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January 24, 1989 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-01-24

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Tuesday, January 24, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Doily





By Celia Peters
The recent observance of the birthday of
Martin Luther King should serve as a
catalyst to change, rather than a compla-
cent celebration. The failure of America to
realize Dr. King's true dream cannot be
doubted. In this country where the Black
man is indeed public enemy number one
and the the Black woman remains the un-
sung heroine of cultural strength, far from
realizing equality and promoting integra-
tion, every attempt has been made to pre-
vent Black Americans from recognizing
their own inherent equality and taking
what is theirs.
So, far from being soothed by the nau-
seating platitudes and praises put forth by
white Americans who would like to hide
their own treachery, Black America must
learn its own lesson from Dr. King's
legacy. Martin Luther King, more so than
any Black leader in recent history, sought
equality through integration; that is to
say, he sought an alliance with the white
American to free his people. It is obvious
where this led him. After killing Dr.
King, white America now (21 years later)
rushes to recognize and revere him, thus
providing an effective distraction from a
distinctly Black economic, political, and
social realization, carried from Turner to
Garvey to Malcom X, among many oth-
ers, a realization which would urge Blacks
toward true (collective) self-determinism as
opposed to Black individualism as a means
Celia Peters is an LSA senior

of survival in post-King America.
What America has realized is a desecra-
tion of Dr. King's dream. Integration is an
obvious reality, but equality? Just as it
certainly would be gross injustice to dis-
miss or in any way denigrate the accom-
plishments of Dr. King, also would it be
gross injustice and extreme foolhardiness-
to distort the conditions of the society in
which we currently live. If white America
would depart from its characteristic cow-
ardly deceit and acknowledge the racism on
which this country was built
(economically), and on which it currently
thrives (economically), perhaps then
effective negotiations between the races
could be possible could be possible.
At the same time, if the burgeoning
ranks of the Black middle class and politi-
cally moderate Black America would blind
themselves to political labels and trickery
instead of believing in and relying upon
the sociological excuses put forth by
guilt-ridden white Liberalism; if these
"morally developed" Black citizens would
stoop so low as to dirty their lily-brown
hands with the real work that must be
done in Black America and cease celebrat-
ing their own capitalistic dreams of suc-
cess, maybe then we could overcome. No
matter what unspeakable wrongs have
been done us in the past, Black Americans
must not be stagnated by the overwhelm-
ing observance of these truths. The simple
fact remains that we must work from here,
from now, from present conditions to em-
power ourselves. Not at any cost to be
forgotten, the past must be used as a fuel

of wisdom and angry energy to propel the
Black race forward, even if America moves
backwards. But instead, in an attempt to
be as rational and calm as (thus equal to)
the whites, many Blacks are content to
watch their brothers and sisters, and
therefore themselves, be destroyed. It
seems that many fail to realize that Black
equality need not be proved, and that of
course whites are calm and rational in
addressing the problems of Black: whites
have attempted to exploit and/or destroy

represent a formidable economic entity, as
figures on the buying power of Black
America will well bear witness. Given
this scenario, would white America really
want an empowered, ethnocentric Black
community, another sector of competition
rich in resources? No. So it comes as no
surprise that white America still cringes
upon hearing "Black Power," or "Power to
the people." That pain, however, is negli-
gible - especially in comparison.
Indeed, far from comforting white

'After killing Dr. King, white America now (21 years later)
rushes to recognize and revere him, thus providing an effective
distraction from a distinctly Black economic, political, and
social realization, carried from Turner to Garvey to Malcom
x ...

the thoughts of rape and murder.
Your ancestors RAPED my foremothers
and I will not forget!
I will not forget at Yale or Princeton or
Harvard or Hell-
because you are on my mind.
What should be on our minds is the cli-
mate of a country in which has produced
legal drug dealings with Noriega, the rape
of Tawana Brawley, the incidE:t at Howard
Beach, the one-year jail term of Bernhard
Goetz, convicted solely for the illegal
possession of a firearm, NCAA Proposal
42, and as most significant, the recent
election of George Bush and Dan Quayle.
In this America, Blacks must see that it is
not integration which will liberate them
economically. Nor is it integration that
will make Blacks realize political empow-
erment. It is only through thorough, true
and unfailing racial cohesion, across class
lines, that these two necessities - eco-
nomic and political empowerment will
even be rendered possible.
So let white America enjoy perverse
gratification from celebration the birthday
of one of history's greatest leaders, which
it murdered; as the Honorable Mayor
Andrew Young revealed, a murder which
was largely a consequence of Dr. King's
efforts to lead the underclass toward
economic and political empowerment.
While white America celebrated a day of
atonement, a Catholic confession of sorts
which will allow it to resume its sins
tomorrow, Black America must learn
bitter lessons from and bear the bitter truth
of the legacy of MLK.

every culture with which it has had
contact, Black America being only one of
a long list. It is no coincidence that as the
tide of conservatism in this country rises,
the urban availability of crack also rises,
with but a fraction of the possible
regulation: what race can effectively and
collectively combat their own subjugation
if its youngest, most vital members are no
longer vital, but are walking zombies,
drooling and crazed, ironically enough
white America's greatest fear, yet its least
likely assailant.
In a capitalist country such as the
United States, the economy is maintained
by competition. A cohesive Black com-
munity, operating at full capacity would

America as the Hon. Mayor Andrew
Young put it, "finding a way for White
folks to save face," as King and Young
attempted to do, Black America must now
be unrelenting in facing white America
with its atrocities - most of which white
America has the audacity to dismiss as
paranoid fallacies created by left-wing,
radical Black racists. Black America must
also continually face the reality of race re-
lations in the United States. It is only by
being armed with Truth that either race can
communicate realistically. As Gil Scott-
Heron wrote in his poem "Enough,":
Somehow I cannot believe that it will
be enough
for me to melt with you and integrate


3be 3irigaui&IUQ
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. IC, No.81 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.






By Almut Beringer, Mary
Cromwell, Will Cwiliel, Jen-
nifer Guarino, Kristin Illick
and Michelle Youngquist
The celebration of Martin Luther
King/Diversity Day served well to com-
memorate the 60th birthday of the civil
rights leader and renew Dr. King's vision
of social equality for the multicultural
University. We commend the Commemo-
ration of a Dream Committee for extend-
ing the invitation for the day's closing ad-
dress to The Honorable Andrew Young,
Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Mayor Young
drafted the essence of the civil rights
movement and King's role in it, clarifying
that mass movements start small, with
people who have a vision and are not
afraid to voice uncomfortable ideas.

population growth. However, it is equally
imperative to note that increasing human
activities are exerting a tremendous stress
on the earth's natural systems. Promoting
economic development, therefore, cannot
be done without considering the realities
of the ecological state of the world. The
continuing productivity of the world's
economic system relies on the continuing
productivity of the earth's natural systems.
Growing exploitation of resources, ex-
emplified both by capitalist and socialist-
communist economic systems, continues
to serve as a model for aspiring Third
World nations. This growing exploitation
of resources, however, is leading to an
accelerating ecosystem degradation and
gross imbalances in the global as well as
the social climate. For example, tropical
rainforests - are vanishing at an alarming
rate, which contributes to global atmo-

Miami, Florida

was host to the American cultural phe-
nomena and media extravaganza, the
Super Bowl. This year thirty second
commercials during the game cost
$675,000, and some scalpers received
$500 for single tickets. The Super
Bowl drew 75,179 spectators and over
100 million television viewers.
Among the Miami residents who
were not able to enjoy the festivities of
the Super Bowl were those residents of
the Overtown district of Miami who
were hospitalized, killed or jailed dur-
ing last week's riots. These riots re-
sulted from the shooting of a black man
by a police officer in another example
of racially motivated violence.
The priorities of the mainstream me-
dia and the administrators of Miami
were clearly represented in the week of
hype preceding the big game. Coverage
of the riots consistently expressed con-
cern over the image of the city, and
questioned whether things would be
"cleaned up" in time for panning
television cameras and visitors.
Not surprisingly, the people involved
in the riots in Overtown have been
portrayed as violent and crazy, moti-
vated to loot and riot out of instinct.
This kind of representation has made it
possible to ignore the significance of
the riots, and to turn attention to the
glamour of the Super Bowl.
Many of the individuals arrested
during the week of riots are being held
in prison as a "protection" measure.
The potential "danger" tourists could
have been exposed to when attending
the Super Bowl takes precedence over
the lives of the people of Overtown.
The simple solution for city adminis-
ttators was to lock them up.
Miami has also made the news re-

cently because of the numbers of
homeless people and refugees who live
there. Rather than attacking the real
problems of homelessness, unem-
ployment, poverty, and the influx of
refugees the city has chosen to sweep
these under the carpet so as not to trou-
ble the rich tourists visiting Miami.
Miami is not, however, distinct from
other cities in America. The agendas of
the administrators of this country are
motivated by image and public rela-
tions. It is not a priority to end home-
lessness , violence and poverty but it is
a priority to make it appear as if these
problems do not exist. The national at-
tention paid to the Super Bowl and the
national ignorance of the lives of the
people in Overtown and other commu-
nities like it are a clear indication of this
Justification for such gala money-
making events as the Super Bowl is the
consequent economic benefits. Cities
like Miami are anxious to host the Su-
per Bowl because of the money it
pumps into their local economies. Yet
how much of this revenue is seen by
the people who most need it? How will
the people of Overtown benefit from
the millions of Super Bowl generated
The media-generated illusions which
surround the Super Bowl do nothing
but promote the cause of those with the
controlling interest. Meanwhile, real
people with real problems are left unat-
tended and subject to gross humiliation
so that affluent people can enjoy a
football game. When the spotlight goes
away from Miami the people of Over-
town will remain behind, still victims
of police brutality and economic injus-
tice, exaggerated by the negligence of
city officials.

'Promoting economic development, therefore, cannot be
done without considering the realities of the ecological state of
the world. The continuing productivity of the world's eco-
nomic system relies on the continuing productivity of the
earth's natural systems.'

continually plague us.
If we could change our present image of
wealth and our economic thinking and
base is upon respect for all populations
(human and non-human), wealth would
not only be financial, but would encom-
pass the wealth of humanity, community
spirit, meaningful work, and "respective
the divine in every humian being" (Mayor
What is urgently needed in the world,
then, is an economic system that respects
and builds on ecological principles of in-
terdependency and the recycling of materi-
als. Only by integrating these principles
into a model of sustainable economic de-
velopment will we be able to envision a
future of global social justice and ecologi-
cal diversity.
The United States is a nation rich in
cultural diversity with a tremendous body
of human resources and opportunities. As
a catalyst for change, the U.S. has a re-
sponsibility to educate and lead other na-
tions toward sustainable economic devel-
opment and global social justice.
As a microcosm in this larger society of
multiculturalism, the University too, has
a tremendous opportunity and responsibil-
ity to educate its students, staff and faculty
about the realities of our global existence
and crises which face humankind and the
planet. The "Michigan Mandate" of equal-
ity, diversity, multiculturalism, and social
change must therefore include a commit-
ment to educate students as catalysts for
ethical social change and encourage them
to work toward sound economic develop-
ment and global sustainability.
Martin Luther King linked local racial
injustice to international apartheid. He felt
he could not remain silent about the U.S.
involvement in Vietnam. Mayor Young
speculated: "what if Martin Luther King
had lived...?", and, musing on King's in-
volvement in the crucial issues facing the
world today, we believe he would take a
stand on environmental issues as well,
recognizing the undeniable need to link
economic development to social justice
and ecological diversity.


Mayor Young made some outstanding
points for continuing the legacy of MLK
throughout his speech but we would like
to respond to some of the points Mayor
Young made in the latter part of his
To overcome the huge debt crisis, reju-
venate inner and improve the condition of
the poor in the U.S. and global peoples,
Young advocates resource development and
entrepreneurial ventures to generate finan-
cial wealth. We acknowledge that eco-
nomic development is an important factor
in meeting the needs of all people for nu-
trition, health, a sense of community,
purpose, and meaning in life. Economic
growth will be necessary in the present
and future in the face of continuing global
Almut Beringer, Mary Cromwell, Will
Cwiliel, Jennifer Guarino, Kristin Illick
and Michelle Youngquist are in the School
of Natural Resources.

spheric warming.
In this respect, the economic model
promoted by Mayor Andrew Young gives
a distorted picture of attainable social
justice. This (current) economic model
thrives on the exploitation of resources,
human as well at natural. In reality, it is
not a just model, but an often oppressive
system. Thus far, this model supports a
lifestyle of materialism and consumption
for the fortunate few at the expense of the
vast global majority. The world cannot
sustain the high materialistic lifestyle
presently exhibited by many in the West-
ern world.
Yes, we do need entrepreneurial ventures
and small businesses, but not solely to
create financial wealth and new sources of
revenue. Small businesses are needed be-
cause their (more) humane climate can
help people to find meaningful work and
to address the community problems that


Letters" to 1th!11d.t.r


-- ...


Soo 't1 j S Q
ii4N 1%4

w' NEW

to end the
arms race

desperate need for social pro-
grams. To this end, peace
groups across the country have
united to push for a Compre-
hensive Test Ban.
The 1963 Partial Test Ban
Treaty banned nuclear testing

race. Without the tests, no new
weapons could be developed
and the next generation of
deadlier weapons would not be
The 2000 warheads (already
paid for) that were destroyed

port of a Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty is building in the
United Nations and an interna-
tional conference may come
within a year. It is critical that
we act now to build support in
Washington to sign the treatv


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