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January 06, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-01-06

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OPINION
Page 4 Friday, January 6, 1989 The Michigan Daily

*,

be dt iviichiganU
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Misguided

criticism

1",

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No. 69

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.

More U.S. aggression

HE DOWNING of two Libyan
fighters by U.S. warplanes yesterday
was the latest in a series of U.S. ac-
tions beginning in 1981 intended to in-
timidate and disrupt the Libyan gov-
erment and continue a U.S "cops on
the beat" policy in the middle east. In
the words of Defense Secretary Car-
lucci this latest act is, "nothing out of
the ordinary."
In March of 1986, the U.S. de-
stroyed two Libyan military patrol
boats miles off the coast of Libya,
claiming the boats had displayed
";hostile intentions" toward the Fleet.
The U.S. attack came after Secretary
Shultz announced that the U.S. would
not wait for proof of Libyan connec-
tions in two airport bombings in Rome
and Vienna, and must punish the
Libyans irrespective of necessary evi-
dence.
Similarly, at the time of the U.S.
bombing of Tripoli months later, U.S.
intelligence acknowledged the lack of
any substantial evidence linking Libya
to the West Berlin discotheque bomb-
ing. In fact, the Washington Post ob-
ained months ater a memo from John
Poindexter that concluded U.S. intelli-
gence regarded Qaddafi's terrorist ap-
paratus at the time as "quiescent"
08/25/86). The Reagan Administration
justified the bombing of Libya's capital
on the grounds that it had "conclusive
evidence" the discotheque bombing
was the work of Libya. It is now
openly admitted by U.S. intelligence
that the claim was fraudulent.
; Directly after the raid on Tripoli,
U.S. State Department Spokesperson
Bernard Kalb resigned over what he
palled a Reagan Administration
1'disinformation program" against
hibyan President Muammar Qaddafi.
The current Reagan Administration
$sinformation campaign against Libya
ipgarding an alleged chemical weapons
e
Eco Iogis
1HE SLAYING OF primatologist Dian
0ossey in the mists of the Rwandan
fountains became the plot of a recent
ppular movie. Three days before
Christmas, a Brazilian ecologist and
Union leader met a similar fate in the
Angles of Rondonia.
, Francisco Mendes Filho was gunned
down outside his home less than two
Leeks after he warned in a newspaper
itfterview that local cattle ranchers had
taen a contract out on his life.
nMeanwhile, the destruction of the
in forest he died attempting to protect
dontinues at a rate of one football field
every second.
The violent death of an ecologist at
',the hands of unscrupulous landowners
,has played out well in the U.S. media.
: New York Times columnist Tom
Wicker, for example, writes,
::"Francisco Mendes... fought not only
:the rubber tappers' battle but the whole
:planet's." -
a But before a Hollywood scriptwriter
b1nonizes Mendes as another ecological
artyr, the larger forces behind his
ath need to be examined more
osely.
Mendes challenged the underlying
economic, political and legal structures
:that transform Third World rain forests
into export-producing cattle ranches.
More than just a conservationist
"concerned" about deforestation,

Mendes used ecological issues as a tool
for political organizing. As a union
leader, he organized thousands of tra-
ditional rubber tappers and nut gather-
ers who depend on the rain forest for

plant is likewise "nothing out of the
ordinary." The U.S.'s "grave concern"
over the alleged weapons plant is re-
markable considering its own standing
as the world's largest chemical
weapons producer and supplier. In
fact, a new plant has recently begun
production in Utah while the Univer-
sity of Michigan continues to serve as a
center for research in the use of chemi-
cal blistering agents.
The latest act of U.S. aggression
against Libya comes after an an-
nouncement from the Reagan Admin-
istration that a Libyan chemical plant
was being targeted for destruction.
Using Reagan Administration logic, it
is now open season on U.S. chemical
production facilities as their existence
threatens the security of sovereign na-
tions.
These facts seem to escape attention
in the mainstream media where discus-
sion of the matter is framed in its usual
context: the benevolent and peace
seeking U.S. versus the "mad dogs" of
the middle east. In light of the history
of U.S. aggression against Libya, it is
ludicrous to assert Libya has no right to
patrol its own borders from U.S.
fighters. It is in fact not "hostile" action
but rather is standard and legitimate
tactical procedure.
The U.S. has historically justified
unsolicited aggressive action through
anti-terrorist rhetoric. Because Qaddafi
has refused to obey U.S. dictates in the
region and because he remains virtually
powerless against U.S. military initia-
tives in the region, he serves as an easy
target and an example to those who
stray from a U.S.-imposed agenda.
This latest act also reflects the prefer-
ence for conflict the Reagan Adminis-
tration has demonstrated in the past
eight years as opposed to peaceful ne-
gotiation.
;ts at risk
convictions are targeted for persecution
all over the world. In Brazil's Rondo-
nia - developed with the help of U.S.
dollars - 14 Tukano Indians were
shot to death this year along with six
other of Mendes' union associates
fighting to keep the bulldozers out of
the jungle.
In Nicaragua, more than 50 envi-
ronmental workers employed by the
government have been killed by the
contras.
In Borneo, Penan tribespeople have
been blockading logging activities in
their rain forest home for almost two
years. Scores have been arrested and
imprisoned without due process under
a declared state of emergency. Those
swept up in a 1987 dragnet included
Malaysian ecologists who had been
outspoken on the issues of radioactive
waste dumping in Penan tribal forests.
And here in the United States, a
coalition of logging companies has
launched a new surveillance program
directed against people attempting to
prevent logging in Oregon's wilderness
areas. Working closely with local law
enforcement agents, PEST (Prevent
Environmental Sabotage Today) will
also offer rewards for information
about individuals who damage logging
equipment or close logging roads.
Even closer to home, 19 environ-
mental activists were arrested last May
at the construction site of the Detroit

incinerator. Receiving almost no media
attention, the group was recently ac-
quitted after a seven-day jury trial by
arguing that the environmental threat

By Mary Jackman
I feel compelled to express my reactions
to the article published anonymously on
the Daily's Opinion page on Monday,
December 12 ("Prof's words offensive").
Two serious issues motivate my letter.
First, I must express my dismay at the
allegations made in the article against
Professor Reynolds Farley. I cannot
reconcile these allegations with my own
knowledge of Reynolds Farley as a col-
league in the Sociology Department. As a
woman who joined this University as a
young assistant professor in 1973, I have
certainly had my share of unpleasant and
offensive experiences over the years, but
Reynolds Farley is someone whom I
quickly learned I could trust to treat me
with complete respect. Indeed in faculty
discussions on a variety departmental
matters over the years, Reynolds Farley
has always displayed a personal and pro-
fessional integrity that I have regarded as
exemplary. In addition, Reynolds Farley's
total body of research has been devoted to
an understanding of racial inequality and
racial discrimination. I see him as some-
one who has been motivated by an endur-
ing commitment to help resolve this pro-
found social problem.
I attended a meeting with Professor Far-
ley, some students from Sociology 303,
and other interested parties on Wednesday
evening, December 14. At that meeting,
some students explained that the shocking
statements that appeared at the beginning
of the December 12 article about Sociol-
ogy 303 were not intended as literal quotes
from Professor Farley. Some also said that
Professor Farley's intentions were not be-
Mary R. Jackman is a professor of So-
ciology at the university of Michigan.

ing challenged: rather, they were concerned
about what they believed to be the impact
of some of the lecture material on some
students in the class. Unfortunately, the
wording of the article itself would lead the
reader to draw a much more negative im-
age of Reynolds Farley's behavior in the
classroom, and it is distressing to reflect
on the instant defamation that is brought
about by a few ill-considered words in a
hastily written article. It is particularly
distressing because the sentiments that
were thus attributed to Reynolds Farley are
dramatically at odds with the values that
he has stood for all the time I have known

the community are guaranteed the same
rights. For these reasons, I feel that, no
matter how ill-considered the December 12
article in the Daily may have been, the is-
sues that surround it are too laden with
significance to be dismissed.
As we attempt to resolve these difficult
and profound issues, we must all reaffirm
the rights of both students and faculty to
express their views freely and openly,
without fear of ridicule, harassment, or
defamation. In that spirit, I urge the stu-
dents involved in this case, as well as
other students who have any concerns or
discomfort about how the topics of race,

0

'I feel that, no matter how ill-considered the December 12
article in the Daily may have been, the issues that surround it
are too laden with significance to be dismissed.'

him.
A second issue motivates me to write
this letter. I am acutely aware of the diffi-
culties that women and minorities face as
they try to negotiate their way through an
institution in which they have historically
not been included. I have also been deeply
troubled by the racial incidents that have
occurred on this campus and I have worried
about their destructive impact on the qual-
ity of life at the University of Michigan.
The injuries that Blacks have suffered from
these incidents, both directly and indi-
rectly, have infringed on their most fun-
damental civil rights on campus, denying
them the same rights as other students to
participate in this community as free
equals. In this, we are all losers, because it
is impossible to foster a free and open
academic climate unless all members of

ethnicity, or gender are addressed in the
classroom, to express their opinions di-
rectly to the pertinent instructor or de-
partment.
To provide a forum for discussion, this
past fall the Sociology Department estab-
lished a Task Force on Diversity and Dis-
crimination (composed of faculty and stu-
dents). We would much appreciate the in-
put of concerned students on the issue of
how race, ethnicity, and gender should be
addressed in the classroom. Students with
an interest in contributing to our discus-
sions should leave a message with the
Sociology Chair's secretary, Karen Gibson,
(telephone 764-5554). Either I or another
member of the Task Force will be in
touch with you to arrange a meeting so
that we can benefit from your perceptions
and views.

Dept.

By the Executive Committee
of the Department of
Sociology
We are deeply distressed and concerned
about the article published on the opinion
page of the Daily by twenty five concerned
students in Sociology 303, entitled, "Profs
Words Offensive." (Daily, 12/12/88). We
recognize and encourage student feedback
regarding teaching in Sociology and share
the writers' goals of ensuring a non-racist
and non-sexist environment and education
at Michigan. We think, however, that the
article has inhibited rather than advanced
these goals. In both its content and the
process through which it appeared the
article unfairly violates the integrity of
Professor Reynolds Farley and canons of
due process and free and constructive dis-
course in an academic, or any other, com-
munity.
The Daily article was published on De-
cember 12, one week after the students had
first communicated in writing their con-
cerns about the teaching of Sociology 303
to Professor Farley. The article portrayed
Professor Farley as racist and sexist and
declared him not qualified to continue
teaching the course. Professor Farley had
agreed to meet with them on December 14
Members of the Executive Department
of Sociology: Barbara A. Anderson, Renee
Anspach, Jeffery M. Paige, Martin K.
Whyte, Matthew S. Kinney, James S.
House (ex officio), Donald R. Deskins, Jr.
(ex officio)

defe'ndE
to discuss their concerns. The concerns
were also expressed for the first time to
the Chair of the Department of Sociology,
James House, on December 9. Professor
House agreed to attend the meeting on
December 14. Thus, the article was pub-
lished before hearing Professor Farley's
response to student accusations and con-
cerns.
We strongly affirm our support of Pro-
fessor Reynolds Farley's right and compe-
tence to teach in the areas of his scholarly
expertise. Professor Farley has been for
decades an outstanding scholar of the his-
tory and demography of racial and ethnic
groups in America. For example, he has
received the Sidney Spivak award for re-
search on racial issues, he has served as
senior research consultant for the National
Academy of Science's Committee on the
Status of Black Americans, and he has
been elected to the presidency of the
Population Association of America.
Professor Farley has also for decades
been an effective teacher of increasingly
larger classes on the history and demogra-
phy of racial and ethnic groups in Amer-
ica. This is the first time any significant
dissatisfaction about his teaching has been
expressed to our Department. Ironically,
this has occurred in a semester in which
the course was increased from three to four
credits to allow the addition of discussion
sections - changes initiated by Professor
Farley in response to his sense that more
time was needed to discuss increasingly
complicated and controversial issues.;
We affirm the responsibility of the De- ,

prof

partment of Sociology to teach effectively,
fairly, and sensitively, and the right of
concerns and to have them heard and re-
sponded to by our faculty and the Depart-
ment. We recognize the lack of clearly es-
tablished University procedures for dealing
with such problems, and will seek clarifi-
cation of these. The Department of Soci-
ology has been developing mechanisms to
increase the responsiveness and sensitivity
of faculty members and the Department
generally to issues of discrimination and
diversity. We have also been working to
improve our curriculum in race and
ethnicity, and other areas. Concerned stt-
dents have already been involved in this
process, and vie continue to seek involve-
ment of other concerned students and fac-
ulty in cooperative efforts to further im-
prove in these areas. To that end, we have
invited representatives of the Concerned
Students in Sociology 303 and of Sociol-
ogists of Color to meet with us during the
first full week of classes of the Winter

0

Term.
We strongly affirm, however, the right
of faculty to teach freely and openly in ar-,
eas of their competence, without fear of
vilification in the press, especially before
other channels and procedures for reporting
and dealing with student concerns have
been given sufficient time to work. We
think that the decision to seek publication
of such accusations (before using available
avenues for discussion between the parties
involved) will have a chilling effect on
efforts both to maintain academic freedom
and to promote a non-racist and non-sexist*
climate in the University.

303

By Starry Hodge
Sociology 303, which was a ch
had last Fall term, offended me ve
I am offended because the class w
from a racist and sexist point o
feel that Professor Reynolds Farl
insensitive to the issues of race
and sexism. Many negative stere
Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Nativ
cans and women were reinforce
class, and I am deeply affected a
woman!
Many other students have been
by some of the comments n

offends s
these two men were important to the
Black Power Movement, the Black race,
ass that I Black Nationalism, or to mention any so-
,ry much. ciological importance of these two people
'as taught in history. When someone asked Farley
f view. I what Black Nationalism was, he said that
ey is very it meant "Go Back to Africa." Apparently,
e, racism Farley doesn't know anything about Black
otypes of Nationalism. In fact, Farley didn't say
e Ameri- anything positive about these two Black
d in this leaders or any other Black leaders except
s a Black for Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther
King Jr., and W.E.B. DuBois.
aoffended Farley also excluded Black women abo-
nade by ,.....

tudent
over their communities, which is one of
the essences of Black Nationalism and
Black- Power. Malcolm X also stressed
that it was important for Blacks to deter-
mine their own destinies and future. Mar-
cus Garvey developed the Universal Negro
Improvement Association which teaches
race self-help and self-reliance. Garvey also
advocated Pan-Africanism and he called for
race pride.
I don't know if Farley reinforced nega-
tive stereotypes intentionally or uninten-
tionally, but the issue is that he has indeeda
offended many students. The qualification

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