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February 09, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-09

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OPINION
Thursday, February 9, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

al

I e kb jau aiti
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Unite

to

fight

AIDS

Vol. IC, No.93

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.
'U' overlooks Chicanos

THE FAILURE to celebrate Chicano
History Week at the University is just
another reminder of the lack of repre-
sentation of Chicanos and Chicanas
here. Officially sanctioned by the state
of Michigan, February 2-8 was in-
tended to recognize the contributions of
Chicanos to society. It is important for
members of a minority group to come
together to share their history, which
has been largely ignored in mainstream
scholarship and the media.
Unfortunately, Chicano History
Week has not been celebrated with the
amount of support it deserves here be-
cause there are simply not enough Chi-
canos and Chicanas at the University of
Michigan to organize a large enough
educational program. It is not, how-
ever, the responsibility of Chicano
students to educate people about the
history of racism and exclusion which
has kept the University closed to them.
The^University administration should
take responsiblility for recognizing and
encouraging cultural diversity, and
should take an active role in educating
itself and its students. This is not
achieved through once-yearly symbolic
marches and cries of "Hey hey, ho ho,
racism has got to go" by administrators
who actually implement marginalizing
and racist policies. It is not achieved
through placing the burden of righting
the wrongs of the system on the stu-
dents which it wrongs.
It is achieved through active recruit-
ment, acceptance, and recognition of
underrepresented minorities.
Hispanics at this University have
been traditionally underrepresented,
and statistics say Chicanos are among
the most underrrepresented. Currently
there is not one Chicano or Chicana
faculty member at the University.
The University does not break the
extremely diverse "Hispanic" group
into its different parts. The result of
this is an inaccurate representation of
people from completely different back-
grounds. This is nothing new; the
Just call
WHILE RONALD Reagan used his
acting skills to dupe the people in this
country into giving him extremely
favorable ratings in polls at the end of
.his role as President, George Bush is
using a different, maybe even more
'effective screen: the nice-guy approach.
Though it seems an unsurpassable
achievement to cajole the people into
acquitting oneself of a crime against the
entire world - the contra-gate scandal
--Reagan is at peril of being outdone
:by Bush.
Although only 27 percent of all U.S.
-citizens voted for Bush in an election
-with a 48 percent total turnout, Bush
- still has plenty of time to boost his
ratings in popularity polls, just as
Reagan did.
Currently, however, Bush is
working on winning Congress over to
his agenda - something Reagan could
never do - and has been disturbingly
effective in his efforts so far. In just the
first few weeks of his administration,
Bush has spent an inordinate amount of
time with Congressional leaders. He
addresses them by their first names,

jokes around with them, and is nice to
them in speeches (unlike Reagan).
Bush even invites them over to his
house, the White House that is, to win
their friendship. His whole one-of-the-
boys approach can be summed up by
his recent statement to a male member

University also refers to "Asians" as a
homogenous group.
As a result of misrepresentation and
underrepresentation, many people do
not even know what a Chicano is.
Chicanos are the descendants of the
Native Mexicans and Spaniards who
migrated north from Mexico to what is
now the Southwestern United States
long before the United States' Westem
Expansion. The term derives from the
name of the Native Americans, or
Mexicas, who were brought north by
the Spaniards. It is a political term,
used by the members of the Chicano
Movement of the mid-1960s to express
their pride in their own culture, as op-
posed to those who called themselves
Mexican-Americans and attempted to
assimilate more into mainstream
Also as a result of the suppression of
this history, many people believe that
Chicanos are the Mexican immigrants
which the United States has alternately
recruited and deported according to the
demand for cheap labor. Mexican-
Americans are often used as scape-
goats when downturns in the economy
bring higher unemployment.
Widespread ignorance of Chicano
history, especially the fact that Chi-
canos have lived in the United States
for more than three centuries, fuels
isolationist, xenophobic attitudes. Such
attitudes have led States like Arizona to
pass laws making English heir official
language, effectively stifling the Span-
ish language, an important facet of
Chicano culture.
Chicano culture and history has been
overlooked by unilingual, unicultural
education in the public schools. Chi-
cano children have few role models in
their teachers. They are tracked into
curricula which prepare them not for
college, but for obtaining low-paying,
undervalued jobs.
The University perpetuates the prob-
lem by not recognizing Chicanos as a
group, by not actively recruiting Chi-
canos and Chicanas and by providing a
climate of indifference and misinfor-
mation for those few who do get here.

By Cathy Cohen and David
Fletcher
AIDS is an anti-racist issue. 80 percent
of women with AIDS are Black and
Latina. 26 percent of all adults with AIDS
are Black and 14 percent are Latino, both
numbers double their proportions in the
population. Currently, the fastest growing
sub-population of people with AIDS is
children, 76 percent of whom are Black
and Latino.
The early fight against the epidemic fo-
cused on the condition and needs of white
gay men, a population that is now
beginning to show some optimistic
developments in their fight against AIDS.
In a few states, including Michigan, the
proportion of new cases among gay men
has leveled off. Further, the general trend
regarding the development of new cases
among gay men has dropped below initial
expectations due primarily to the extensive
education in the gay community.
However, the growing devastation in
Third World communities, already con-
fronted by economic and political oppres-
sion, points to new challenges not only to
the powers that be but to AIDS organizers
and anti-racist activists.
From the start of the epidemic, the fed-
eral government and the various sectors of
the health care delivery system had to be
pushed to allocate funds for AIDS preven-
tion, treatment and research. Much of this
work was done by gay activists and their
sympathizers. The networks through the
white gay community, their access to re-
sources as well as the focus of the entire
community's power on the single goal of
saving lives facilitated this early push.
However, when these activists and the
community as a whole were criticized for
only addressing the impact of the disease
on middle-class white gay men , exploit-
ing their class privileges to meet their
immediate needs, most organizers excused
themselves and their strategies by
suggesting that expanding their efforts to
Cathy Cohen is a graduate student in
political science and a member of the
United Coalition Against Racism. David
Fletcher is in the School Of Public Health
and a member of the United Coalition
Against Racism.

other hard hit communities was impracti-
cal and just too difficult. They emphasized
the lack of networks in those "other com-
munities" (IVD users, Black and Latino
gay men) distancing themselves and their
experience with the disease from the real-
ity of those other "marginal communi-
ties." Now even as networks develop
through other at-risk communities gay or-
ganizers are still reluctant to align them-
selves with the plight of all people with
AIDS.
Much of this separation between differ-
ent communities of people with AIDS can
be understood in terms of a more funda-
mental analysis of organizing strategies.
As with any issue, the AIDS epidemic
presents organizers with numerous per-
spectives and strategies which can be put
forth to the general public. We make
choices between focusing our analysis on
the least common denominator - that
people are dying (often the less threatening
approach) - or on a more complex

We, on the other hand, believe that
pulling together the complex intersection
of race, class and gender behavior choices
will save more lives and will make for
more effective AIDS organizing. Individu-
als. in Third World communities must be-
come central to the fight against AIDS if
we are to garner the numbers and power to
fight not only the disease, but also a soci-
ety built upon inequalities.
Fighting against AIDS means fighting
for all hard-hit communities. It means de-
manding enough experimental drug pro-
grams so that all people with AIDS, even
a poor IVDU with no health insurance is
included in such programs. Organizing
around the complete needs of those with
the fewest resources in society, necessarily
means that those with more resources will
also benefit and become liberated. Third
World communities' struggles to fight the
misery imposed by the epidemic should be
central, thus empowering all struggles
against AIDS. This sort of link points to

A

Individuals in Third World
tral to the fight against AIDS

communities must become cen-
if we are to garner the numbers

and power to fight not only the disease, but also a society built
upon inequalities.

analysis which again emphasizes that
people are dying , but connects their death
to the condition and the treatment these
individuals received in society.
This second strategy, which will ulti-
mately have a more profound impact on
the epidemic, suggests that the fight
against AIDS must also be connected to
our fight against racism and classism in
the health care system, the fight for equal
distribution of wealth and access to educa-
tion, employment and housing, as well as
the fight against homophobia in society.
Some will argue that the immediate and
pressing loss of life at epidemic levels ne-
cessitates that we accept and put forward
the easiest and most acceptable strategy to
the general public. These individuals
contend that if more money for research
and treatment can be raised by not empha-
sizing what they see as "adjacent issues"
of homophobia, racism and classism then
our concern for saving lives should dictate
this less complex strategy.

the very progressive potential for AIDS
organizing - the - potential to view AIDS
not only as an issue for gay communi-
ties, but also as an issue for anti-racists
activists.
As with any struggle, the direction it
takes often depends on the vision of the
organizers as well as those involved in the
movement. Understanding of the chang-
ing face of AIDS informs the direction the
struggle will take. We must create a
movement that includes as a focus the
fight against racism, classism and homo-
phobia in the society. We must create a
movement which links the efforts of gay
communities to the efforts of anti-racist
activists. Only through such a movement
can we bring true liberation and stop the
deaths of all people with AIDS.
The intersection of race, class and gender
in the fight against AIDS will be the topic
of this week's brown bag discussion at the
Baker-Mandela Center for Anti-Racist Ed-
ucation.

t

~j~et~er t. tb" 21.dito

me

George)

corporations form a fourth branch does
not give Bush an excuse to merge his
executive branch with the legislative
branch to maintain the three-branch il-
lusion. The branches are intended to
operate independently so as to make the
system of checks and balances possi-
ble. If Bush becomes too friendly with
Congress, it will not properly be able
to keep him in check.
As it takes two to tango, there is an-
other party at fault: Congress. The first
major indication of Congress getting
weak in the knees was the gesture of
friendship that House Speaker Jim
Wright made by shelving the bill
requiring the President to notify
Congress of covert operations within
48 hours. This was the only legislation
to result from the Iran-Contra affair and
by shelving it, Congress is sending a
symbolic message to George Bush: feel
free to do it again because we trust
you, no matter how many laws you
violated or governments you
destabilized.
Jim Wright incurred the wrath of the
Reagan administration and was reviled
in the media last year for having
publicly acknowledged what everyone
already knew: that the United States
was engaged in illegal efforts to
destabilize the government of
Nicaragua. The fact that he is so easily
reversing his course indicates that the

Misplaced
criticism
To the Daily:
The recent letters printed in
the Daily in defense of the
work of Dean John Cross and
Dean Peter Steiner are quite
intriguing. One signed by five
current or former chairs of the
economics department criticizes
a Daily reporter, Jonathan
Scott, for his "brief, unin-
formed, and sophomoric at-
tacks" on the research of Pro-
fessors Steiner and Cross.
This criticism of Jonathan
Scott seems misplaced since he
did not attack the research of
Professors Steiner and Cross.
He merely reported that others
had called the quality of this
research into question.
Presumably these members of
our faculty are more careful in
their academic research.
The second letter, by Profes-
sors Bergstrom, Binmore, and
Varian raises two distinct is-
sues. Certainly they are correct
in pointing out that Professor
Cross' view, that individuals
are motivated by quantifiable
"jolts of happiness", is not in-
consistent with the mainstream
of economics. Their later
assertion, that the techniques
employed by economists are
not an appropriate subject for
a student newspaper, is far
more questionable.
As someone who has taught
introductory microeconomics, I
have often encountered students
who recognized the inherent
absurdity of basic assumptions

tion. It is discouraging that the
professors who responded with
such indignation to Scott's
news article resorted to "proof
by authority" rather than di-
rectly addressing any of the
substantive issues raised in the
article.
It may not be surprising that
economists, like astrologers,
phrenologists, and physiog-
nomists, would resent having
their techniques subjected to
public scrutiny. However,
since they do have a tendency
to insist on lending their
"expertise" to public debates, it
seems appropriate that the ba-
sis of economists' claim to ex-
pertise remain open to public
investigation. Perhaps we can
arrive at an agreement, where
economists refrain from at-
tempting to influence debate on
issues of public policy, in ex-
change for the rest of the
public ignoring the
questionable foundations of the
discipline.
-Dean Baker
February 8
Letters
miss the
point
To the Daily:
I am amazed that the Daily
bothered to run two full days of
letters condemning a recent
editorial on Ethiopian Jewish
immigration to Israel. One er-
ror-ridden letter should have
sufficed, rather than indulging
in shrill redundancy. The writ-
ers all missed the point of the

The government of Israel wants
to rescue Jewish Ethiopians by
bringing them to Israel.
(Imagine a similar situation:
the Eastern seaboard of the
U.S.A. is starving; Southern
Africa offers to rescue the
white citizens only.)
Why should only the
Ethiopian Jews be taken from
Ethiopia when the entire coun-
try is suffering? If Israel is
such a humanitarian nation,
why does it not help the coun-
try of Ethiopia as a whole?
Granted, Ethiopian Jewswould
be fed in Israel, but the
"rescue" must be seen for what
it really is: a good public rela-
tions ploy and a policy to in-
crease Jewish population in
Palestine.
The editorial closed with the
statement "the Palestinians
should be returned to Pales-
tine." Yes. And Ethiopians of
all creeds must be helped, but
not used in order to improve
Israel's tarnished public image.
-Hilary Shadroui
February 7
Abortion
is not the
solution
To the Daily:
I'd like to respond to Libby
Adler's letter to the Daily on
January 20, 1989. There are a
number of very interesting
points that she makes. I hope
that Ms. Adler is truly the
proponent of human rights that
she makes herself out to be.
However, in all of her rhetoric,
she completely forgets to ad-

of sorts. Now no one ever
hears that issue addressed. The
fact is, it is very clear that the
fetus is a human being. A tu-
mor doesn't have its own blood
type. The segment of our so-
ciety called the unborn is being
killed off at the alarming rate
of 1.5 million per year. No
attack on any group has ever
approached the 22 million
(since Roe vs. Wade) that have
been slaughtered in this man-
ner.

How can the right of a
woman over her body be used
to argue for abortion? No one,
man or woman, has the abso-
lute right overahis/her body.
Suicide is illegal. The taking
of certain drugs is illegal.
there are many laws that re-
strict the right we have over
our own bodies. And abortion
is the taking of another's life.
It is the ripping and tearing of
a person who is totally depen-
dant upon another for exis-
tence. It is treachery brought
to its sickening conclusion.

I

I agree that women are
poorly treated in our society.
One of the greatest ways that
this happens is when a woman
is told that it is okay, even
courageous, to have her baby
killed. We have thousands of
such victims every year.

What our society desperately
needs is the termination of le-
galized abortion. We then need
the means of caring for the
many unwed and poor mothers
that will be in great need. This
can be done. We must allow
our youth a chance at life.
There will, of course, be many
women who will have great

4

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