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January 17, 1995 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-17

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 17, 1995 - 3

Panel sees
limited
gams for
minorities
By JODi-OHEN
Daily Staff Reporter
While thecivil rights movement's
actual achievements are limited, pub-
lic opinion remains optimistic, panel-
ists at an Institute for Social Research-
sponsored MLK Day event reported
yesterday.
Thirty years after passage of some
of the most far-reaching civil rights
legislation, the public seems to be-
lieve that there has been an improve-
ment in race relations in the United
States, the researchers said.
The panel lecture titled "Race in
America: 1965-1995, How far have
we come?" discussed the lack of im-
provements since the time of Martin
Luther King.
University research scientist James
Jackson told the audience what he
believed King would say if he could
see today's society.
"He would be pleased with the
accomplishments of peoples of color
and women, but he would be appalled
at the continuing and increasing in-
equality," Jackson said.
University Population StudiesProf.
Reynolds Farley said social and eco-
nomic trends among the Black popula-
tion over the last several decades mdi-
cates that the white population has
disproportionately favorable living
conditions compared toBlackcitizens.
"One of the overarching indica-
tors of the social and economic status
of Blacks shows there was a clear
improvement f1or Blacks between
1940 and the mid-'70s, but since that
time there have been few relative gains
for Blacks," Farley said. "Relative
earnings for Blacks have not gone up,
and there is no evidence of a detrac-
- tion in the gap that separates African
Americans from whites."
University of Chicago Political
Science Prof. Lynn Sanders focused
her lecture on the social aspects of
inequality.
"On the issue of whether racial
attitudes are really improving among
whites, there is some complexity es-
pecially when you look at affirmative
action policies because whites are
opposing affirmative action policies
in high numbers," Sanders said.
"In terms of prejudicial attitudes,
whites may be becoming more preju-
diced. If you look at 1992 compared
to 1972, more whites are saying that
'if Blacks would only try harder, that
they could be just as well off as
Wwhites,"' she added.
Hank Heitowit, organizer of the
event, was surprised by the panelists'
pessimistic outlook on racial progress.
"This shows that social science re-
search gives amuch more pessimistic
view of how far we have come during
the past 30 years than the general
population may perceive," he said.

Chisholm mourns
'death' of activism

EMU students protest MLK Day classes
Members of Eastern Michigan University's Student Organization of African-American Unity protest at the Radisson
Hotel in Ypsilanti where the colleges's MLK luncheon was held. Classes at EMU were originally cancelled but then
reinstated, prompting the group to boycott classes and the luncheon. EMU will cancel MLK Day classes next year.

By LISA DINES
Daily Staff Reporter
Former U.S. Rep. Shirley
Chisholm urged students to keep
Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of
activism alive on today's racially di-
verse college campuses at a standing-
room-only lecture in Hale Audito-
rium yesterday.
"The state of activism today is
very, very dead," said Chisholm, the
first Black woman to serve in Con-
gress.
Chisholm, a Democrat from New
York, said both students and the gov-
ernment have a responsibility to aid
what she called "the nation's growing
underclass." Chisholm credited King
for recognizing that a nation should
be judged by how it cares for its least
viable citizens.
"The streets of our cities have be-
come dumping grounds for the men-
tally ill, homeless, jobless and gener-
ally forgotten," she said. "If Black
power refuses to acknowledge its debt
to the poor it will have failed to live up
to its promise."
Chisholm said King's dream re-
mains unfulfilled because of growing
apathy in the nation. She lamented
that racial violence has replaced the
campus activism of the '60s.
Chisholm said social segregation
still occurs in universities today be-
cause students choose their associa-
tions based on race. She pressed stu-
dents to learn from the diverse envi-
ronment at the University.
"The distances between Black and
white are increasing while the civil
rights laws seem to be crumbling in
our hands," she said. "My greatest
fear is that the will of progress has
been halted because we no longer
have our shoulders to the wheel."
Chisholm said the nation is suffer-
ing from "compassion fatigue." She
said House Speaker Newt Gingrich
and the "New Right" have pushed the
civil rights movement backward

Pollution, la
By DANIEL JOHNSON
Daily Staff Reporter
Air pollution and waste disposal
disproportionately plague people of
color, a panel of speakers reported
yesterday.
Four scholars and activists ap-
peared on a panel titled "The Struggle
for Environmental Justice," as part of
the University's MLK Day sympo-
sium to address this problem.
The concept of environmental rac-
ism was explained by associate SNRE
Prof. Bunyan Bryant as: "Those insti-
tutional rules, regulations, policies or
behaviors ... that target communities
of color for the disposal of hazardous
waste."
Studies conducted by Bryant and
fellow associate SNRE Prof. Paul
Mohai have illustrated that income
level and ethnicity are the two pri-

ndfills plagu
mary factors influencing the location 1
of hazardous waste sites.I
The panelists discussed possible,
paths to a state of "environmental
justice."
Kathy Milberg, director of South-+
west Detroit Environmental Vision
Project said, "There are 76 munici-
palities which daily flush their toilets
on my community," which she noted
was two-thirds comprised of minori-
ties. She was apparently referring to a
toxic incinerator located in her neigh-1
borhood that receives the waste of
other municipalities.1
Milberg and other panelists
stressed the need for a more compre-
hensive environmentalism, one that1
focuses on more than the preservation ;
of whales and wetlands.
Baldemar Velazquez, director of
the Farm Labor Organizing Commit-

e the poor
tee, denounced the narrow scope of
traditional environmental groups such
as the World Wildlife Fund.
"They protect migrant birds better
than they do migrant workers in this
country," he said.
Velazquez has been organizing
farm workers for 25 years to free
them from their "position of power-
lessness," he said.
"The same people who get poison
dumped in their communities and on
their bodies are the same ones who
are without economic and political
power," Velazquez said.
"From a middle-class point of
view, people don't see that people are
being forced to choose between waste
and jobs," said Cedric Ricks, aUniver-
sity graduate student injournalism who
attended the discussion. "This was re-
ally an enlightening experience."

through spending cuts in educationl
and social services.
She said citizens should challenge
the government if necessary.
"We must, if necessary, resort to,
the march again," she said. "We can-
not afford to sit back and just com-
plain and just whine."
LSA junior Iran Naqvi said she:
was motivated by Chisholm's speech.
"She not only inspired me to become
more active, but hopefully inspired,
the entire community to become ac-*
tive as a whole," she said.

Author says Blacks still treated unfairly ..

By RACHEL LASKY
For the Daily
In a lecture yesterday, bellhooks, award-
winning author, said society treats Blacks
differently than it does people of other races.
Hooks said she only uses lowercase let-
ters in her name because she believes that
what is said is more important than who
says it.
"Black people are stigmatized in ways
that are unique to our reality," hooks said
during her lecture titled "Conflict and Com-
munity."
She discussed what she termed the over-
whelming rage Blacks feel in the face of
racism.
She recalled that Martin Luther King
spoke longingly of a community that did
not place value on skin color. However,
hooks said she believes that instead of ac-
cepting King's message, "most white folks
are absorbing the theory of white su-

premacy."
She said she fears as long as these
feelings persist, there will never be a
multicultural community. She added that
while many Blacks fear there is no end to
white supremacy in sight, they must re-
member the hope and love of King.
"Love is the antithesis of the will to
dominate," she said. "It is not a sentimental
love, but a love of justice."
Hooks said she believes that rather than
ignoring cultural differences in the quest
for cultural equality, society must accept
and honor these differences.
"Whites live in fearof people of color. It
borders on cultural hysteria," hooks said.
She said whites believe that Blacks are
mentally and genetically inferior and asked
from where this unfounded fear stems. She
said this fear blocks the struggle to form a
unified community.
Hooks said she believes that society

conditions white people to think Blacks will
try to take what they want by any means
possible.
She stressed this is not the time to en-
dorse racial separatism because white people,
are capable of changing their supremacist
values. She said society cannot lose its
senses of patience, hope and love.
Hooks said that although racism may be
a difficult subject to discuss, "we need to
raise students that can interrogate them-
selves without blame.
"We are all able to assert anti-racist
habits of being," hooks said.
In answer to King's questions, "Where
do we go from here?" hooks said she be-
lieves society needs to pursue King's vision
of racial justice and community.
Hooks is the author of several award-
winning books such as, "Yearning: Race,
Gender, and Cultural Politics" and "Ain't I
a Woman."

Author hooks signs a book yesterday at the Union Ballroom.

*Students, faculty spend day honoring
King by performing community service

By SPENCER DICKINSON
Daily Staff Reporter
Martin Luther King often spoke of
involvement in the community.
This year, students, faculty and staff
had a chance to spend MLK Day per-
forming community service in Ann
Arbor with the Acting on a Dream
Program.
The Office of Community Service
Learning and Project Serve coordinated
with the MLK Day Symposium Com-
mittee to present aone-day community
service program for people interested
in spending the afternoon working on
an aspect of King's dream.
0 The program - which takes its
name from King's "I Have a Dream"

speech - sent approximately 180
people to 14 sites around Washtenaw
County to participate in activities from
construction work for Habitat for Hu-
manity to child care at the Ann Arbor
Jewish Community Center.
LSA senior Anyika Turnershowed
up to lend a hand at the Washtenaw
County Library for the Blind. "I
thought it would be a good way to
spend MLK Day," she said.
Cathy Slowey, a staffmember in the
Financial Aid Office, also participated
in the day's service events. Shesaid she
was there "just to give it a try."
OCSL Director Jeff Howard said,
"If we can get people to act on King's
dream today, hopefully they'll keep

coming back and help out on a regular
basis."
Frank Cianciola, associate dean of
students, led a team of volunteers to the
Ecumenical Campus Centeron Church
Street. He saw the program as "one way
to commemorate the dream of Martin
Luther King, and a way to actualize."
First-year LSA student Karen
Cunningham went to Dawn Farm, an
Ann Arbor substance abuse rehabili-
tation center. "I think the event went
well," she said.
On her decision to give up a chance
to hear speakers and attend discus-
sions, Cunningham said, "I'd much
rather go out and do something than
sit around and listen and talk."

* WTErLfISTo

I

*
*'
*

*

W HA1T The Second Annual Winter
Student Organization Fair
WE H Wednesday, January 18,
1995 11:00AM- 4:00 PM
WHEk Michigan Union Ballroom and
Pendleton room
Come in from the cold and see all that is
offered to you.
A variety of student organizations will be available

*

Group Meetings
Q Alianza, 764-2677, Trotter
House, Mail lobby, 7 p.m.
U CollegeRepublicans,668-4664,
Michigan League, Menderson
Room, 6:30 p.m.
Q Folk Dance Club, North Cam-

p.m.
3 Thai Students Association,
weekly planning meeting, 663-
7299, Michigan Union, Michi-
gan Room, 6 p.m.
0 Undergraduate Anthropology
Club, 913-5363, Michigan
Union, Tap Room, 7 p.m.

Character," sponsored by
Dept. of Near Eastern Stud-
ies, Frieze Building, Room
3050, 4 p.m.
O "Single-Pulse & Multiple-
Pulse Femtosecond Spec-
troscopy: Observation Of&
Control Over Collective

i

I

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