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September 08, 1988 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-08

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988 - Page'5

ERSPECTI VES

I

Down

with'dh

By Lillien Waller
During the last year, the United Coalition
Against Racism (UCAR) has attempted to vo-
rally and persistently challenge the racism within
the University. By continuing to have a broad
ggenda which encompasses our links to other na-
tional and international struggles, ranging from
South Africa and Central America to mass
mobilization and education, UCAR has sparked
strong and organized anti-racist activism that has
ipitiated broad concern and dialogue about these
jpsues within the campus community. Yet de-
1pite achievements toward positive change on
this campus, UCAR's activities as well as its
very existence have been engulfed in a flood of
disinformation and misunderstanding.
Probably the most controversial issue of the
past year has been the Martin Luther King Day
activities and protests. Whether or not one actu-
411y agrees with or supports the activities of that
4ay, which were not only confrontational because
Qf the protests but also due to the alternate
educational seminars which challenged the Euro-
gentrism and apolitical nature of our current cur-
sgicula, the fact remains that the University does
got have one day on which it stops business as
gsual to reflect on the history and future of the
gnti-racist struggle. Not one day exists at this
University to actively challenge the inherent
iacism and elitism of institutions like the Uni-
yersity, which are largely inaccessible to poor
people of color.
UCAR has sought to make the University
campus and community aware of these inequities
and encourage activism in order to combat them.
While protests have their place, one of the other
fcots of anti-racist struggle is education. It is
necessary not only to challenge racist ideas, but
to encourage the development of the types of
ideas that will cventually change our current so-

ciety and exist in a more egalitarian, anti-racist
one.
Recognizing this, UCAR spent the last year
doing dorm tours in order to talk to smaller
groups of students; sponsoring anti-racist teach-
ins; and bringing in speakers such as A. Sivan-
nanden of the London-based Institute of Race
Relations and longtime activist and scholar An-
gela Davis.
Whether or not one agrees with
UCAR's methods, the truth is that
racist attacks on this campus and in
our society are a harsh reality, one
that must be... challenged.
Still, UCAR has been charged with "making
too much of nothing," "over-emphasizing iso-
lated incidents," and being "too confrontational."
Whether or not one agrees with UCAR's meth-
ods, the truth is that racist attacks on this cam-
pus and in our society are a harsh reality, one
that must be vehemently challenged. In doing so,
we must remember they arc only symptoms of a
racist system, and they are sanctioned by the
racism of institutions - and this includes the
University - which encourage an atmosphere in
which they can thrive.
Furthermore, while keeping the public aware
of the racist violence and visible manifestations
of racism that exist here and elsewhere, UCAR
has proactively attempted to encourage a more
common knowledge of the true nature and debili-
tating affects that institutionalized racism has in
communities of people of color. One cannot em-
phasize too much or speak too loudly about the
fact that there are certain groups - people of
color - who, through complex economic, social
and political vehicles are excluded from the Uni-
versity.
Despite these objections and "anti-UCAR"

iersity'
sentiment, however, UCAR has taken steps to-
ward changing the University, including the ex-
posure of Dean Peter Steiner's racist remarks
about not wanting to make the University the
type of institution to which minorities would
want to "naturally flock" - comments that re-
ceived a substantial amount of condemnation by
national leaders. And the University now has a
vehicle through which newly politicized students
can have an active and more long-term role in the
struggle: the Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center
for Anti-Racist Education, a UCAR project.
Unfortunately, the University's administration
has seen fit to pervert and distort the efforts of
UCAR on this campus. The largest example of
this would have to be the "Excellence through
Diversity" campaign which has various man-
ifestions, including the proposed "Diversity Day"
and the "Talk to Us" audience-participation the-
ater group. While studying in a more diverse at-
mosphere where non-Western cultures are ac-
knowledged and accepted would be "nice," diver-
sity and racism are not the same, and the admin-
istration has used this campaign to dilute the is-
sue.
The issue is not whether or not Jane student
can accept the fact that she lives with a Black
person. Some of the issues are, however, whether
or not more Black people and other people of
color will be admitted to and graduated from the
University; whether or not the standards and
criteria for admission should even be considered
as accurate indicators of "good" students; and
what the University intends or must be pushed to
do about the racism inherent in its structure.
UCAR has been and will continue to be an active
part of the movement on this campus to deal
with these and other issues of race and racism.
-Walter is an LSA graduate and UCAR
steering committee member.

scoTT UTUCHY /Doily
University President James Duderstadt, then interim presi-
dent, listens as members of the United Coalition Against
Racism present their 12 demands to the University adminis-
tration in the spring of 1987.
ducatio n can

Asking "Why?":

Pictures of oppression

By Veronica Woolridge
American: A native or
ihabitant of North or South
merica; usually refers to
meone from the United
ates,
kPicture: An image or like-
ess of an object, person, or
scene produced on a flat
surface.
When a neon-green promotional
poster arrived on campus winter
term 1986, asking the question,

here."
I told him what I thought but I
still had not told him how I felt, and
he did not ask. He requested my
name and my school (in case he
quoted me). I told him I did not
want to be quoted by the Daily, in a
tone that voiced my dislike for the
paper as an effective source of
communication. He left, quickly
when he realized I would not offer
any information. It was a needless
waste of the power of the press.
The effective, influential story that
should have been written was left
untold.

in our minds, he would take us just
a few blocks over to visit the
luxurious, million dollar plantation
estates - not just homes, but
estates - only here, we could not
walk around inside the homes or
converse with the inhabitants.
Since I was a little girl, I never
understood these depressing excur-
sions and was always resentful to-
wards my father for making me
"see." He made me see the product
of the racially motivated oppression
of the Black community. Until I
saw American Pictures I never un-
derstood why my father wanted me
to see. American Pictures presented
the roots and the origins of oppres-
sion in America and helped me un-
derstand "why." The first half of
the pictures I passively endured.
During the second half, I cried.
The pictures recounted Jacob
Holdt's personal journey through
the American underclass. When Ja-
cob Holdt introduced the pictures,
he said that some of the viewers
would not be able to finish watch-
ing them. He also said that some of
the viewers would run out and get
high after the pictures, which he
said was the liberals' answer to
guilt and oppression. The predic-
tions came true as one by one I
watched the seats around me
empty. Then I heard some self-
proclaimed liberals who I knew
from my residence hall talking
about leaving to drop acid. I asked
them "why?" and they mumbled
something about "hopelessness."
Holdt began his account from the
beginning - slavery.
"Ship Ahoy! Ship Ahoy! Ship
Ahoy!
As far as your eye can see,
Men, women, and baby slaves
Coming to the land of liberty..."
The pictures unwind with a pho-
tograph of a 134-year-old ex-slave.
Smith tells how he was captured in
Africa, crossed the ocean in the
hatch-hole of a ship ruled by white
men, and "was put up on a block
and bid off" in New Orleans.
Holdt to the man: Do you think
the Black man is free today?
Ex-slave Charles Smith: No, he
ain't never been free.
Smith seemed to realize that un-

was a little girl named Linda. "She
had not been subdued in spirit and
body as so many other poor Black
children I had met in the South,"
Holdt explained. After Holdt had
returned from months of traveling
in the Black South, which he said
"was more destructive and
dehumanizing than any other
poverty in the world," he met Linda
and her family. The family lived in
a shack without light and had to
cook their food outside.
In the midst of the ugliness of
poverty, the family survived and
little Linda thrived on love. "That
experience - in the midst of the
world of ugliness - to find love it-
self was so indescribable and
shocking for me that I was totally
overwhelmed," expressed "Holdt.
"For me, Linda was without com-
parison my brightest and most en-
couraging experience in America."
September 28, 1987, the pictures
were shown again. I went to see
them at 6:30 in Rackham Audito-
See Pictures, Page 6

By the Sexual Assault
Prevention and Awareness
Center
Awareness about sexual assault
on campus has increased consider-
ably in the last two years. More than
3,000 students participated in ac-
quaintance rape prevention work-
shops last year alone, more than 400
people attended a "Speak Out" for
sexual assault survivors, men and
women everywhere are wearing "No
Means NO" buttons, more people
are reporting sexual assaults, and
SAFEWALK is alive and working
well with over 150 volunteer
walkers. What happened? Why has
this change occurred?
In part, it can be attributed to the
opening of the University Sexual
Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center (SAPAC). SAPAC, located
in 3100 Michigan Union, has been
open for almost three years now,
and as a result, there is much more
information about the problem of
rape on campus and more ways for
students to get involved in fighting
against sexual assault and sexism.
SAPAC provides workshops,
discussion groups, film series, and
special events like Sexual Assault
Awareness Week in late October in
order to educate everyone about the
problem of sexual assault and what
can be done to stop it.
Last year, more than 130 students
were involved in some aspect of
SAPAC's programming. Students
volunteer their time to help get the
word out about sexual assault, what
can be done to prevent it, ac-
quaintance rape, men's involvement,
and other important topics. Student
volunteers organized canvassing
groups to go door-to-door in student
neighborhoods with information,
produced the SAPAC's newsletter,

"From the Center," planned special
programming for men, put on a
lunch hour discussion series on sex-
ual exploitation, and helped with the
annual "Sexism in Advertising
Contest."
SAPAC also provides confiden-
tial counseling and assistance to
anyone who is sexually assaulted,'or
their friends and/or family members.
This support is free, and available
either by phone or in person. This
fall, SAPAC will be starting a sex-
ual assault crisis line for the univer-
sity community which will operate
24 hours a day for both crisis inter-
vention by phone and in-person.
Why does the University have
such an office as this? Do we have a
huge problem with rape? Should ev-
ery woman lock her door and never
go out? In fact, the University has as
much of a problem with rape as any
other university this size - yes,
they occur, but not in the way that
you might expect. While there are
some rapes by strangers who either
break into homes or strike outside at
night, the vast majority of rapes are
committed by acquaintances. In fact,
90 percent of all rapes on college
campuses are acquaintance rapes and
about half of those are committed on
a date or some other "romantic situ-
ation."
Rape is rape, no matter who the
assailant is - it doesn't matter if its
some "crazy man who hides in .the
bushes" or just the guy who lives
down the hall in the residence hall. It
is still a crime, and it is still a
frightening and horrific experience,
which is why the University set up
SAPAC.
SAPAC believes that in order to
really going to stop rape, we have to
start talking about it and to get peo-
ple (both men and women) to think
about what can be done to stop it.
So if you hear a lot about the sub-
ject, don't get scared - get involved.
To get involved with SAPAC, call
them at 763-5865.

Women: Fight back'.

°'What is American Pictures?," cu-
iosity swept over the University
Xtudent body. This curiosity was
especially profound for first-year
students, like myself, because we
had no idea what to expect. I at-
tended the presentation of
American Pictures in Rackham
Auditorium, where a reporter from
the Daily questioned me during
Ihtermission.
" He asked me, "What do you
think?" A more suitable question to
evoke a measurable response would
have been, "How do you feel?" I
was angered by his question's shal-
Iowness. He told me he had not
seen the first half of the pictures
and had just arrived during in-
fermission. He continued to ques-
don me and I put aside my anger
Ad told him this:
"I believe the pictures were trau-
Afatizing to the Black audience (to
out it lightly) and the white audi-
ence cannot realistically compre-
lhend the magnitude and depth of

The next day, I * read the
American Pictures article in the
Daily and was not disappointed. It
was written as I had expected -
vague and shallow, with little
depth, insight or understanding. In
any case, American Pictures came
and went with little stir except to
the advantaged group that saw the
pictures. A newspaper has
significant power to choose and
shape the agenda for what is
important in a community. The
University community is no ex-
ception.
I thought how I would have writ-
ten the American Pictures story and
what reaction I could evoke from
the community. First, I would have
described the shacks in Your
Hometown, U.S.A. - one-roomed
shells, similar to the shanties on the
diag, except that six member
families live in the shacks in Your
Hometown, U.S.A.
When my family would visit my

By Susan Sherman and
Audrey Haberman
"It is not safe to walk alone at night on this cam-
pus." Often this is one of the first things new women
on campus hear. The effect of such statements is liter-
ally to scare many people out of ever going anywhere
at night. This is an outrage that must be stopped for
several reasons.
For one, this message is not necessarily true, and
for another, this message further victimizes women. In
many ways this message blames women for rape be-
cause it allows people to wonder "what was she doing
out alone anyway?" It implies that all rapes are
avoidable and that "only stupid people get raped."
We believe women have the right to walk whenever
and wherever we choose. Our purpose in writing this is
threefold: to remind women that we can make choices;
to remind everyone that women have the right to em-
power ourselves so that we can walk alone without
fear; and to alert men that they too can play a role in
making our streets safer.
Rape by strangers does occur in Ann Arbor, but it is
important to remember that nine out of ten rapes are
acquaintance rapes and 60 percent of rapes occur in the
home. (FBI Statistics) Nevertheless, women need to be
prepared to handle any potential rape situation. We are
socialized to be passive, agreeable and dependent.

comfortable walking home from a class, a meeting, or
the library. Other nights you may feel tired or you may
have had a couple beers or a bad day, and you may not
feel good about walking alone. Learn to listen to your,
self. You are the best judge of how you are feeling and
whether you want to walk alone or not. Whatever you
choose is okay. Again, women can and do have the
right to make a choice.
Men can also fight against rape by walking on the
other side of the street or by crossing the street when
passing a woman on foot. Men should walk with their
hands outside of their pockets. Off the street, men can
object to sexist jokes made among friends. Such jokes
condone an atmosphere in which violence against
women is considered acceptable.
There are also ways men and women can fight back
together. If you hear screaming or a suspicious noise
on the street, investigate it. If you don't feel comfort-
able doing that alone, you can knock on a neighbor's
door or call campus security or the police for help. You
can also investigate violent actions on the street. You
may not want to interfere but sometimes directing at-
tention to the fight or argument will stop it. Finally, if
you live off campus, use your porch lights as a way bf
keeping the streets and sidewalks better lit.
What we have spoken of so far are personal and
emotional ways of fighting back. There are physical
ways of fighting back as well and we encourage you td

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