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October 07, 1993 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-07

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4- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 7, 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

ANDREw LEvY
Editorial Page Editor

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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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PC and the quota queens

i

Last week, I introduced myself to
you and gave you an idea of what I'd
be discussing with
you. This week I
wanted to focus on
other things I said
I would address,
the idea of politi-
cal correctness,'
which has gar-
nered a lot of cov-
erage by the me-.
dia in all of itsTR D i
forms. The usual LeSter K.
approach to this Spence
topic has been to take one of the two
positions - either you're for it, or
against it. Or at least that's how it is
presented in the media.
Before I talk about my position, I
first want to present my ideas about
argument and debate. In many cases
the structure of the debate is as impor-
tant as the debate itself. If the terms
are set up in a way that gives an
advantage to one of the parties in-
volved, the individual placed on the
defensive side will be like black in a
game of chess - a move behind.
If the purpose of our discussion is
to arrive at a common understanding,
it is important that the language we
use is as clear and objective as pos-
sible in order to have a balanced de-
bate. Otherwise we run the risk of
debating about straw men (that is,
about issues that aren't important to
the real topic of debate), and ending
up farther apart than when we began.
Michael Crichton, author of Juras-
sic Park and Rising Sun, talks about
this in a recent issue of Wired (a
magazine devoted to information, and
information technologies.) According
to Crichton, the term "Japan-bashing"
was coined by an individual working
for a pro-Japan lobbying organiza-
tion. The purpose of this term was to
Spence's column appears every
other Thursday in the Daily.
Don't glorify sexist
cartoon characters
To the Daily:
I can no longer sit back and read
articles that glorify Beavis and Butt-
Head, like Chris Lepley's article,
"Hangin' with Beavis and Butt-
Head." (9/30/93)
He describes them as "...a pair of
immature, sexist, vaguely
homophobic idiots..." who have
become the "wunderkind of our
generation." I could not agree more
with this description, but at what
point are we going to stop glorifying
sexism and homophobia as
entertaining?
When are words like "chicks,"
one of Beavis and Butt-Heads'
favorite words, going to garner the
same rejection as words like spic
and "nigger?" Though words
themselves are not the central issue,
they do point to a larger problem:
sexism and homophobia are still
overtly accepted norms of behavior
by our society.
We must stop accepting this.
JOHN STRAW
Education senior

stifle the debate of Japanese policy.
According to the individual who
coined the term, "Anyone who uses
that phrase is my intellectual dupe."
Along these lines, anyone who uses
the term "Japan bashing" whether or
not he or she is using the term hon-
estly, is confusing the real issues by
using a term created to keep the people
from criticizing the Japanese.
The term "political correctness"
is very similar. I think the issues of
speech codes and curriculum changes
should be open to public debate, and
I don't think anyone disagrees with
this position. However, to attempt to
cloak these legitimate issues under
the phrase "political correctness" is
to stifle the debate on it, leaving even
those people who may be for these
things in the uncomfortable position
of either a) agreeingwith those people
who appropriated the term, serving
as their "dupe" in the process, or b)
defending the concept of "political
correctness" as one which is benefi-
cial. Both positions are losing ones,
in that the first concedes victory to
the opposing view before the debate
has even begun, while the second
position debates using a structure that
gives an advantage to the opposing
view. Members of the University who
sponsored a conference on "political
correctness" a few years ago founds
themselves in such an uncomfortable
position.
I talked to Lani Guinier last week,
and I think her example ties into this
very well. Forces against her nomi-
nation were able to paint a picture of
her as a "quota queen" by misinter-
preting and slanting her writings. Even
President Clinton (who was suppos-
edly a close friend) found himself in
agreement with those forces, citing
her views as "undemocratic." It's
funny, because some of the remedies
that she proposed were adopted dur-
ing the Reagan and Bush years by
those who weren't the most support-

ive of African American rights. And
her concepts regarding the preserva.
tion of minority interests go back t,
Madison and Hamilton. However,
once the anti-Guinier forces were able
to create the structure and terms of the
debate ("Is she for. quotas or isn'i
she?"), it was impossible to use these
facts to present another viewpoint.
I personally wonder why the anti
Guinier forces (which I think are very
similar to those who have created th-
concept of "political correctness as
evil") have found it so important t7
paint an inaccurate depiction of her2
works. There are two possible rea-.
sons that I can come up with. It is.
possible they actually believe that thei
are interpreting her views (and in this.
case, the concepts embedded withiii
the notion of "political correctness')
in a fair, impartial manner. It is also
possible, though, that they have a
certain agenda in mind and wish tq
support this agenda by skewing her'
record. I don't support the first notion
because I don't think these individu
als are stupid. In fact, given their
deftness at manipulating issues, I be#
lieve the total opposite. That leave
me with the second possibility. Why
would someone skew the debate ii}
such a manner?
Just as the views held by Guinier
upon reasoned, thoughtful examina
tion can be seen within the realm of
"mainstream" legal thought, the con-
cepts of an education that stresses th
achievements of all peoples, and
climate in which people treat eac,
other with respect, once viewed
through a clear lens, will appear rea-
sonable. You and I may still disagree
upon the fine points, but we still agree
upon the essence. And I think this is
the key as to why debate on so many
issues is skewed in this fashion. Some
people are afraid that, given a bal-
anced debate, we will come to a com-
mon understanding that will render
their causes irrelevant.
include the rights to speech,
expression, thought, and
association.
The price of liberty is s
eternal vigilance because the threats
to liberty are similarly constant and
eternal. And right here, right now,,
one of those threats is the Ann
Arbor Coalition to Defend Abortion
and Reproductive Rights/National
Women's Rights Organizing
Committee (AACDARR/NWROC).
FREDERICK WEIHE
Co-Chair,
Ann Arbor Libertarian League
DAILY
Send your letters to:
Letters to the Editor
The Miciyy3
420Mynr

Choice is the solution for education

basic philosophical tenets.
Unfortunately, the groups here
that have pelted Nazis with rocks,
as well as those who support such
activities while claiming to oppose
fascism, are in fact guilty of
fascism's worst crimes. The
willingness to silence others by
force; to physically threaten,
coerce, or injure those with whom
they disagree; these are the tools of
totalitarians. These are in fact the
tools used by the small groups of
Nazi thugs in the 1920s and 30s,
that helped to silence or eliminate
their opposition.
The willingness to assault
individuals for their group
associations is another common
sign of the fascist. While we may,
perhaps even should, condemn and
despise someone who joins a right-
wing hate group, that is not an
excuse for violence against them. If
a member of a group commits a
crime, then that individual is guilty
of that crime. We may hate the
group that the criminal belongs to,
especially if the group condones the
violent or criminal activity. But the
crime 's guilt can rest only with the
individual who committed it, and
no other may be justly punished for

Michigan has been blessed with
an abundance of outstanding teachers
and school administrators. The ques-
tion is: Why have they not achieved
the success they deserve?
A decade ago, those who argued
that the system was the problem, that
it needed to be opened up to the rigors
of the marketplace and customer ser-
vice, were voices in the wilderness.
Today that view predominates, and
serious reformers differ only in terms
of how far they are willing to go in this
direction.

that does not limit choice only to
government schools. Parents who
choose private schools, by electing to
pay twice for the education of their
children, have taken the notion of
"parental involvement" literally and
often at great sacrifice. They are
choosing schools that, with few ex-
ceptions, are marked by success at
remarkably low cost. Unfortunately,
many parents are unable to afford this
choice.
Accordingly, the Mackinac Cen-
ter believes the principal order of

framed.
Organized under four "pillars," the
Mackinac Center education reform
plan seeks to infuse marketplace vir-
tues into the provision of education in
our state. Those virtues include pa-
rental choice, diversity, competition,
accountability, cost containment,
privatization of support services, lo-
cal control via empowered parents
and school management, entrepre-
neurial opportunities for teachers and
administrators, decentralization, and
the creation of new schools.
Af'M ft flCw bA~lf '._iA Yi - .N1

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