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April 06, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Tuesday, April 6,1993

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

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JOSH DuBow
Editor in Chief
ERIN UIZA EINHORN
OpinionEditor

T'7

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, signed articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

1.

ON GUARD
Ann Arbor police need a citizen review board

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MItE ANN ARBOR Police Department (AAPD)
has recently strengthened its complaint
policyin order to ensure that "Ann Arbor's
finest" stay that way. In an attempt to "be more
open" to the public, AAPD has supposedly
made it easier for citizen complaints to affect
officers' records. While the department should
be praised for its enlightened attitude, its less-
than-honest approach leaves something to be
desired.
Previously, a citizen
complaint against an
AAPDofficerwasnotof-
ficially noted by the de-
partment until it was°
proven true by thehead of
AAPD's Professional
Standards Section. Now,
under AAPD's newx
policy, every citizen re-
portis officially registered
as a complaint, regardless
of its veracity. However,
a citizen's report is still
subjectto departmental re-
view before any disciplinary action is taken.
And just as before, the chief makes the final
decision on the complaint.
This process of internal review can only
work when a department's chief cares more
about protecting the public from errant officers
than protecting his department from criticism.
But AAPD, like any public organization, is
undoubtedly worried about being saddled with
a negative public image. The chief's job perfor-
mance is intricately linked to his ability to con-
trol his officers. If a department's officers have
a negative reputation, so does the chief. In the
end, he could lose his job.
Thus, instead of allowing an independent,

outside citizen group to investigate complaints
in a public forum, AAPD has taken this investi-
gative role upon itself, keeping investigations
within the department and subject to the chief's
final judgment.
A police chief, however, is often not the most
objective judge of right and wrong when it
comes to disciplining his own officers.
This policy of internal review must change if
AAPD hopes to create a
real understanding with
the citizens of Ann Ar-
bor. The University's
Police Grievance Com-
mittee provides a model
(albeit an imperfect one)
of a truly open citizen
complaint process. This
board is composed of stu-
dents, faculty and staff
who review complaints
against the University's
Department of Public
Safety (DPS). Although
DPS investigates com-
plaints and the director of DPS makes final
disciplinary decisions, the committee's exist-
ence at least opens the review process to the
University community.
Ann Arbor's force needs a similar review
process. Like the University's board, a city
police review board should fairly represent its
diverse community. Separate student and mi-
nority board positions could be offered in addi-
tion to seats basedon Ann Arbor's existing ward
system.
Such a board would ensure that Ann Arbor's
police officers maintain high standards of just,
unbiased professionalism - and suggest pun-
ishment when they do not.

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rJ AAILY q3

Sexuality is not black and white

_ _

On March 18, Natosha Morris wrote an
article entitled "Homosexuality is Not a
Nationality." Many of my friends were
'upset by this article. However, I think that

I

IA

On the Fence

Unfortunately, the roots of the linkage
of sexual orientation are often ignored, and
the analogy is usually just used as an argu-
ment for acceptance from heterosexual so-
ciety. "I can't help it, I was born this way."
is expected to gainus civil rights in the same
way that African Americans have gained
civil rights.
This whole strategy of co-optation is
doomed tofailure. AsNatoshaMorris wrote,
race and sexuality are not the same The
analogy itself is informed by a racist as-
sumption that all lesbian and gay people are
white. No one would make an analogy
comparing women to African American
people, because it is obvious that some-
where around half of African Americans
are women. In the same way, when white
lesbian and gay male activists use the race
analogy, they are ignoring all of the African

basis of a biologically informed sexual ori-
entation that is similar to race, seems pretty
silly.
Lesbian and gay rights activists should,
give up on the race analogy, stop focusing;,
on the gay/straight dichotomy, and start,
talking more about how sexuality affects all
of us. The fight for queer rights is not about
just liberating lesbians and gay men from
their oppression. It is about making it pos-
sible for everyone - especially people
who identify themselves as heterosexual -
to be able to accept and value the feelings
they have for members of the same gender.
One last thought: the racism evident in
white lesbian, gay, and bisexual communi- A
ties is not an excuse for homophobia from 3
people outside those communities. One's
oppression does not give one the right to
oppress others. Natosha Morris is just as",

Moms raised some points that lesbians, gay
men, and bisexual people who are involved
in social change work need to listen to and
think about.
First of all, Morris is totally right in her
repeated assertion that "race and sexual
orientation are not the same." They are
completely different things, even though
racism is often used as an analogy by les-
bian and gay activists for the oppression
that les/bi/gay people experience.
The lesbian and gay rights movement
has linked itself to the struggle of African
American people in this country for several
reasons: First, because the Civil Rights
Movement has succeeded in making at least
overt racism unacceptable in liberal soci-
ety. Secondly, because the African Ameri-
can community is a compelling model to a
group of people struggling to create com-
munity in the face of oppression. Lastly,
because a lot of the early leaders of the
lesbian and gay rights movement, like the
early leaders of the second wave of the
feminist movement, were trained for politi-
cal action by the civil rights movement.

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The fight for queer rights is not about just liberating
lesbians and gay men from their oppression.

STDs AND WOMEN
Government must refocus funmds, research

Americans, and other people of color, who
are lesbians, gay men, or bisexual people.
For many people, possibly most people,
sexuality is fluid. Many people feel that
they have made a choice to have sexual/
emotional relationships with members of
the same gender and to identify with a
community of people who support those
relationships. Others feel that gender is
irrelevant, and that they love particular
people, regardless of their biology. In the
face of this diversity of the opinion that
asserts that lesbians, gay men, and bisexual
people must be given civil rights on the

guilty as white les/bi/gay people of ignor-
ing the fact that lesbians, gay men, and
bisexual people are notalljust white middle-
class male media clones.
People who love people of their own
gender exist in every community. Some
may identify as lesbian;'gay, or bisexual,
others may not. Whether or not their de-
sires, attractions, and relationships are a
choice is irrelevant. Civil rights should not
be contingent on proven heterosexuality.
Bradley's column appears on the
Opinon page every other Tuesday.'

A

AST WEEK, THE Alan Guttmacher Institute,
a non-profit organization concerned with
eproductive health, released a study that
unfortunately revealed more than one in five of
all Americans are infected with a viral sexually
transmitted disease (STD). What's more tragic
than this study is the careless manner in which
the federal government has fought this problem.
The report found that women represent most
of the people with STDs. However, all current
federal funding goes exclusively to STD clinics
that primarily cater to men. According to the
report's author, Patricia Donovan, 95 percent of
these STD clinics arenotsuitedto detect chamy-
dia and gonorrhea infections in women. More-
over, the report reveals that most Americans are
infected with STDs that can only be controlled
and not cured. The federal government needs to
act responsibly by starting prevention programs
and providing funding to STD clinics that ad-
dress women's health and research.
Itis troubling tonotethatuntil April 1993,the
federal government has been so callous as to put
tax money into programs without realizing who
STDs affect most. The governmenthas thought-
lessly given complete funding to the 4,000 STD
clinics that cater mostly to men without ac-
knowledging that most of the 56 million Amen-

cans infected with STDs are women. The gov-
ernment must realize that more complicated
problems occur in women, especially if they are
carrying children, and that support for these
clinics and further research is needed to easily
detect and cure these problems.
According to the recent research, the govern-
ment has committed three errors in fighting
these diseases. Government research has fo-
cused too much on syphilis, has centered its
efforts around men, and did not focus at all on
prevention. The government needs to realize
that until some cures are found for most STD
viruses, the best way to curb the spread of
infection is prevention. Programs that enforce
awareness and condom-use need to be funded
immediately.
Until the government takes this problem
seriously, the rate at which people are infected
will continue to increase, and the treatment
process will continue to be ineffective. The
government must hasten its steps to help the
majority of the infected. While providing for
research in order to find various cures for STDs,
the government in the meantime must fund
prevention programs if it does not want even
more people to be caught in the web of STD
viruses.

CSACS protest
misguided
To the Daily:
Some time ago.I decided to
attend the University for its
liberal education, its free-
thinking individuals and its
many active social organiza-
tions. These groups, usually
supporting worthy causes,
have never offended me until
now. A new group on campus,
Christian Students Agpst
Coffee Shops (CSACS), has
jumped the electric protest
fence by claiming that "Jesus
didn't drik coffee" and that
"these shops are based on
immoral foundations." These
self-righteous liberals are not
only wasting their own time,
but they are also disturbing the
content lives of those students
around them. I stopped to ask
just what is immoral about
coffee shops and received
dodging responses like: "At
one time the Koran banned the
drinking of coffee." I for one
can find nothn offensive in a
coffee shop. It is a social
gatheringp lace where pel
meet to tal, drink coffee and
do homework. It is a much
better alternative to a bar or
fraternit party. I recognize
the valiity of the Chnstian
faith on campus and think that
these people are belittling
their own beliefs with this
form of protest. I think it's
another example of how the
Christian name can be stuck
on a worthless function or
organization to promote the
idiotic ideas of a perverse few.
It is amazing that they place
such sincerity on the unseen
immoralities of coffee shops.

To the Daily:
I feel Ms. Natosha Morris'
"Informative Action" feature
(3/18/93) on "Homosexuality
as a Nationality" was a
misrepresentation of the facts
of oppression, and her didactic
rantings are particularly
revealing of her lack of
knowledge about both gay
politics and our culture.
First, out of all the back
and forth arguing I've heard
on the topic of gay rights, I
have never heard use of "the
entire Black race in America
as an example of comparative
degradation." I agree that
being a visible minority such
as a Black American does
carry with it different social
factors, unlike being an
"invisible minority." How-
ever, like Blacks, gay people
are born that way. A choice is

involved when a person
"comes out of the closet," but
whether or not a person
chooses to do so, they live in a
world that tells them what they
are is no good.
I will not stoop to the
tactics employed by Ms.
Morris, which seemed to say
one minority has suffered
more nobly than another, or
one's cross is more of a
burden than another's. Civil
rights in America have been a
long, hard battle, a battle that
is far from over. Homosexuals
are not a group that "just woke
up and realized they are.
oppressed in this society," as
Ms. Morris would lead us to
believe. The battle for gay
rights has been waged
throughout history, on every
soil, regardless of color or
creed.

Homosexuals have
endured degradation, discrimi-
nation, and death, as have
many oppressed minorities.
My point is, minorities
need to stop bickering
between themselves, each
claiming to be more of a
martyr than another. Ms.
Morris' heavy-handed article
accomplishes nothing but
furthering a gap of misunder-
standing between groups of
society. Civil rights are about
equality for all people. Maybe
minority groups could learn
something about themselves
from examining how other
groups and cultures have dealt
with, and are dealing with, the
oppression they are faced with
in society.
Joseph Burns
University Staff

I

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Morris' column furthers misunderstanding

A STEP FORWARD

Focus on abortion ban
IE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION announced
last week its plan to ask Congress to limit
the ban on federal funding for abortions.
The ban, known as the Hyde amendment, has
been in effect for 16 years and prohibits the use
of federal funds for abortions for poor women
unless the woman's life is in danger. This is an
excellent move on the administration's part,
demonstrating once again the president's com-
mitment to abortion rights.
Hyde amendment advocates argue that tax-
payers should not have to pay for another
woman's abortion. Yet those who complain
about "paying for poor women's abortions" pay
for other medical Drocedures - for the very

should be commended
with less money from seeking the same.advan-
tages as their more privileged counterparts. The
government ban says, in effect, the kind ofrights
a person has depends on whether she receives
any assistance from her government.
Furthermore, the Hyde Amendment not only
discriminates against disadvantaged women, it
is also a tacit form of racial discrimination. The
disproportionate number of minority women on
Medicaid ensures that they will be the ones to
feel most of the effects of the ban. This is no
accident - it is a direct result of the racist
assumption that minority women "use abortion
as birth control." By imposing the federal ban,
those who feel this way can express their con-

Historical basis of Christian faith should be studied

:.3

To the Daily:
Sean McMillen raised a
significant question about the
authority of the Bible in his
recent letter, "Christian
scripture irrational,
homophobic" (3/30/93). Why
should anyone believe
anything the Bible says?
Further, why should anyone
accept the scriptural concept
of God as real? However,
McMillen neglected to
address both the vulnerability
Ief --:.:- .st .. that .--ma

so we would have to make
presuppositions about what
we can know and the nature of
the world _ which would
itself be open to attack. In
other words, we cannot prove
McMillen's claim by our own
academic efforts, which is
exactly what he wants
Christians to do for their claim
that the scriptures are true and
divinely inspired. Taking any
position requires some faith,
be it faith that we made up
rnrthha t 14 rr.x..,u -.at

Do we doubt The Gallic Wars
assertion that it was written by
Julius Caesar simply because
we cannot prove it? The
Christian concept of
humankind's relationship with'
God comes from the highly
reputable Bible. In contrast,
because the idea put forth by
McMillen and some psycholo-
gists and philosophers rests on,,
debatable premises and
subjective observations, it can
have no more (and in fact,

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