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November 01, 1988 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-01

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

OPINION

Page 4
be augesdesaenai
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Tuesday, November 1, 1988

The Michigan Daily

I

Rape regardless of race

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No.39.

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.
Make course required

TODAY THE LSA curriculum
committee will discuss a much needed
mandatory course on racism. Proposed
by Concerned Faculty and Faculty
Against Institutional Racism in con-
junction with students from the United
Coalition Against Racism (UCAR), the
course would provide an analysis of
race and racism, as well as cultural
achievements of people of color.
Racism is a significant phenomena in
society and at the University, and the
course will increase student under-
standing of this issue. The course is
essential to any liberal arts education.
To its credit, the curriculum commit-
tee has already recommended that the
proposal be instituted as an optional
course. However, unless it approves
the course as a requirement for all un-
dergraduates, the class will be nothing
but another ineffective token gesture.
The course must be mandatory.
If the course is optional, it is unlikely
that students who most need to be
educated about racism will choose to
take it.
Students should not have the luxury
of choosing whether or not to be edu-
cated about racism and other cultures.
The University does not give students
the choice about whether or not to learn
a foreign language, or to achieve a cer-
tain level of writing skill. To enforce
these requirements and to make the
course on racism optional would reflect
the skewed priorities under which the
University administration operates.
One alternative to the mandatory
course is to create a new distribution

requirement focusing on the experi-
ences or contributions of minorities in
different fields. Students would fulfill
the requirement by taking courses al-
ready offered in different departments.
While electing courses which deal
with other cultures is useful, this is not
a substitute for the mandatory course.
The problems of racism cannot be fully
explored or understood within the con-
fines of one discipline. The proposed
course is specifically designed to take
an interdisciplinary perspective - an
approach which would be impossible
to achieve through distribution re-
quirements.
The proposed course is also designed
to encourage students to examine their
own actions and attitudes. This would
be lost if education on racism was rele-
gated to a distribution requirement.
Creating a mandatory course on
"diversity" is another option. Diversity
is a completely different concept from
racism, and is often used to deny or
trivialize issues specific to race and
racism.
In order to combat racism at the Uni-
versity, structural changes in the cur-
riculum and in course requirements
need to be made. The University has
consistently made excuses for low mi-
nority enrollment and the dismal per-
centages of minority faculty. In the
proposed mandatory class, the faculty
and administration have an opportunity
to make a meaningful change. UCAR
has been demanding that such a course
be created since the spring of 1987.
There are no acceptable excuses.

By SAPA C
Several rapes that have recently been
committed in the off-campus area have
many people very frightened about their
safety as well as concerned over what to
do. The Sexual Assault Prevention and
Awareness Center (SAPAC) is concerned
about this situation, we care about the
women who were assaulted and want to
see these rapes stopped. We are also con-
cerned because we want to assist those
who are fearful, while providing the com-
munity with accurate information to put
these rapes into context. We particularly
feel it is essential that this situation not
create an atmosphere which fosters racism
and a false perception that all Black men
are rapists, or that all rapists are Black
men.
First, the facts: three sexual assaults
have taken place in the same general area
in the last six weeks: two on S. Forest
and one on Vaughn St. The suspect in all
three instances is a Black man. He carried
a small, silver handgun and did not know
the women he raped. The Ann Arbor Po-
lice believe that all three rapes may have
been perpetrated by the same man and are
actively working on trying to find this
man.
Second, the context: we have heard more
about these three recent rapes because they
SAPAC is the University's Sexual As-
sault Prevention and Awareness Center.
SAPAC's 24-hour phone line is 936-3333
and business phone is 763-5865.

have been widely publicized by both the
print and television media. Although it is
important and useful to publicize
information about rapes, it is essential
that the press be responsible. Recent pub-
licity around these cases has sensational-
ized an already difficult and frightening
situation; by so doing it has portrayed an
inaccurate picture of rape, why it happens,
when it happens and who rapes. It's
doubtful that the media would have paid as
much attention to this situation if the as-
sailant weren't Black and if most of his
victims weren't white, if the rapist had
known his victims, or if there weren't a
gun involved.
The Daily and other media have left out
important information, information none
of us can afford to ignore. Information
such as Black men are no more likely to
rape than white men and 80% of the time
rapists know the women they assault. In
fact, over 90% of all rapes are perpetrated
by men of the same race and social class
as the women they assault. By leaving out
this fact, the press perpetuates the cen-
turies old myth of the Black rapist.
This historical lie about Black men was
created in order to justify lynching. These
lynchings were used as weapons of politi-
cal terror against Black men as well as
against the Black community. They were
overt manifestations of racism designed to
maintain white supremacy and power. Al-
though lynchings are rare today, this racist
myth lives on; failing to address it during
situations such as this perpetuates the
myth and reinforces racist stereotypes. Be-

cause of the myth of the Black rapist,
rapes by Black men are 5 times more
likely to be reported than rapes by white
men. Because of this misconception,
Black men are more likely than white men
to be accused, charged and convicted of
rape. A further consequence of this myth
is that white women have been socialized
to fear Black men.
The composite pictures and article
printed in last Friday's Daily did nothing
to confront these stereotypes. Printing two
such dissimilar pictures, along with such a
vague description, only feeds into racist
beliefs about the prevalence of rapists who
are Black. By not addressing racism and
the myth of the Black rapist when report-
ing on the current situation, the Daily
creates a circumstance where all Black men
in that area - and in general - are sus-
pect. It is important to report on the rapes
which have taken place in this area: peo-
ple's fears are justified. But it is also im-
portant to know that just because one
Black man may have raped several women,
that doesn't mean that all Black men are
rapists.
This lie about Black men must be re-
placed with the truth. Black men are not
more likely to rape than white men. We
must all acknowledge the realities of sex-
ual assault: men of all races rape, strangers
are not more likely to rape than acquain-
tances, women never invite or deserve
rape. As a community and as individuals
we must commit to eradicating the ,myth
of the Black rapist and stopping this par-
ticular rapist - as well as all rape.

.xX.
...... . . .. .

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Daily Opinion Page letter policy
Due to the volume of mail, the Daily cannot print all the letters and
columns it receives, although an effort is made to print the majority of the
material on a wide range of views. The Daily cuts letters and columns for
space in both the editorial process and in production.
The Daily does not print blatantly sexist, racist or homophobic letters or
columns. The Daily also does not print material which is factually incor-
xect. The Daily also modifies letters to fits its grammar and type styles.
The Daily writes the headlines for letters and columns.
If you have questions about submitting material or the policy please con-
tact the Opinion page editors or staff at 747-2814.
4.

CCF
removal
lauded
To the Daily:
As a proud homosexual, a
Christian, and a member of
LaGROC, it is necessary for
me to respond to Mary Lynn
Mefford's article (Daily
10/17/88). I would like to
share my personal views as a
Christian, along with a few
facts regarding the Christian
Campus Fellowship's removal
from MSA recognition.
Ms. Mefford stated that the
song "God Hates Queer and so
Do I" "referred to homosexual-
ity and not to homosexuals."
Therefore, according to her
statement a more appropriate
title to the song would have
been, "God hates what Queers
Do." Regardless of the fact that
this was not the title of the
song, I still have difficulties
with the songs alleged premise.
First, Jesus never spoke
against homosexuality. Sec-
ond, most of the biblical pas-
sages that do speak against
homosexuality also speak
against such "sins" as eating
crustaceans (such as lobsters)
and wearing clothing of diverse
cloth (such as your cot-
ton/polyester T-shirt). Third,
Ms. Mefford agrees that God
created all people, including
homosexuals. I think we would
also agree that failure to use
the gifts God gave us would be
a discredit to ourselves as well
as to God. If you deny me the
right to acknowledge my gifts,
by opposing my participation
in a healthy relationship with
another man, you make a re-
quest analogous to asking
Michelangelo to stop painting.
My personal beliefs as a
Christian aside, I now wish to
alleviate your fears, Ms. Mef-
ford. I, as a homosexual and a
member of LaGROC, do not
wish to prevent the proclama-
tions of Christians in public
forums. Free speech, guaran-
teed by the First Amendment,
should never be questioned.
However, if an organization
like Christian Campus
Fellowship accepts MSA
sponsorship they cannot make
proclamations, statements, or

essary for MSA to withdraw
recognition of CCF. I join the
entire University community
in applauding MSA's efforts to
end discrimination.
-Jim Randall
October 28
Zionism is
nationalism

Kahane ban token

To the Daily:
I was sorry to see that Deyar
Jamil missed the point of my
letter (Daily, 10/19/88). Israel
does not exist merely because
of the Jewish refugees, but for
them. That is what Zionism
is. It is not, as the Palestine
Solidarity Committee would
have it, "a political ideology
that supports the colonization
of Palestinian land." It is not
an ideology in any sense of the
word, as it says nothing about
the kind of government or eco-
nomic system that it expects to
see in Israel.
Zionism is Jewish national-
ism, plain and simple, the be-
lief that the Jewish people have
a historic and moral right to
the land of their forefathers.
And as such it has nothing to
say about whether or not there
should be an independent Arab-
ruled state on the West Bank,
as some have advocated. That
is a political, security-related
issue that hopefully will be
settled through negotiation.
Jamil states that "a truly
charitable country would not
discriminate against refugees
of different persuasions."
Again, the point I made seems
to have been lost. The Jewish
people do not constitute a
"persuasion." The Jews are not
merely a religious body, as so
many Arab leaders have mis-
takenly stated, and they are not
a race, as the Nazis believed.
By definition, under both Ha-
lakha (Jewish religious law)
and Israel's Law of Return, a
Jew is anyone who has either
been born of a Jewish mother,
or who has adopted Judaism as
their faith. One can either be
born into the Jewish family, or
adopted into it. Deymar, the
Jews are a nation.
Concerning the issue of the
Arab refugees, I would remind
Deymar Jamil that if the Arab
governments had not invaded
Israel in 1948, if they had ac-

(Daily, 10/18/88),com
they do in the face oft
going Arab arms build-i
only bespeak either
ignorance, or the de
prompt another Arab
war.

ing as
the on-
up, can
gross
sire to
.-Israeli

For Israel, it is not a ques-
tion of territory, but of sur-
vival. -John Blow
October 20
Let poor
women
decide
To the Daily:
I urge voters to Vote No on
Proposal A on November 8. In
1973 the U.S. Supreme Court
acknowledged women's right to
decide whether or not to termi-
nate a pregnancy. A ban on
Medicaid funding for abortions
would deny poor women their
rights.
Women and children com-
prise most of the people living
in poverty. Poor women are
poor because jobs and services
are not adequately allocated to
care for all people. They are
not poor because they are
ignorant and lazy. They are not
more "immoral" and irrespon-
isble than those who are not
poor. Most poor women at-
tempt as well as possible to
take care of themselves and
their families.
Medicaid is the only health
insurance available to most
poor women. The real message
in the so-called Right to Life's
campaign in favor of Proposal
A is that we should not use tax
dollars for health care or per-
haps apn social services.
In fact health care and social
services need to be expanded to
ensure that the needs of all
women and children are taken
care of. In addition to defending
poor women's right to choice
and healthcare, we must work
to expand women's alterna-
tives: free, quality contracep-
tion and sex education; jobs for
all at union wages; quality
childcare available for all chil-
dren; low cost quality housing;
an end to racism, sexism, and
anti-lesbian/gay bigotry.

If the so-called Right to Lif-
ers worked as hard for women's
equality, contraception and sex
education, and expanded social
services as they do to end poor
women's rights, they would in
fact do more to reduce abor-
tions. Have they ever proposed
legislation for childcare? Do
they support sex education?
How about ending tax dollars
for military arms and war?
The so-called Right to Life
is a fraud. Their attack on poor
women is just the beginning.
They do not care about tax
dollars or the quality of life. If
they win on November 8, they
will attempt to eliminate abor-
tion coverage in state funded
health insurance. Ultimately,
they will try to end all
women's right to choose.
Let poor women and all
women decide for themselves.
Go to the polls and vote no,
defend equality, and expand so-
cial services to improve the
quality of life.
-Dawn Chalker
October 25
Americans,

I

are
tolerant

4

ON OCTOBER 19th, the Israeli
Supreme Court banned Meir Kahane's
Kach Party from participating in to-
day's Knesset elections on the grounds
that his party is racist towards Arabs.
While a propaganda triumph for Israeli
public relations, the decision bears little
relevance to the conduct of Israeli poli-
tics and policies.
As journalist Robert Friedman points
out, "the Israeli right is angry with Ka-
hane because he says what they think:
that the Jewish state should annex the
occupied territories and expel all of Is-
rael's unruly Arabs" (The Nation, Oct.
31, 1988). The censure of Kahane is a
cynical maneuver on the part of Israel,
because Zionism - the official ideol-
ogy of the state - is from its inception
a racist construct, as the United Nations
affirmed in Resolution 3379 which de-
fined Zionism as "a form of racism and
racial discrimination."
To be fully appreciated, Zionism
mnt h eyamined in the nntext nfits

A

Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of
Revisionist Zionism, illustrates those
points when he says, "A preservation
of national integrity is impossible ex-
cept by a preservation of racial purity,
and for that purpose we [Jews] are in
need of a territory of our own."
(Jabotinsky, "A Letter on Autonomy,"
Israel Among the Nations)
The racist aspects of Zionism are un-
abated in the present day, as both La-
bor and Likud governments confiscate
Palestinian land and expel the indige-
nous population. The Labor Party's
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin's cur-
rent anti-uprising policy of "might,
force, and beatings" is a logical step
towards the concept of "transfer," a
strangely antiseptic term that means the
mass displacement of Palestinians from
all of Palestine. Meir Kahane advocates
the transfer policy, as does the majority
of the Likud party. The idea, however,
is gaining popularity across the
political spectrum in Israel as the

To the Daily:
The U of M College
Republicans have gone off the
deep end. How else to explain
this piece of garbage from their
October 1988 newsletter: "Two
kinds now seem to exist in this
country - liberals and
AMERICANS!"?
This country represents a
great experiment in pluralistic
democracy, and as such there is
no place in it for ideological
litmus tests as a measure of
national identification. Rea-
sonable people can disagree on
the issues, but we are all
Americans. In fact, tolerance
and open-mindedness toward
differing viewpoints are
considered "American" ideals.
I thought Joe McCarthy was
dead, but apparently he's alive
and well and a member of the
U of M College Republicans.
-Roger Kosson
October 30

Aa M SO ~N SSS

i

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