4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 8, 1995
Ufe Sdia 1aig
STANDING ON THE
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
Lessons for the jobless,
planlkss and futureless
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Afrme ative action
Prograns still needed to achieve balance
It has become politically en vogue to attack
affirmative action and the number of fed-
eral and state programs that fall under that
name. In Congress, Republicans are sound-
ing the call for an end to federal affirmative
action programs. In California, Republican
Gov. Pete Wilson has declared his intention
to abolish state affirmative action if a voter
mandate supports it. If Wilson decides to run
for president in 1996 -or even if he does not
- it is expected to be a major issue on the
Republican ticket. Here in Michigan, the
idea of race-based scholarships
has been contentiously debated.
Gov. John Engler recently an-
nounced his intentions to end a
program that helps Native
Americans attend public uni-
versities, and many at the Uni-
versity object to programs and w
scholarships designed to recruit'
and retain minority students.
The overriding question in 1964: Lynd
all these separate debates has
been whether or not it is time to end affirma-
tive action. The answer is an unequivocal no.
Those who oppose affirmative action ar-
gue that its programs harm qualified white
males in order to benefit minorities and
women. Despite scare-tactics denouncing
"quotas,", affirmative action programs -
including special recruitment
and set-aside contracts -
merely level the playing field W
for all who compete. If 10 per- ,
cent of government contracts are
set aside for women and minori-
ties, that still leaves 90 percent
up for grabs -and if a given
competitor cannot obtain a con-
tract from the remaining 90 per-
cent, then he or she is obviously 1995: New
women are no longer such rarities in certain
positions that they are stigmatized as "token"
Affirmative action was conceived and
implemented during President Lyndon
Johnson's Great Society, as a way of account-
ing for the hundreds of years of discrimination
against AfricanAmericans. The programs have
been expanded over the years to include other
minorities and women, who have also his-
torically been deprived of economic and so-
cial power. Now, 30 years later, many have
decided that history has been an-
swered, equity has been achieved
and affirmative action can end.
Yet this decision has less to do
Swithhistorical timing than with
F political opportunism. Affirma-
<' tive action is just one aspect of
the new conservative backlash
in the United States. The issue
has become one of many in a
n Johnson campaign against federal pro-
grams such as attacked welfare,
student loans, food stamps and service to
immigrants. While slashing these programs
would be detrimental to the nation, Republi-
cans can at least begin to justify them on the
basis of fiscal policy.
However, the same cannot be said of
affirmative action, which only costs the gov-
ernment a tiny amount for ad-
ministration. The drive to cut
<u,, affirmative action is little more
than a political ploy. Republi-
cans, capitalizing on American
citizens' frustration with eco-
nomic hardship and the "shrink-
ing middle class," have seized
affirmative action as a conve-
nient scapegoat. By attacking af-
Gingrich firmative action, they plan not
only to solidify support among
their own constituency, but to split the Demo-
cratic party along class and racial lines and
thus strengthen their own political fortunes.
PresidentClinton has recently been attacked
from all sides on the affirmative action issue.
When pressured by conservatives, he ordered
a review of federal programs - and was then
criticized by liberals who view affirmative
action as sacred and flawless. This is unfair.
Affirmative action programs, while clearly
necessary in society, are not without faults,
and an extensive study is the most intelligent
course of action Clinton could take. If any
decisions are to be made about affirmative
action, complete information is essential. Any
changes must be made slowly and after con-
siderable study, not to satisfy short-term po-
The ultimate goal of both liberals and
conservatives in the United States is to have
a society that awards jobs, contracts and
other benefits on the basis of a person's
merit, not his or her race, gender or other
physical characteristics. However, without a
crystal ball, knowing when that day will
arrive is impossible. One thing is certain: It is
not today. As a way to level the playing field
for minorities and women, affirmative action
still plays an important role in this country.
The time to end it has not yet arrived.
on't have a job? Great. Join my club:
Students Without a Job Club of
Michigan. I picked the name out myself.
We who are in this club - so far it's
only me officially - are stressed. We
don't have jobs. We don't have futures.
We deal with classes. We write theses. We
have all kinds of extracurricular commit-
ments. And to boot, we have to plan our
futures. These are the joys of college.
Then, as though club members are not
stressed enough, non-members keep rub-
bing in our disparity. Almost in an attempt
to sneer, they ask us: "What do you plan to
do with your life?" I normally smile, think
obscenities to myself and say, "We'll see."
Because the heck if I know.
To alleviate the stress, I think of my
time in Italy. I think of passports.
My German friend Christoph didn't
have one as we were driving through Aus-
tria, about to hit our destination, Italy.
Austrian border control was kind to the
non-passport carrying German. Italians
"They won't even stop us," Christoph
"Oh, and what if they do?" Of course
they will stop us. All customs employees
do for a living is stop people. They will
"Then they stop us," he said. "Don't
worry. It'll work out."
Work out, my ass. These guys told us to
drive back to Germany; that's how it
So we turned around and headed back
- until Christoph stopped, checked his
map and turned left for another border
"Let's try crossing here. I'll bet we
have better luck this time," he said. "I can
Feel, my ass. I wasn't ready to have
customs bust us for disobeying orders.
These guys before were serious and if we
tried again, then maybe we'd be snagged.
Maybe they had radioed saying to watch
out for us, saying that we should be jailed
or something. They'd probably ban us
OK, I'm crazy. But the point is that this
little trek-over was stupid. The rickety
drive, just to have a new set of customs
officers tell us the same thing, would add
four hours to our return trip. The joys of
Although the scenery along the way
was amazing, I didn't notice. I was pissing
and moaning at Christoph, the oblivious-
I only came to my senses when Christoph
We were at the top of a mountain that
I now have engraved in my brain. Below
was blue water like I'd never seen blue. A
narrow curving road leading to the distant
lake passed a sign: Benvenuti. Above us,
at the top, was a little hut.
"That was customs," Christoph said.
They hadn't even stopped us. I don't think
there was anybody there.
And so we were not only in Italy,
without a passport, but we were above a
bluest of blue lake in Italy, on a mountain
like none I'd ever seen. This was gor-
geous. This was God. And it would never
have happened had the German moron
remembered his passport and never tried
to screw customs. Christoph had taught
me a lot.
"You see. It all works out in the end,"
he said. "Somehow things always work
This was my first lesson in trust of
sometimes uncontrollable events.
Like a lake in Italy, the unexpected can
sometimes be better than the planned.
I have no idea where I'll be in three,
excuse me, two months. I'm trying differ-
ent job leads, jobs I think I'll like. I think
I'll like journalism, but we'll see. I only
know that I'll be doing something differ-
ent than I am now. I keep looking, and
somehow happiness, I trust, will happen.
But what is there to trust?
We are all capable. We will all have a
nice degree pretty soon. We can push for
what we want. Trust yourself. Why the
racing around trying to send out more
resumes than anybody on campus? We
don't need stress. We need jo6s.
I personally would like to reduce the
membership of the Students Without a Job
Club of Michigan from me to zero. And
I'd like to do so by sending as few resumes
as possible. I've sent two. This is a club
SWJCM has nontraditional methods,
philosophies if you will, that reduce stress
and, we believe, actually increase the
chances of landing enjoyable jobs:
Trust that you know what you want,
even if you think you don't.
Plant a seed, and wait for growth. Cast
your line with bait, and wait; pull on
Try new border crossings.
Along the way, remember to enjoy the
scenery and not just look at it. Enjoy,
because pissing and moaning achieves
These philosophies so far have worked
for members of my club.
Hit in the face by beauty, I thank my
German friend for being an idiot. He taught
Good luck to all graduating seniors.
May you find your happiness.
1aip As TOAST
- CREC% LwU6AAJ's
TOP OF T14
"The parties that
are in control
elitists that are
out of touch with
- MSA vice-presidential
not the best "qualified." Fur-
thermore, while affirmative action has helped
over the past 30 years to equalize societal
benefits, companies, universities and other
areas of competition are still far from reflec-
tive of the racial makeup of society. From
statistics alone, it is clear that white males
still have the upper hand.
What is not as evident from statistics are
the ways affirmative action has benefited the
American population. Through federal pro-
grams, minorities and women have been able
to enter levels of business previously closed
to them. In this way, they have been able to
gain the experience necessary to create a
qualified pool of applicants - including all
races and both genders - for new positions
and jobs. Such programs have also helped
increase economic equality, which requires
that people from all groups have equal oppor-
tunity to compete for power positions with
Another even more offensive argument
against affirmative action is that it harms the
very people who benefit from it. Opponents
claim colleagues will assume a person ob-
tained a position solely due to his or her race
or gender. In addition to the pettiness of this
assertion, the very fact that such an assump-
tion exists is reason enough for affirmative
action to continue - until minorities and
HOW TO CONTACT THEM
To the Daily:
It seems that name-calling is
the only rhetorical response lib-
erals know at this university. Mr.
Walsh, in his letter of March 2
("Writer ignorant about gays")
continues the tradition. Again a
normal student at the University
writes into the Daily and imme-
diately he is labeled ignorant and
Mr. Walsh's assumption that
people cannot "become" homo-
sexuals is incorrect. There are
some homosexuals who have
claimed that they have indeed
been able to change their lives
and lifestyles. If people can
change from gay to straight, is
unreasonable to suggest the op-
posite might happen?
I oppose the open promotion
of a lifestyle that many Ameri-
cans consider immoral. Mr.
Walsh criticizes John Yob on the
premise that all types of sexual
activity can spread AIDS. While
this is true, the fact remains that
indecent? Homosexuals acting
radically only bring upon them-
selves disfavor by staging dem-
onstrations such as the Kiss-In.
Many Americans, myself in-
cluded, do not hate gays but also
do not support endorsing a
"lifestyle" that is abnormal. That
is not ignorance, but standing up
for what you believe. Something
very easy for Mr. Walsh to mock,
but very brave for someone like
John Yob to say on this campus.
President, U-M College
To the Daily:
I felt it was necessary to write
because of the recent letters con-
cerning the gay activities on cam-
pus. I think those of you who
wrote in on the partof "gay rights"
need to be reminded of some-
thing. We are all guaranteed the
right to free speech under the
Constitution. Whetherornot you
lieve that gays should be given
minority status. Quit telling us
that we do not have the right to
voice ourconvictions in the same
way you do.
To the Daily:
I would like to think that John
Yob'sletterinof March 1("Con-
gress, 'U' shouldn't approve ho-
mosexual activity") as someone's
idea of a joke. Or that perhaps
Mr. Yob thought he was writing
for the Michigan Review, where,
every week, literate individuals
who should know better proudly
flash their cluelessness like an
Amex Platinum card. However,
I'm pretty sure that the letter was
not a mistake, and it was cer-
tainly no joke.
Despite the fact that he tried
to impress readers with his over-
whelmingly sophisticated view,
it's obvious from his inaccurate
information that Mr. Yob's letter
the energy behind the greater
portion of all AIDS prevention,
awareness, and fundraising
projects. Silencing groups such
as Queer Unity- Project and the
LGBPO would be far more
"dangerous" to the heterosexual
portion of the University com-
munity than supporting them.
If John Yob "never thought
by coming to the University of
Michigan" he would "witness an
organized event" like the Kiss-
In, perhaps he should have paid
more attention to when he was
deciding on a college last year.
The University of Michigan has
been known as been known as
one of the country's most pro-
gressive and liberal schools. It is
not events such as the Kiss-In,
but rather, people such as Mr.
Yob, who publicly display their
.unwillingness to challenge their
misconceptions and attain some
level of enlightenment, who truly
"tarnish the dignified and re-
spected image ofourUniversity."
I can only hope, Mr. Yob, that
you use the remainder of your
time here at our fine university
alleviating what looks like a ter-
minal case of ignorance. There is
always the option of closing the
. . . . . .......
..... ... ....
Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid B. Sheldon (R)
Ann Arbor City Hall
100 N. Fifth Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48017
Tobi Hanna-Davies (D-1st Ward), Patricia Vereen-Dixon (D-1st Ward),
Peter Fink (R-2nd Ward), Jane Lumm (R-2nd Ward), Haldon Smith (D-3rd Ward),
Jean Carlberg (D-3rd Ward), Stephen Hartwell (D-4th Ward),
Outr N lnnl.. /3 A a.11 . I... A % fhk..:,- .. I.L.t f Z W-...A l