highlights ironies and injustices:
Month of awareness

*OCTOBER IS NATIVE American
month. Ironically, October is also the
month in which Christopher Columbus
- conqueror and enslaver of native
Americans - is celebrated as a national
Hero.
Native American issues are shot
through with ironies. Native Americans
have been mythologized in popular
culture as proud and indomitable.
However, rates of alcoholism, drug
abuse and suicide among the inhabi-.
tints of Indian reservations are among
tie highest in the world.
Native
American
The majority of "Americans" (the
white, European variety) know little
about native American issues. Soviet
citizens seem to be more aware. At last
June's summit meeting in Moscow,
Soviet college students asked Ronald
Reagan - self-proclaimed champion of
human rights - to explain the miser-
able conditions found in Indian reser-
vations. Reagan's response: "maybe
we made a mistake" to have "humored"
American Indians "wanting to stay in
that primitive lifestyle."
Such offensive ignorance is unfor-
tunately typical. Ongoing issues of
grave concern to native Americans in-
clude:
-The continuing imprisonment of
Leonard Peltier, native American ac-
tivist.
Tried for the murder of FBI agents
and found guilty, Peltier claims he was

framed by the U.S. government. In
1985, Amnesty International and the
American Indian Movement (AIM)
urged that Peltier be retried in light of
glaring weaknesses in the prosecu-
tion's case. The U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals denied this request. It has
since surfaced that the FBI fabricated
dence in order to extradite Peltier from
Canada.
-The nuclear bombing of native Am-
erican lands.
According to Cultural Survival, a
Harvard-based human rights group, the
United States has exploded 651 nuclear
weapons on New Sogobia, the West-
ern Shoshone Nation. Thus, a native
American nation has the dubious honor
of being the most bombed nation in the
world.
AIM has also brought to light the fact
that mining for nuclear raw materials
and burial of nuclear wastes occurs on
Indian reservations as frequently as on
unoccupied wastelands- but not at all
in areas of our country populated by
whites.
*The use of sacred emblems and
names by professional and amateur
sports teams.
Of particular offense to many native
Americans is the Washington Redskins
pro football team. The Redskins' mas-
cot wears a "war bonnet" during the
games. To members of the Dakota
Sioux, this gesture is highly offensive
and racist. Said one member of the
Dakota Sioux, "for a Christian that
would be like.., running down the
football field dragging a big cross."
Fans Against Indian Racism (FAIR) is
lobbying in Washington D.C. for the
Redskins to change its name.
Perhaps by emphasizing awareness
of native American issues, future
injustices to this group can be avoided.
A month of awareness is a small step
toward recognition of the ironies and
present and past abuses of native
American rights.

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. : . .....:

Zionism is
not racism
To the Daily:
While it is true, as Prof.
Mazrui claims, that both Israel
and South Africa have been
globally isolated, the circum-
stances behind their isolation
are vastly different. In the case
of South Africa, the apartheid
regime has found itself isolated
out of a general repugnance for
its racist policies. Israel, on the
other hand, has found itself
isolated by the "petro-major-
ity". It has only been in the
1980s, during the oil glut, that
such African nations as
Liberia, Zaire, the Ivory Coast,
Cameroon and Togo, have felt
free to reopen diplomatic rela-
tions with Israel, and that Israel
has felt free to distance itself
from the South African regime.
However, Mazrui's speech,
and his comments to the Daily,
very quickly digressed from the
subject he was to discuss. For
example, during his interview
with Daily(9/22/88), Mazrui
was quick to find an excuse for
PLO terrorism, stating that
"the term terrorism is usually
used to denounce people who
are fighting for a cause that one
does not agree with; it's not
really the methods," and that,
"every time the Israelis bomb
Lebanon they kill a lot of
civilians and I'm sure the Is-
raeli government does not lose

tionalism. You are talking
about the same nation that, in
the last 40 years, has' taken in
over 700,000 refugees from all
parts of the globe. You are
talking about the same nation
that, in the first half of this
decade, risked its own sons and
resources to rescue 15,000
Ethiopian Jews, and bring
them home to the land of their
forefathers. Zionism is racism?
Zionism the expression of the
Jewish national dream, as em-
bodied in the State of Israel,
that no Jewish community,
anywhere in the world, will
ever again be without an advo-
cate. I suggest that you think
more carefully next time,
Mazrui.
-John Blow
October 5
PLO still
supports
charter
To the Daily:
In your editorial "Coveting a
Covenant" (Daily, 9/28/88),
you call for Israel to overlook
the PLO's "outdated" covenant,
the document which calls for
the 'armed liberation of Pales-
tine' (i.e. the destruction of Is-
rael). This demand is prepos-
terous! Is it Israel's or the
PLO's responsibility to de-
nounce this charter? Clearly, it
is the PLO's duty to amend

"the establishment of an inde-
pendent Palestinian state on the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip
does not contradict our ultimate
strategic aim, which is the es-
tablishment of a ... state in the
entire territory of Palestine, but
rather is a step in that direc-
tion."(Al Safir)
Furthermore, a young Pales-
tinian demonstrates how the
majority of the Palestinians
feel. "The day he (Arafat) rec-
ognizes Israel is the day I will
oppose him. I will win my
[Palestinian] state by fighting,
not by recognition," (Wall
Street Journal,9/29/88). Do
these sound like words from
peace seeking people?
Other incidents which serve
to raise the Israeli's suspicion
are numerous. The most vio-
lent is the hijacking of an Is-
raeli bus in February ,1988,
and the murder of its nine in-
habitants. The PLO claimed
responsibilityfor this!!
-Alan Woronoff
Ari Blumenthal
September 29
Vote No
on
Proposal A
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to

Mogbo's analogy of reproduc-
tive rights to buying a house.
Basic health care is not analo-
gous to buying material goods,
and an ethical state provides
basic health care to the poor.
Ms. Mogbo argues that
Medicaid funding is not the
same issue as abortion legality,
but she has only examined that
issue superficially. How "free"
is a poor woman to obtain an
abortion, when by definition
she has no money to do so? A
poor woman who knows she
wants an abortion but lives in
a state without Medicaid funds
has few options, all of them
unattractive, all of them with
serious repercussions - ask
Rosie Jimenez.
Ms. Mogbo states that
women should have absolute
responsibility for their actions
concerning reproduction. This
is a particularly harsh and self-
righteous stance, especially
when we consider the reality
that there is no 100 percent ef-
fective means of birth control.
Even if there were, poor
women have less access and
education than the middle and
upper classes. In any case, I
was under the impression that
it took two people to repro-
duce. When will men be held
responsible, Ms. Mogbo?
Furthermore, Ms. Mogbo
completely ignores the fact that
if Public 59 takes effect, vic-
tims of rape and incest will
also be denied Medicaid funds
for abortion. Is she implying

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