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December 06, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-12-06

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4

OPINIoN
Tuesday, December 6, 1988

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

4

E[ie gdu ive r aif
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Stop silencing women

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No.62

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.

Emphasize AIDS

THE NATIONAL movement for in-
creased research and education regard-
ing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syn-
drome (AIDS), has prompted the Les-
bian and Gay Rights Organizing Com-
mittee (LaGROC) to urge the Univer-
sity to make more substantive efforts to
fight AIDS and its social ramifications.
Experts estimate that over 1 million
people in the U.S. alone are infected
with the HIV (Human Immunodefi-
ciency Virus), a virus which can lead to
AIDS. And AIDS and HIV virus have
also been spreading throughout the
world. Africa has been hit especially
hard, due both to the poverty and inad-
equate medical facilities left in the wake
of imperialism and the historical acci-
dent that the virus originated there.
AIDS is not a disease exclusive to
homosexuals and drug-users. Students
ate also at risk as indicated by the fact
tilat 1 in 300 college students in the
UAS. are infected with HIV virus
(according to Centers for Disease Con-
trol estimates). At this time, it is be-
lieved that many of those who are HIV
infected, particularly with the virus
LIV-I, will eventually develop AIDS.
A grave danger is that the symptoms
nay not appear for several years after
inifection. This incubation period indi-
cates that the AIDS problem will only
worsen in the next few years.
The stigmas attached to AIDS have
allowed the government and medical
industry to downplay and even cover
up the crisis for many years, and are
used to justify a weak and bigoted re-
sponse even today. AIDS has hit the
Black and Latino communities twice as
hard as it has to whites, proportional to
their population, showing once again
the systematic racism which denies mi-
norities access to decent health care and
preventative education.
But just because it is a disease that
disproportionately affects the gay
community or non-whites is no reason
to deny adequate medical care, jobs,
and health insurance.
What is the University doing about
it? This is the question asked by La-
GROC. LaGROC points out that the
University has the educational and
technological resources to make a
positive impact on the AIDS crisis on
local, national and international scales.
However most of the little AIDS
research conducted at the University
comes from government grants and not
from the University itself. The
University can change this by funding
and attracting more research, providing

support services and coordinating
massive educational campaigns.
The Daily supports the demands is-
sued by LaGROC. They stipulate that
the University:
-Provide full disclosure of University
research, policies, services, treatments,
and budgets concerning AIDS/HIV in-
fection and publish bi-annual progress
reports. Presently a comprehensive
budget report of AIDS-related research
is unavailable.
-Provide massive funding for AIDS
research, treatment and support ser-
vices under the control of health care
workers, clients and the groups most
affected (including the gay male and
lesbian, Black and Latino communi-
ties). This would be an increase in both
government and University appropria-
tions.
-Construct or convert a suitable Uni-
versity facility to an AIDS treatment
center controlled by health care work-
ers, clients and the communities most
affected. We suggest the MedInn, the
section of Old Main presently serving
as a hotel for patients who need to stay
close to the University medical facili-
ties.
-Take a leadership role in coordina-
tion of public health resources of higher
education institutions to combat AIDS
in Africa.
-End possible discrimination against
workers and students ,with AIDS/HIV
infection.
-Provide complete health care bene-
fits, fully paid by the University, for all
students and workers, and their depen-
dents and significant others, including
those with AIDS/HIV infection. In-
clude Aerosol Pentamadine and all
other experimental drugs as University-
paid benefits.
-Provide full disability leave for
workers with AIDS/HIV infection, at
the worker's request.
-Ensure adequate hospital staffing to
provide safety for health care workers
and patients. Stop the layoffs and
speed-up which jeopardizes this safety.
The hospital is supposedly laying-off
200 workers this year, but not decreas-
ing the amount of labor. This logically
would hurt the quality of patient care
available.
Support the fight for action on AIDS
now. Attend the LaGROC demonstra-
tion which begins on the Diag at noon
tomorrow, followed by a march and
picket at the University hospital. Stu-
dents and workers have a right to de-
mand a University which operates for
the benefit of the mass of people.

By Rebecca Novick
In Washington last summer, amid
crowds of Civil Rights marchers, I lis-
tened to Jesse Jackson lead the crowd
chanting, "Keep hope alive! Keep hope
alive!"
"The Kennedys looked out from the
White House and saw us speak on these
steps," said Jackson, "and now Mr. Rea-
gan is watching us from the White House.
But some day, some day soon, we're go-
ing to be speaking from the White
House."
We cheered him then because he had
rekindled hope. But it wasn't until this
Thanksgiving that I really thought about
the thousands of silenced voices included
in Jackson's 'we,' the thousands for whom
he hopes to speak.
There is a moment in my family's
Thanksgiving dinner when we go around
the table and each say what we are thank-
ful for. This is usually the signal for a
great deal of sentiment about how lucky
we are to live in America where we are
free; free to speak, write, and think what
we please.
My family around the dinner table and
the civil rights marchers have a great deal
in common. Both are mostly rich, mostly
white, and both, watching a Black man
speak from the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial, indulge in a certain euphoria
about American freedoms.
Perhaps some day Jesse Jackson will
speak from the White House, and perhaps
he will speak for more of the people than
George Bush or John Kennedy. He is a
voice from the silent "we" which has
never spoken from the White House or
anywhere else. But there are thousands of
other silenced voices for whom no politi-
cian can ever speak. I do not know when
Jackson's "we" will be able to include all
these.
Three weeks ago, Andrea Dworkin,
talking about pornography, reminded the
crowd that the majority of women pub-
Rebecca Novick is an Opinion Page
staff member.

lished in America are published naked,
bound and gagged. We hear nothing but an
echoing silence from the thousands of
women who are featured in porn movies
and magazines, or who prostitute them-
selves in an industry controlled by male
pimps. The only expression allowed these
women is to twist their bodies into shapes
dictated by men, for other men's amuse-
ment.
The subtler oppression of language si-
lences many other women. In Japanese,
there is a formalized distinction between
"men's language" and "women's lan-
guage." This distinction exists also in
English. The same restrictions and expec-
tations which have historically circum-
scribed and limited women's actions, con-
fine their words.
Recent studies show that, in class, men
make comments whereas women phrase
their observations as questions. In parlia-
mentary-style meetings, men make

be like to grow up with no role-models
except maybe Joan of Arc and Florence
Nightingale.
As I learned it, history is the story of
men's political struggles over which man
or combination of men would rule the rest
of humanity. The very Constitution which
proclaims "free speech," was written by a
group of white upper-middle class men
who held that all men were created equal. I
want to share their struggle for freedom,
but it is only when I read Abigail Adam's
letters to John that I can connect to that
period of history.
Last Friday, I heard Barbara Ransby
speak about the role of women in the
Civil Rights movement. She explained
how women began and organized the
Montgomery bus boycott, and how
women housed the freedom riders, taking
turns sitting on the front porch with a
shotgun to guard against the Klan. They
were called the "Mamas of the Move-

4

'We hear nothing but an echoing silence from the thousands
of women who are featured in porn movies and magazines, or

4

who prostitute themselves in an
pimps.'

industry controlled by male

amendments to proposals while women
make suggestions. Women's speech is
less confrontational and much more diffi-
dent.
Women's writings too are discounted or
trivialized. "You can have a men's novel
with no women in it...," writes Margaret
Atwood, "but you can't have a women's
novel with no men in it." Women's writ-
ings about themselves are not considered
relevant or important. In the last 85 years,
only four women have won the .Nobel
Prize for Literature.
The voices of history are overwhelm-
ingly masculine. Children are not taught
about the women who have shaped our
history. I wonder if the thousands of boys
who grew up wanting to be presidents like
Roosevelt or Kennedy, or soldiers like
Nelson or Patton, or peacemakers like
Ghandi or King, or writers like Dickens or
Hemingway, can conceive what it would

ment;" I only knew about the Kings.
It is vital to fill these gaps - to recog-
nize the women who have played a part in
history, have contributed immeasurably to
the events that shape our world. Each time
I fill a gap, I feel more empowered, more
able, as a woman, to speak and to demand
to be heard.
It is for these reasons that I must doubt
the universality of Jesse Jackson's "we,"
just as I doubt. the universality of the
Constitution. Thousands of women have
been silenced by pornography, by poverty,
by socialized docility, or by the very
structure of the language they speak. We
speak often of the feminization of poverty;
there has been a feminization of silence.
This holiday season, instead of merely
appreciating the freedoms which have been
gained, I would remember those whom
freedom has bypassed. We must find a way
to amplify the silent echos in Jesse Jack-
son's "we."

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.40

Exploiting
women of
color
To the Daily:
Women have always been ex-
ploited by men. This exploitation
has taken many forms: denying
women the right to vote, the
right to own property, and
forbidding them to speak or voice
opinions in public. This ex-
ploitation is reinforced by a very
subtle form of conditioning. By
using television and radio, men
are able to condition the public
into accepting the role that men
have chosen for women. Com-
mercials, beauty pageants,.
movies, and news all contribute
to the view that women should
be viewed as things to possess.
Women of color are exploited
by the media in a way that white
women are not. The media en-
hances racial stereotypes when
dealing with women of color.
In the television show, "Give
Me a Break," the character, Nel,
is portrayed in the classic
"Mami" role. Black women car-
ing for white families. Movies
like "Gone with the Wind," and
"North and South," portray Black
women as women who would
betray their own families and race
for their "adopted" white families.
These women are so grateful to
their white family for allowing
them to be their slave that they
often give their lives for them.
In the movie, "She's Gotta
Have It," the Black woman is
portrayed as being sexually liber-
ated. The woman in the movie is
clearly not liberated from sexual
needs. The title itself suggests
just the opposite: she's gotta
have it! She cannot live without
it. Her dependence on sex and
men can. in no way, be inter-

is a division of "light-skinned"
and "dark-skinned." Now the
whole world thinks that such a
thing exists.
The situations in these exam-
ples do occur in life, but they are
independent. These occurrences
cannot be generalized for an entire
race. Young minds are very sus-
ceptible to these types of misin-
formation. If a young mind or an
unfamiliar. mind always has the
same image of Black women be-
ing negatively and falsely por-
trayed, they will eventually see
this portrayal as a fact. Black
women and all women have an
obligation to themselves and
their posterity never to act in, or
view these or any types of ex-
ploitation of women. Passive ac-
ceptance is the same as encour-
agement for men to continue to
exploit and degrade women.
-Lori Bishop
December 4
Preserve
student
dignity
To the Daily:
Recently, a racist anti-Arab
slogan was displayed on a con-
structed bus on the Diag. This
act of racism, which was done
in the daylight and at the center
of the University campus, was
not done by an individual or
anonymous person but rather
by a recognized student group
named "Tagar." The slogan,
"stop Arab terrorism," accused
more than 160 million Arabs
around the World of being born
terrorists. This line of thinking
is parallel to assuming that all
Americans are child abusers or
that all rapists are Blacks or
that all Germans are Nazis.
This racist act not only of-
C_ a_ aL L__. . _A _P A .

tion. This will discourage any
other non-mature groups from
hurting the integrity and the
reputation of this fine institu-
tion. In addition, the Michigan
Student Assembly must, not
only condemn such an act but
also ban this group from oper-
ating on this campus. This ban
can preserve the dignity of ev-
ery student and keep the hon-
esty and freedom of the politi-
cal debate on this campus
alive.
-Ibrahim Elshunnar
Zine E. A. Ben-Aoun
November 21
A ~chance
to listen
To the Daily:
Sometime in the future, this
November's meeting of the
Palestine National Council
will occupy a paragraph or two
in Arab, Israeli and American
history texts; texts which I
hope my children will be read-
ing. But given the U.S. and
Israeli response to the de facto
recognition of Israel's right to
exist, I am not sure whether
those texts will discuss tri-
umph or tragedy. The Ameri-
can government has decided to
ignore the declaration and has
attempted to prevent one of its
architects from explaining it to
an international body. This ac-
tion undercuts hopes for peace
in the region with little interest
in what Palestinian aspirations
for peace mean.
Where our government
feigns deafness, we should not
follow suit. Dr. Ibrahim Abu-
Lughod, another architect of
the PNC declaration and a
member of that body, will
speak on "The Intifada, the
Palestine National Council,
ant Prnnert cfnr Peace in

music
review just
space filler
To the Daily:
In the last two days I read
two Daily album reviews. One
was a brilliant analytical re-
view and one was an abortion.
The review was done by
Michael Paul Fischer on
REM's Green Fischer attempts
to understand REM through
their music and analyze the
implications of the direction
they seem to be taking on their
new album. Fischer's review is
full of imagery and thoughtful
comparison that succeeds in
conveying the feel of Green -
one is able to decide for oneself
if the record is worthwhile.
In light of such fine journal-
ism, it is even harder to deal
with Emily Porter's review of
BAD's Tighten Up Vol. '88.
Her "review" lacks the imagery
and information found in Fis-
cher's, instead taking cheap
shots at Jones to get a laugh or
sound authoritative or just to
fill up space - I don't really $
know, but the point is,
shouldn't an album review be a
bit more substantial than "It
can be more adequately de-
scribed as slick '80's disco --
every song sounds exactly the
same as the one preceding it."
That is all Emily has to say
about the music and it is about
as imaginative and descriptive
as an accounting major. Fur-
thermore, she obviously knows
nothing about the Clash (as
Michael clearly knew about
REM) as demonstrated in her
equation, Mick Jones = "Train
in Vain" and all songs real
Clash fans are supposed to
hate. Mick Jones wrote the

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