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December 10, 1992 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-12-10

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Page 4 -The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 10, 1992

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
764-0552

Editor in Chief
MATTHEW D. RENNIE
a Opinion Editors
YAEL CITRO
GEOFFREY EARLE
AMITAVA MAZUMDAR

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

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Unsigned editorials represent a njority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
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Teach tolerance inBirimngham

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uringthe past week, Birmingham High School
students have been subject to the district's
new homosexuality curriculum. But if it were up
to right-wing organizations such as Concerned
Parents/Taxpayers and the Michigan Family Fo-
rum, the Birmingham School Board would either
eliminate or gut this valuable addition the curricu-
lum. On Dec. 15, the Birmingham School Board
will vote on revisions. Hopefully, the school board
will not buckle under the pressure of these closed-
minded, "pro-family" orga-
nizations and deny children
the important lessons of di-
versity and tolerance.
Some of these revisions
simply clarify some of the
program's language. For
instance, the school board
will likely vote to change
the permission slip to allow
students to opt out of the
homosexual program and
viewing the film "What If
I'm Gay?"
However, organizations such as Concerned
Parents/Taxpayers want to tack on their hateful
perspective to the program: that homosexuals are
sexually promiscuous and don't condemn child
molestation (inferring that they condone it); that
only 1 percent of the population is gay (it is
probably-closer to 10); and that straight children
can be turned homosexual if influenced by gays at
a young age.
In order to promote their cause, these organiza-
tions have been flooding the Birmingham school
district with hateful images of homosexuality.
Some have gone so far as to send anonymous
letters claiming that people can contract the HIV
virus - presunably a gay disease - through

handshakes and sharing silverware.
Carol Pope, founder of the Michigan Family
Forum, expressed concern that the curriculum en-
courages young people to be gay. To support her
invalid conclusions, she points out that admitted
homosexual and architect of the tolerance curricu-
lum, Frank Colasonti, Jr., attended a conference on
teaching homosexuality. Pope concludes that
Colasonti is therefore an advocate for the cause,
and will try to encourage students to become gay.
This is ludicrous and para-
noid. No one should fear a
homosexual conspiracy;
homosexuals are not mis-
sionaries charged with re-
cruiting young people to
their "cause."
Birmingham's sex edu-
cation program consists of
three lessons devoted to
homosexuality, including a
questionnaire, a video titled
"What If I'm Gay," and a
panel discussion consisting
of gay men and lesbians and parents of homosexual
children.
The curriculum does not either condone or con-
demn homosexuality, but instead teaches students
to be both informed and respectful of gays, and to
offer support to people who are unsure of their
sexual orientation. Since children must show a
signed permission slip to attend the program, par-
ents who object can pull their kids out.
That should provide parents the control they
deserve. But for parents who approve, teaching
young children about homosexuals - a group that
is an all-too-common target of discrimination -
will be a giant leap toward understanding and
tolerance of gays.

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LETR

Leave art alone
To the Daily:
Tuesday's "Day Without Art,"
an AIDS benefit, seemed like a
worthy cause, but it was an insult
to art and artists. The activists had
no right to impose their cause,
however noble, on the art of
others. If the sculptors had
intended their works to be about
the fatal disease, they would have
included that theme. The activists
turned someone else's art - no
doubt a personal matter to the
artist - into a billboard, into
commercial propaganda to
advertise the cause of the day.
I also have to question the
local artist "who painted a picture
he never showed to the audience."
So what? Again, this cannot be
art, but it is a pretentious bit of
fluff. Visual art is an idea in solid,
tangible form. This guy just had
an idea. People have ideas all the
time, but this doesn't make
everyone an artist. Please don't
waste my time with "non-art."
Andrea Berez
School of Art junior
Demand true justice
To the Daily:
The Ann Arbor and Detroit
chapters of the National
Women's Rights Organizing
Coalition (NWROC) have been
active with the Justice for Malice
Green Coalition. We call for an
independent investigation by the
Black community and workers of
Detroit. The working class and
Black community need to take it
upon themselse to organize
against racist cop brutality.
If you agree with our de-
mands, or if you don't, and want
to express outrage at the murder
of Malice Green, come to a
march Dec. 12 at noon at
Kennedy Square.
Pamela Harcourt
Vice Chair of
Ann Arbor NWROC

To the Daily:
As I observed the Rodney
King case unfold, I remember
wondering how on earth the jury
could take so long to deliberate
such a simple case and then
finally arrive at the wrong
decision. After reading the article
by Snehal Amin ("Listen to
Gates, deal with facts," 11/19/92),
I now realize what aspect of logic
was absent from the assessment of
the situation - common sense.
On one hand I can undersand
how the jurors could have been
distracted by all the hours of.
watching video tape in forward,
reverse and slow motion. Never-
theless, it is the jurors' obligation
to reach a decision based on, as
Amind says, "The facts of the
case." The fact is, a man was
excessively and brutally assaulted
by a group of police officers.
There is no reason for a beating
like that to take place, no matter
what the circumstances.
The strategy of the defense
was to play down the obvious by.
emphjasizing a few mino: points
which, when scrutinized in detail,
were not consistent with each
other. For instance, Amin claims
that "the baton blows were non-

connecting." Not only does this
statement contradict itself, but it is
also inconsistent with the pathetic
rationalization that "King was
repeatedly hit because he was
under the influence of PCP." In
one instance, these people are
trying to say, 'No, we really didn't
beat him that bad,' trying to play
down the obvious. In another
instance they say, 'However, he
was on PCP, so we were justified
in beating him.' The fact that the
jury allowed these blatantly self-
contradicting statements to slide
reflects their bias towards the
officers.
America continues to breed
racism and discrimination just as
it has done in the past. All
Americans should make an effort
to correct this problem, or
ultimately, there will be another
beating and another famous riot.
Those Americans who think they
are isolated from these injustices
to people of color - just hope that
the next time a riot occurs, they
will be able to contain them within
the inner city.
Marc Smith
Engineering junior
Robert Stewart
LSA junior

Use simple common sense

Court decision hurts schoolchildren

Tax-base sharing suffered a huge blow last
week when a circuit court ruling limited the
state's ability to enforce it. Often called Michigan's
"Robin Hood" act, tax-base sharing is an attempt
to even out per-pupil spending discrepancies in
the state's public schools. Right now spending
ranges from $2,500 per pupil in poor areas, to
more than $9,000 in wealthy suburbs. The law
requires wealthier districts to share up to half of
their growth in property and industrial taxes with
poorer districts to equalize education spending.
Until a better solution is proposed, tax-base shar-
ing should be implemented and supported.
By removing the state's ability to enforce the
law, the court essentially made tax-base sharing
optional. While the court did not find the law itself
unconstitutional, it removed the law's teeth for the
present. No district will choose to give away its tax
money when it could be using it to better its own
schools. Proponents of the bill, while they admit to
a small defeat, claim that there will still be ways to
coerce wealthy districts into complying. Under
this new ruling, the state cannot withhold funding
for required programs, such as bilingual and spe-
cial education, but it can withhold payments for
other programs that are usually funded in part by
the state.
However, the definition of a state-mandated
program is being decided in the Michigan Su-
preme Court right now. The case, which involves-

Warren Fitzgerald Public Schools, could very likely
destroy what is left of the tax-base sharing act. If the
Court finds that items in curriculum such as driv-
ers' education and lunch programs have indeed
been required, then the state will be forced to fund
them as well, regardless of districts' compliance in
tax-base sharing. If this occurs, the act will become
obsolete.
Right now the funding gap per student in the
state of Michigan is reprehensible. The 14 school
districts involved in the recent case have enforced
what most knew for some time - wealthy districts
are resistant to changing the problem. While tax-
base sharing is obviously not a complete answer -
the redistribution of taxes makes but a small dent in
the gap - it is a start. Instead of complaining that
tax-base sharing is a mistake, politicians like Gov.
John Engler should work for other ways to solve the
problem.
There is something drastically wrong when the
main debate is between those who support a bla-
tantly unfair, class-based education funding system
versus those who support a somewhat less unfair
class-based system.
A complete reorganization of the system, with
equalized funding, is direly needed to provide
opportunity to all children. But in the meantime,
any attempt to redistribute the wealth and reduce
inequalities in public education should be com-
mended and enforced.

Germany needs aid
To the Daily:
There has been much talk
about the violence in Germany. I
in no way condone it, but I can
understand it. Germany is in the
midst of a recession and is
struggling to pay the costs of
reunification. The taxpayers have
watched their taxes steadily
increase for the past few years,
but with little reward to them.
The German constitution
requires Germany to allow
refugees in the country for
political asylum, and requires
Germany to give these refugees
shelter and social benefits. This

would be an enormous strain on
any country, but in this case, it is
magnified by the costs of reunifi-
cation.
Other countries, including the
United States, should help
Germany by taking in more
refugees or giving Germany
financial aid to make the burden
less harsh. People should realize
that, except for their constitution,
Germany is not responsible for
taking every person into it's .
borders. Germany should have the
right stop doing something that is
hurting it, without retribution from
the rest of the world.
James Werner
Engineering sophomore

VIEWPOI1NT
Planet of the worms

Kohl's emergency steps are justified

The recent rise of virulent Nazi extremism
in Germany has reintroduced the global com-
mynity to the dark right-wing fanaticism of this
historically militant European nation. The Nazi
skin-head movement this year has staged nearly
2,000 attacks on foreigners and asylum-seekers
and claimed the lives of 16 people in a powerful
manifestation of xenophobic and anti-Semitic
hatred. For months, though, German Prime Min-
ister Helmut Kohl and his ruling party, the Chris-
tian Democrats, ignored the frightening display of
Nazism. Only after the death of three Turkish
immigrants November 30 did the German govern-
ment take advantage of special constitutional pro-
visions to crush the "radical right mob."
After months of denial and delay, Kohl has
finally taken action. During the past week, the
Kohl government has established a special legal
task force to prosecute suspected rightist thugs,

48-year-old democracy to be fragile. Granted, the
conservative limitations and restrictions imposed
by the Kohl government to fight Nazism are some-
whatcounter-democratic. However, the useofstrong
steps to crush the dangerous German far-right is
needed to preserve the existing democratic state
and avert a perversion of democracy under the
Nazis.
Recognizing the danger of a resurgence of Na-
zism, Germany framed its liberal, democratic con-
stitution to include provisions that could deal with
such a crisis. The constitution allows the govern-
ment to limit some collective freedoms during
times of serious national disorder and internal chaos
in Germany.
Moreover, there exists little possibility the Ger-
man government will use the anti-rightist laws
against the general population as a whole. To main-
tain and protect the German democracy, the gov-

According to a recent news story,
cable television will be offering up
to 500 stations as soon as 1994.
What this means is that we had all
better graduate, get jobs and retire
before 1994 - at which point there
will be no compelling reason to
ever leave our homes again.
500 channels. 500 channels. You
could have a channel for every-
thing. You could have an entire
channel devoted solely to broccoli.
"Next on
The Broc-
coli Chan-
nel: We'll JONATHAN
profile a
new breed -
of broc-
coli being
developed
in Japan.
At 8:00 p.m., we'll present some
hot new broccoli dessert recipes. At
9:30 p.m., a Broccoli Channel ex-
clusive film: The Long Nightmare:
The Presidency of George Bush."
1 might not watch a station like
that, but I'm sure that somebody
would.
They could also O;velop a chan-

nel devoted to this sort of thing, we
might have a little variation. They
could even take requests. My own
animal confrontation fantasy is to
see a cheetah versus a cow. On the
one hand, you have a vicious kill-
ing machine that can run up to 60
miles an hour. On the other, you
have a 500-pound cheeseburger on
hooves, only more defenseless.
The point is, everybody who
owned a television would stay
home. Because, let's face it, it's not
too hard to go to class or work when
the alternative is watching profes-
sional bowling. But with 500 sta-
tions, there would always be some-
thing on. The economy would col-
lapse, and the United States would
becomeaThird World nation within
hours.
We have a situation somewhat
like this in my house already. Our
sofa contains a powerful tractor
beam which forces us to stay there
for six, seven hours in a row, even
to the point of watching the Coun-
try Music Channel. It puts a big
dentin our social life, but this might
actually prove to be a hidden ben-
efit.

others of us watch "Tom and Jerry,"
they will die much sooner.
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, "How can you
make scientific conclusions about
humans based on experiments con-
ducted on worms, which have much
smaller brains?" This is a common
myth. In fact, worms are far more
intelligent than humans. We only
see the stupid ones.
Think about it. Every time it
rains, what happens?
The stupid worms crawl out of
the earth onto sidewalks, where they
are stomped to death. T -. intelli-
gent worms remain unaerground,
where it's safe. The stupid worms
die. The intelligent worms survive
to mate and develop intelligent off-
spring.
It's simple evolution. Every time
it rains, the aggregate IQ of the
worm population increases. The
worms have probably established
some sort of international headquar-
ters, deep underground, where they
are developing advanced technol-
ogy with which to someday destroy
the human race and conquer the
planet.
Dnranni. . n. n av9 WlI r nn

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