The Michigan Daily Tuesday, March 28, 1989 Page 4
abl£ kbigau aiij
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
for food, not for guns
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. MI 48109
Vol. IC, No. 121
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All ot er
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Participate in Awareness Week:
Support gayri ghts
LESBIAN AND Gay Men's Awareness
Week starts today. The need for a week
of awareness of issues concerning les-
bians and gay men and a celebration of
the gay experience is evident on this
campus. There has been both an unex-
pected interest in courses such as Les-
bian Studies, offered for the first time
by the Women's Studies program, and
which prompted requests for more
sections, as well as an increase in ho-
mophobic incidents over the past year.
The Lesbian and Gay Rights
Organizing Committee (LaGROC) and
the Lesbian and Gay Male Programs
Office (LGMPO) have responded to the
need to inform people about the gay
community by sponsoring numerous
films, speakers, forums, workshops,
gay raps, and a rally. (see calendar)
This is a week for heterosexuals to
see who gay people really are; not the
stereotypical limp-wristed, effeminate
man or "masculine" woman, but fellow
students, professors, parents, and hu-
man beings. This is especially impor-
tant in the light of heterosexist media
depictions of gay people as deviant,
dangerous or immoral.
This is also a week for gay people to
celebrate their experiences and identi-
ties, and their fight to retain their iden-
tities in the face of the fierce
discrimination in the general society.
When many people think of homo-
phobia, they think of "gay-bashings,"
but homophobia, hatred and fear of gay
people, manifests itself in many ways.
Using the phrase "that's so gay,"
makes the word gay into an insult. Os-
tracizing people for being too effemi-
nate or too masculine, or not having an
opposite-sex partner is homophobia.
Heterosexism, a form of homopho-
bia which presumes everyone is het-
erosexual, is another'manifestation of
Many people complain that a gay
couple walking down the street holding
hands or Lesbian and Gay Men's
Awareness Week are unacceptable
"blatant displays" of homosexuality.
Yet everyday the homophobic main-
stream media barrages us with hetero-
sexuality as the "norm."
Although the issues of homophobia
and heterosexism will be addressed,
Lesbian and Gay Men's Awareness
Week is also a week to celebrate the
many gay identities and expressions
By the World Hunger Edu-
As the deadline for filing our taxes
draws near, we should reflect how our
government's $10.2 billion foreign aid
budget is spent. Doing so will make us
realize that it should be restructured to
help countries in desperate need.
U.S. foreign aid is probably one of the
most important contributors to world
hunger today. It actually intensifies the
plight of the poor in Third World coun-
While 47 percent of U.S. foreign aid
goes for the purchase of military hardware
in recipient countries, the remainder is
spent in a way that effectively prolongs
world hunger. To start with, U.S. foreign
aid goes primarily to two countries - Is-
rael and Egypt, neither of which rank
amongthe poorest countries in the world.
Closely allied with the U.S., these coun-
tries receive 51.9 percent of the U.S. for-
eign aid budget. And a significant amount
of Israel's aid is spent on weapons.
Despite the tremendous amount of aid
sent to Egypt, poverty continues there
nevertheless. This is because too much of
U.S. aid goes for militarization, and the
token amount of food and developmental
aid benefits the rich and the middle classes,
leaving the poorest virtually untouched.
Developmental assistance to Egypt, as
elsewhere, funds roads, dams and commu-
nications networks. The main beneficiaries
of this are affluent businesspeople, rather
than the poor.
The remaining small portion of the for-
eign aid budget actually impoverishes
many countries, for example, El Salvador
and Sudan. While our government claims
to promote peace, democracy and eco-
nomic development in El Salvador, the
$500 million sent there each year does just
the opposite. U.S. aid has underwritten
bombing campaigns throughout the coun-
tryside and death squad killings of peas-
Our government, again claiming to
promote democracy, has involved itself in
Sudan's civil war, where U.S. aid has as-
sisted the Sudanese regime in waging war
against its people. From 1979 to 1985,
$743 million of U.S. aid contributed to
300,000 civil war deaths and the home-
lessness of three million people there.
The ten poorest countries in the world
receive almost no U.S. aid. Furthermore,
the U.S. has placed severe restrictions on
private humanitarian aid to Vietnam,
Kampuchea and Nicaragua, whose
economies have been wrecked by U.S.
policy. Vietnam, where much of the land
has been ruined by Agent Orange, bomb
thousand buildings, including schools,
health clinics and homes, have been de-
stroyed in the Contra war.
Oxfam America's Tools for Peace and
Justice is trying to turn this around. While
almost 75 percent of U.S. aid provides
weapons, police and military training,
Tools for Peace focuses on helping Third
World people, who need local food
production, clean water, health care and
schools. Ann Arbor's World Hunger Edu-
cation-Action Committee (W.H.E.-A.C.)
supports Oxfam America's projects and
philosophy. Our philosophy is one of
grass-root development efforts, where re-
cipients of aid decide what they need.
W.H.E.-A.C. and Oxfam are non-profit
organizations focusing on people-to-peo-
'From 1979 to 1985, $743 million of U.S. aid contributed to
300,000 civil war deaths and the homelessness of three million
craters and unexploded munitions, has not
only been subjected to a U.S.-initiated
trade embargo, but has received not a dime
of reconstruction aid.
As in Vietnam, there is a U.S. trade
embargo against and not a penny of eco-
nomic assistance sent to Nicaragua. Fur-
thermore, the embargo blocks any devel-
opmental aid offered by private
humanitarian organizations in the U.S..
While the U.S. quickly sent reconstruction
aid to Nicaragua under the Samoza dicta-
torship after an earthquake struck in the
1970s, none was sent after hurricane
Gilbert last December. Yet other "aid" sent
by the Reagan/Bush administration has
had an effect. At least ten thousand
Nicaraguans have been killed and three
ple efforts. We give true humanitarian aid,
which needs everyone's support.
During the last week of March, W.H.E.-
A.C. will hold activities in support of
Tools for Peace and Justice. A bucket
drive will be held on Tuesday, March 28
and Wednesday, March 29. Also, on
Tuesday, March 28, at 7:30 in the Pond
Room A & B of the Michigan Union,
Sandra Steingraber will speak on U.S.
"aid" to Sudan. Tuesday, April 4, at the
Blind Pig, W.H.E.-A.C. will have a
benefit concert featuring Frank Allison and
the Odd Sox and Juice. All proceeds will
support Tools for Peace and Justice.
Again, W.H.E.-A.C., asks you to consider
where your tax dollars are sent.
Too little and very late
Lesbian and Gay Men'sAwareness Week:
THE U.S. House of Representatives'
approval of the first increase in the
minimum wage in eight years is better
than nothing, but will do little to close
the gap between rich and poor that has
widened in this country in the 1980s..
It is something of a national disgrace
that even this paltry and long overdue
measure now faces a threatened Presi-
dential veto and further watering down,
if it is passed, by the Senate.
Last week the House (with Ann Ar-
bor's Representative Carl Pursell vot-
ing against it) approved a bill that will
raise the minimum wage from the cur-
rent $3.35 an hour to $4.55, over three
years, beginning with a 50 cent in-
crease this October. In the last decade
the minimum wage has lost about a
third of its purchasing power due to
inflation; it has remained at its current
$3.35 throughout the Reagan presi-
dency. The proposed increase will not
even restore the real earnings of mini-
mum wage workers to what they were
ten years ago.
The bill that emerges out of the Sen-
ate and House compromise is likely to
include not only a lower wage, but will
almost definitely provide for a sub-
minimum training wage for new
workers. This will allow employers to
pay a lower wage to newly hired
workers with no previous employment.
This measure could be especially
dangerous to already employed adult
workers, who might be laid off in
favor of cheaper new laborers. It is
also, in general, divisive and unfair for
people to work side by side and receive
different wages for the same work.
Opponents of the proposed increase
in the minimum wage argue that it will
increase unemployment, particularly
among teenagers. This argument can be
found in any mainstream introductory
economics textbook. It is often ad-
vanced in a very propagandistic way in
the introductory courses, leaving stu-
dents with the impression that mini-
mum wages only hurt the people they
are designed to help. The argument is
very simple: at higher wages, labor is
more expensive, and profit-maximizing
employers will therefore employ fewer
But there are problems with the con-
be a "ripple effect" which increases the
wages of workers earning above the
minimum wage. The increased spend-
ing that results from the higher income
of both minimum wage and non-mini-
mum wage earners may increase over-
all employment in the economy.
Secondly, the actual effect of mini-
mum wage legislation on employment
is a difficult empirical question that has
been the subject of a good deal of
study. One striking fact is that the
drastic decline in the real value of the
minimum wage in the 1980s did not
serve to increase employment among
teenagers. A recent review of the em-
pirical literature by University Eco-
nomics Professor Charles Brown indi-
cates that the overall employment ef-
fects of minimum wages are probably
But even if one were to expect a sig-
nificant negative effect on employment
from increasing the minimum wage,
this would not be sufficient justification
to oppose it. Socially intolerable levels
of unemployment, particularly among
teenagers and minority workers, will
not be resolved by increasing their ex-
ploitation. If conservative legislators
and President Bush were really con-
cerned with unemployment they would
support macroeconomic policies to in-
crease employment, as well as in-
creased training and education for the
unemployed. At the very least they
could support the "economists' solu-
tion" of wage subsidies to low-wage
employers, which would raise mini-
mum wages and increase employment
at the same time. But they are too con-
cerned with tax breaks for the rich to
consider addressing the real needs of
The bottom line is that people who
work full time, often at difficult or
onerous jobs, should not be con-
demned to poverty. If the minimum
wage had been allowed to rise with in-
flation during the 1980s, the rise in the
numbers of working poor would not
have been as steep as it was.
Most people now recognize certain
rights to health and safety on the job,
and accept that government intervention
is necessary to protect these rights. The
right to earn an income above the
Tuesday 28 March:
Benefit Dance - Nectarine Ballroom
Wednesday 29 March:
Videos and Literature in the Fishbowl
Display in the UGLi
Films: "A Death in the Family," "A Virus
Has No Morals," 7 and 9:20 pm, Nat. Sci.
Thursday 30 March:
Lecture: "Women, Power, and Difference."
Audre Lorde. Hale Auditorium, Business
School. Reception following.
Friday 31 March:
BLUE JEANS DAY
COMING OUT DAY
Rally on the Diag, Noon-to 1:00
Films: "Storme: The Lady of the Jewel
Box," "Virgin Machine," 7 and 9:15 Nat.
Saturday 1 April:
Potluck, Entertainment, Dance 7-1,
Halfway Inn, East Quad
Film: "Mala Noche," 7 and 8:30 pm,
Sunday 2 April:
UM Staff-Faculty potluck.
Paint the Rock/Picnic 1:00
Monday 3 April:
Workshops: "Issues of Color in the Les-
bian-Gay Men and Bisexual Community,"
7-8:30 pm, Michigan League rm. D.
"Dominatrixes and Dictators: Facilitators
and Chairpeople: Gender and Group Dy-
namics in the L-GM Community," 8:30-
10pm, League, rm. D. "Safer Sex," 7-8:30
League rm. C.
Tuesday 4 April:
Gay Rap 7-9pm, League rm D.
Workshop: "History of LaGROC and Po-
litical Agendas in the L-GM Community"
8-9:30, Union rm 3100.
Wednesday S April:
Workshops: "Unity in the Fight Against
AIDS," 7-8:30, League, rm A. "Inter-
campus Perspectives on L-GM Issues,"
8:30-10, League, rm A.
Discussion: "Free Speech or Censorship?
The Well of Loneliness, The Satanic
Verses, and Cornerstone Christian
Fellowship," 7-8:30, League rm D.
Thursday 6 April:
Workshops: "Revolutionary Perspectives
on L-GM Liberation," 7-8:30, Union,
Terri Jewell, "Getting Published in the L-
GM Press," and Russell Brown, "Reading
and Getting Published," 7-8:30,
"Community Reading of L-GM Litera-
ture," 8:30-10, Lawyers Club Lounge.
Friday 7 April:
Film: "Gay Shorts Night,"
pm, MLB 4
Saturday 8 April:
Film: "Novembermund," 7
7 and 8:30
and 9 pm,
Sunday 9 April:
Films: "Fox and His Friends," 7 pm,
MLB 3, "Un Chant D'Amour," and
Querelle," 9:15, MLB 3
For more information call 994-5403, 769-
7787, or the LGMPO at 763-4186.
To thine own self be true, and it follows
as the day follows night, you cannot then
be false before any other."
It may seem incongruous to write a let-
ter about coming out for Lesbian and Gay
Male's Awareness Week, and then leave
the letter unsigned. However, gay aware-
ness includes recognizing that this letter
could have been written by almost anyone.
I often hear casual acquaintances, or
classmates make comments like, "I don't
know any gay people," or worse, I hear
them tell gay jokes. Whether you realize it
or not, I'm your classmate, teammate,
roommate, co-worker, professor, acquain-
tance, best friend, sister, even your ex-
girlfriend or boyfriend.
Stop reading for a moment and look
around. One of every 10 people you see is
was seeing the flyers I posted for Gay
Awareness Week torn down within 15
minutes of hanging them. Thirty-six
hours later, only a handful remained. That
means more than 500 were destroyed.
Does this happen to posters for Greek
Week? College Democrats? Intervarsity
Christian Fellowship? The Glee Club?
Any other campus group? It makes me
both sad and angry to see how much ho-
mophobia there is on this campus and ev-
The theme for Awareness Week 1989 is
"Coming Out." Coming out of the closet
is both a personal and a political process.
Staying in the closet means hating our-
selves, denying our existence, lying, and
perpetuating stereotypes, oppression, and
homophobia. When I visit my parent and
relatives I find myself censoring my
speech and stripping myself of any per-
sonality and affect. I never talk about my
membership in LaGROC. A fun evening
painting posters and banners for Aware-
Coming out means accepting ourselves,
raising consciousness, fighting for our
rights, and loving ourselves and each
other. When I came out to my sister we
began to grow closer for the first time
since Junior High. We share our stories
and feelings about our current relation-
ships, and I no longer censor my speech. I
came out to a co-worker and now share
with her my fears about coming out to my
parents, my involvement in politics, and
my anxiety and happiness about a date. I
joined LaGROC and have helped plan
events for Lesbian and Gay Men's Aware-
ness Week, and agreed to speak on the
Diag at Friday's rally. When I do thesex
things I feel empowered.
Awareness Week is a time for celebra-
tion, education, and consciousness-raising.
Whether you're gay or straight, if you
want to show your support for gay rights,
learn more about what it means to be gay,