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November 15, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-15

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0

OPINION

Page 4

3be itejdaQnan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Tuesday, November 15, 1988
Wald

4

The Michigan Daily

misinformed

Vol. IC, No. 49

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.
Unequal protection

By Marc J. Berman
Alan Wald is severely misinformed.
Wald attacked the Union of Students for
Israel, "The real anti-Semitism," (Daily,
11/9/88) for carrying on "a campaign of
harassment and smears against Professor
Ali Mazrui." This charge is completely
false and libelous.
USI is a pro-Israel student group that
supports Israel as an independent demo-
cratic state and as a valued and trusted ally
of the United States. Its goals are achieved

a LIE. Not only was Mazrui's class not
infiltrated by any USI member but in a
letter to the Daily (10/6/88) the individual
in question identified herself as "not be-
longing to any Jewish organizations."
Furthermore, USI's two meetings since
Mazrui's speech consisted of presentations
on Israel-Diaspora relations and Israeli
elections, respectively. Mazrui was neither
mentioned nor discussed at either meeting.
In fact, the diversity of organizations
and individuals disturbed by Mazrui's
comments indicates that the issue is much

THE CONSTITUTION of the United
States guarantees its citizens equal pro-
tection under the law. For the gay male
and lesbian community of Ann Arbor,
this right has been consistently denied.
This allegation stems mainly from the
manner in which Ann Arbor police
have been handling assaults against gay
men and lesbians that occurred during
the summer, and have continued into
the fall semester.
The Anti-Violence and Discrimi-
nation and Task Force, a group formed
in response to the increase of assaults
against gay men and lesbians, has
gathered details about the assaults, as
well as alleged police mishandling of
the assaults. This group recognizes the
police's history of harassment against
minorities and the economically disen-
franchised. The task force challenges
the police to handle cases of assault
against these groups fairly and compe-
tently and end the harassment that these
groups consistently receive.
Three specific incidents illustrate the
incompetent handling of assaults
against gay men or lesbians by the po-
lice. In one case, a young woman
claimed she was beaten around the face
and verbally abused. One companion
of hers pursued the attacker. A police
officer arrived on the scene and al-
legedly refused to pursue the assailant.
According to the companion, the
officer was persuaded to follow the
assailant. The officer allegedly
proceeded to walk towards the area
where the assailant had been cornered
by the victim's companion. By the time
the officer had arrived at the scene the
assailant had escaped.
Reportedly, the officer further disre-
garded the survivor of the assault by
not offering any medical assistance.
Nor did the officer ask the survivor if
she wanted to file a report, her com-
panion allegedly had to insist that the
police officer take her name. This inac-

inaction and insensitivity is
inexcusable.
In another incident, two men and a
woman claim they were verbally
abused and threatened by i group of
men, near the Union. The abuse cen-
tered around accusations of the three
persons being gay. A police car was
parked nearby, the three victims re-
quested help from the officer. The
officer reportedly claimed that the po-
lice could not offer assistance, because
verbal abuse is not a crime. However,
this is not true. In Ann Arbor, verbal
abuse is a crime. Besides ignoring laws
that police are sworn to enforce, the
officer reportedly did not even offer the
threatened victims a ride to remove
them from a situation of potential vio-
lence.
The police have insensitively handled
assaults against gay men and lesbians.
How could such a police force possibly
provide equal protection under the law?
In another alleged incident, a group
of men and women standing on East
Liberty were shocked one night when a
police car drove slowly past them, and
through the loudspeaker shouted at
them, "Faggots!." This group was not
offered equal protection under the law,
and would suffer at the hands of law
enforcers if assaulted.
Imagine knowing that the institution
that is supposed to protect every indi-
vidual has just verbally abused you and
your friends. The University that you
and your friends attend prefers to sup-
port the CIA and the armed forces in
recruiting on campus even though these
institutions discriminate against mem-
bers of your minority, instead of mak-
ing this university one that states that it
does not discriminate on the basis of
sexual orientation.
Institutional support for the gay
community does not exist. These in-
stitutions must be challenged until all
people, gay and straight, are equally
represented and protected.

I concur that not all those who criticize Israel are anti-Semitic
(read: anti-Jewish); however, those who are anti-Semitic fre-
quently mask their feelings through the more accepted channel
of anti-Israel propaganda.'

experiments really go on," he nonetheless
incorporated this hearsay to conclude that
"the claim is that genetic differences
among Jewish communities, Polish and
Yemini, are smaller than those between
Gentiles and Jews, and that emphasizes the
purity of the Jewish gene."
Mazrui's anti-Semitic overtones have
been reflected on other occasions at the
University. In a lecture given Saturday,
November 4, 1984 that caused similar but
long forgotten uproar, the Ann Arbor
News reported that Mazrui said that
"because Jews wield enormous power in
the United States media, government, and
economy it is easier to criticize the United
States government than Israel." (Ann Ar-
bor News, 10/11/84).
Wald is blind to the fact that this age-
old rhetoric of "Jewish control" of the
media, government, and economy serves
to harbor resentment against Jews and is
the same impetus that drives Neo-Nazis,
the Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists,
various skinheads, and other anti-Semites
to violence.
In conclusion, anti-Semitism must be
exposed for what it truly is - prejudice
against Jews.
Anti-Semitism is more than a swastika
carved on a wall or an outspoken "Jew
hater." Anti-Semitism is an element
within a certain few individuals which can
lurk silently for years, surfacing at the
most remote and opportune instances. Al-
low it a platform and an audience an the
results can be tragic. The results have al-
ready been tragic.
To Alan Wald, libelous and naively ide-
alistic, I propose this is the real battle
against anti-Semitism: its recognition and
exposure.

by uniting the pro-Israel community
(students, faculty, and community mem-
bers) and its presence on campus through
cultural, political, and social program-
ming. Its. methods, however, have never
consisted of an organized effort to intimi-
date or slander Mazrui or any other indi-
vidual.
Wald charges USI with distributing fly-
ers attacking Mazrui. This assertion is a
LIE. USI was not responsible for the fly-
ers which were designed and distributed by
a different organization as reported in the
Daily (10/4/88).
Wald further alleges that a USI member
"made statements in Mazrui's class declar-
ing him 'anti-Semitic."' This assertion is
Marc J. Berman is an LSA senior in
Economics.

more complicated than Wald realizes.
I concur that not all those who criticize
Israel are anti-Semitic (read: anti-Jewish);
however, those who are anti-Semitic fre-
quently mask their feelings through the
more accepted channel of anti-Israel
propaganda.
I did not agree with Mazrui's anti-Israel
tirade but political opinions are respected
in the United States and at this university;
anti-Semitism and racism are not. Thus, I
did not morally object to Mazrui's politi-
cal beliefs but took offense to those views
that contained anti-Semitic elements and
to statements not worthy of an academic
professor in an academic forum.
In his Sept. 22 lecture, Mazrui referred
to "genetic experiments at Tel Aviv Uni-
versity." Although he admitted that "I re-
ally haven't checked whether such genetic

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Trend bodes badly

LAST THURSDAY, conveniently two
days after the election, President Rea-
gan asked the Supreme Court to review
their 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Under the decision as it now stands,
states may not make laws restricting
abortion. Twice now, when such a
case has come before the Supreme
Court, Reagan has asked them to con-
sider repealing or limiting the Roe v.
Wade ruling. These repeated requests
exemplify the continuous pressure the
courts are under from anti-choice ac-
tivists.
The anti-choice movement has been
trying in two ways to erode women's
access to abortion, both of which suc-
ceeded in this election. Proposals like
Michigan's Proposal A, which denies
poor women Medicaid-funding for
abortion, passed in three states and the
attempts to have courts outlaw abortion
were given terrifying momentum by the
election of George Bush.

In 1986, when Reagan first chal-
lenged Roe v. Wade, the Court upheld
the previous ruling 5-4. However,
many of the Supreme Court justices are
nearing retirement, providing Bush
with the opportunity to appoint four
new justices. Three of the four most
likely to retire from the bench in the
next four years are also three of the
Court's most liberal justices: Harry
Blackmun, William Brennan, and
Thurgood Marshall.
Bush, who has modified his views
on abortion to conform to the Republi-
can party's increasingly hard-line, anti-
choice stance, is sure to appoint anti-
choice justices. He might only need to
appoint one more to overturn Roe v.
Wade the next time it comes up for re-
view.
This far-reaching judicial powe
threatens women's right to choose an
abortion and unfortunately only mirrors
a national trend to pass proposals re-
stricting abortion.

Mandatory
classes
dangerous
To the Daily:
This letter is in response to
the editorial entitled "Make
course required" (Daily,
11/1/88). In this editorial, it is
asserted "Racism is a
significant phenomena (sic) in
society and the University, and
this course will increase
student understanding of the
issue. The (proposed
mandatory) course is essential
to any liberal arts
education...unless it (the LSA
curriculum committee)
approves the course as a
requirement for all
undergraduates, the class will
be nothing but another
ineffective token gesture. The
course must be mandatory. If
the course is optional, it is
unlikely that the 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 educated about racism
and other cultures."
I disagree with the proposal
that such a class be made
mandatory. Why should such a
class be placed above other
classes in this way? The
argument that comes back to
me is that the subject it covers
(racibm) is a serious, urgent,
and timely subject which needs
to be addressed. I do not doubt
that these assertions are true,
that racism is a significant
phenomenon, or that a class
concerning it would help
people understand it better.
What I do doubt is its special
placement above other
concerns. I am a history major,
and I firmly believe that to
understand the makeup of the
world today, one must know

chemistry, and she feels that a
grounding in the sciences,
especially chemistry, is key to
a good grounding in life.
Another friend feels that the
learning processes one learns in
a math class are invaluable.
Yet, if one takes the Pattern I
distribution (which most
people do), one does not have
to take any history or
chemistry at all, merely some
"social science" or "natural
science" courses. Furthermore,
under this pattern, no math
whatsoever is required. Why
should some people's very
valid concern about racism be
elevated to mandatory status,
while other people's equally
valid concerns still remain very
much optional?
I do not believe the fact that
a class is an ineffective token
gesture merely because it is
optional. If that is true, all my
various history, math, and
chemistry instructors' efforts
have been "ineffective token
gestures" because none were
specifically mandatory. I
simply do not believe this, and
I find this argument spurious.
It is true that some of the
people who most need a racism
course would probably avoid it
if were optional, the same way
that some people who need a
math course avoid them or
some who need a history class
avoid them.
An "essential liberal arts
education" is a noble goal; in
fact, it is one to which I aspire.
Yet, this education requires
more than one can fit into a
four-year program. Ideally, it
should include a firm
grounding, if not a thorough
knowledge, in each of LSA's
departments and programs.
This, however, is simply not
workable - it should be a life
goal, not a goal for four years.
The path towards mandatory
classes is a danerons one. for

statements as, "Students should
not have the luxury of
choosing whether or not to be
educated about racism and other
cultures." Why should they
have such luxury about such
pressing issues as history,,
political structures, or modern
economics? A university
education is, at its finest, true,
unfettered learning in action.
Let us look to this goal before
decreeing what "luxuries" a
student does and does not have
concerning their education.
- Chris Bradley
November 1
Suspect
sketches
misused
To the Daily:
There has been a lot of talk
about the Daily's recent publi-
cation of composite drawings
of a suspected rapist. For the
most part it has been just talk;
no one has really addressed the
central issue here that has
caused the protest. Composites
are helpful when they are pre-
sented correctly, but they can
be very damaging when they
aren't. I will try to show that
this is how the Daily and the
police erred, leading to the
November 3rd protest of the
Daily.
Everyone who is reading this
letter put yourself in the place
of a young woman on this
campus. You have been hear-
iug a lot about rapes lately and
naturally you are concerned.
The Daily prints two compos-
ites claiming they are of the
same person. Now you know
that there is a Black rapist in
our midst, but you have two
completely different compos-
ites of the rapist. Which means
you have essentially no idea of
what this person looks like. So

supplying of "tainted"
information can lead others to
fostering and believing in
stereotypes. This has been
known for ages. Hitler's
propaganda is a well-known
example. In no way am I say-
ing that this was the intention,
because I don't believe it was.
The police erred in providing
these composites and saying
they represented the same per-
son, which is obviously not
true. So, in essence, the police
are indeed fostering the myth
that all Black men are rapists.
The Daily erred in not being
able to see the damage that
would be caused by the publi-
cation of these pictures, even
though their intentions were
good.
To tell a young woman that
there is a rapist out there who
may be Black or white without
giving-her an accurate descrip-
tion of the criminal may cause
that woman to create an aver-
sion for every man in that par-
ticular race. Wouldn't it have
been much better to say that
there are two possible suspects
for the crime?
-Danny Peterson
November 10
Celebrate
The General. Union of
Palestinian Students is
holding a celebration of
the Declaration of
Independence for the
Occupied Territories. To-
day will be marked by
major commemorations
both inside and outside of
Palestine. The struggle is
at a critical juncture, and
the need for international
solidarity has never been
greater. A rally and a
march will begin on the
steps of the Michigan
Union at 11:30 a.m. fol-
inun-iA I.., £laalra.re at 1-nn

Hurricane Relief

LANNArborites will have a chance to
contribute to the hurricane relief ef-
forts in Nicaragua tonight by at-
tending a benefit party at the Michi-
gan Union. Proceeds of this week's
Reggae Night beginning at 9 p.m.,
will be channelled through Oxfam

of Hurricane Gilbert this fall,
Nicaragua won't get a dime from the
U.S. government.
Instead, U.S.-backed contras have
launched a series of attacks on civil-
ians and hurricane relief efforts in
recent weeks. On Oct. 29, contras

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