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February 01, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-01

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 1, 1996

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

. 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.
Making concessions
Alliance, Duderstadt take steps toward dialogue

Longer than a child's Christmas list, the
Alliance Four Justice presented a list of
demands in an open letter to the University
community. The Alliance, which consists of
Asian American, African American, Native
American and Latino/a student organizations,
would like the University to prove its pro-
fessed commitment to a multicultural envi-
ronment. In response to the letter, President
James Duderstadt's office indicated he would
meet with the group to discuss members'
grievances. Both the Alliance and Duderstadt
have pursued an open dialogue on this matter
- a wise move on both parts.
The Alliance's letter contains many le-
gitimate grievances that needed to be ad-
,Omssed. For example, it orders funds for the
Alliam Monroe Trotter House, earmarked
? programming and renovations. Because
fraternities and sororities of color do not
Iave the affluent alum base of either Greek
douses have, they have trouble raising the
4tnds for a house. Trotter House serves as a
ineeting place for black Greek functions, as
well as the many other multicultural pro-
grams it is designed to house. It is an impor-
;tant resource - the University should give it
-wholehearted support.
However, other, parts of the letter beg
Jlarification. The letter demands that the
Jniversity increase its percentage of faculty
,nd students of color. It also asks the admin-
4Stration to bolster its efforts to retain faculty
end students of color. The administration has
responded to past requests - but it could
'take a more aggressive approach.
If the Alliance can outline the ideal ap-
proach, the University would benefit. Re-
6ruitment is tricky; retention is more than
-ifficult. As long as the University is making

the effort, the Alliance needs specify how the
University should proceed.
The letter also asks the University to pro-
vide organizations of students of color with
free access to photocopying and mailing la-
bels. It also demands that the University
provides guaranteed funding for these orga-
nizations and "state-of-the-art computer
workstations." Other student groups do not
receive University hookups. Unless the Alli-
ance can justify a special need, the demand
seems frivolous.
The letter also demands increased fund-
ing and guaranteed autonomy for the Center
for African and African American Studies
Library, which should be properly funded.
But guaranteed autonomy from whom? Ifthe
library is in danger of being compromised,
the Alliance needs to state what else can be
In addition, the letter requests the estab-
lishment of more ethnic-specific libraries as
well as Latino/a, Native American and Asian
American studies departments. If the Alli-
ance can justify use of the funds for these
items, then the University should provide
them. Besides a lack of role models and
financial resources, a general atmosphere
hinders retention of minorities - Black Stu-
dent Union Speaker Sherise Steele told The
Michigan Daily that the University commu-
nity felt too "white." The University should
work to make all its students feel at home.
Duderstadt must keep an open mind. Al-
liance members need to come with specific
plans, and reasons to back them. The meeting
will give the Alliance the appropriate audi-
ence to hear its demands.
If both sides come prepared to bargain,
they will leave content - until the next talk.

'We don't think that students should start off their
newspaper careers as scabs.'
--Roger Kerson, spokesperson for the Metropolitan
Council of Newspaper Unions, speaking at a protest
organized against The Detroit News and Free Press dt
the Michigan Union on Tuesday
H(Mp 049 y eootay -re
De ciciproofyOu
Look inward before condemning racism
To THE DAILY: Did that come as a big fiction. I mean, look at us
The hypocrisy is surprise to you? If you were now. We're much better.
gargantuan. not asleep, or tuned out by Certainly, not I. I wouldn't
These few words are the middle of the film, some have done those things.
primarily aimed toward the of you may have been What hypocrisy! You
people who attended the surprised by the dates, don't think like they do, but
Women Studies 240 lecture locality and proximity of now you think: Black men
on Jan. 29 but the Univer- these nightmares that can date white women, as
sity community will benefit happened to black people. long as it's not with me.
as well from it. Oh, the horror! The revela- Black men can join the
As part of the class, and tion! These things were workforce, as long as it's
on the section of race and happening in your parents', not with me. Everyone
ethnicity, a film was shown. and your parents' parents should have a friend of a
The film documented different ethnicity, as long
various ways in which black The horror of the as it's not with me. Look at
people were atrociously yourself now. Look at all the
oppressed: socially, gargantuan race friends of different.
politically and physically. and ethnicity ethnicities that you have.
As you all watched, the Look at who you hang out
black and white photos of hypocrisy - 'not with, who you talk to at
calloused scars, grotesque in my work, at parties. Are you so
and fresh on a slave's back, uaC.aru enlightened? Are you so
you gasped in alarm. much better than those, like
Further along, as the times. Would you be even your parents and grandpar-
charred remains of a more shocked if I told you ents were carrying the
lynched black men jumped that these things happened popular sentiment of their
from the screen to your with as little justification as time? What are the senti-
eyes, you felt repulsed. a black man staring at a ments now? Feel the pang of
How about the freshly white woman too long'? You guilt overwhelming you.
pummeled and garroted recoiled in horror, or at least You better, because if not,
bodies swinging from the skipped a breath in shock. you are no different from the
trees, their lifeless eyes a Yet, you think: Oh, thank same individuals who
chasm replete with pain, goodness this doesn't conformed to the murderous
their limp bodies hung by a happen now. People were and barbarous standards of
rope: Did you cringe? Did really ignorant back then. their times. Cease your
you feel sad? Of course, Me, I have nothing to do naive angle of life and learn
don't forget, the degrading with any of that. By golly, it. Don't be shocked by it.
imagery of popular culture, my parents never told me
depicting black men and those things, nor mysZENs EE
women as ugly savages, grandparents. Perhaps it's a LSA SENIOR

Race, poverty
beyond the
Third World
I spent fall semester in Zimbabwe.
Arriving there at the beginning of
the Zimbabwean summer, I enjoyed
the luxury of a nice house in Harare
(the capital city) and a school with a
swimming pool. But outside the well-
guarded, fenced-in worlds created for
foreign students, an uglier picture
Race is a big is-
which was for-
merly known as
Salisbury, the
capital of Rhode-jy
sia, until the coun-
try became inde-
pendent in 1980.
But white privi- = ,.
lege is still flour- KATIE
ishing in the coun- HUTCHINS
try and Rhodies - _______
whites who hold
onto colonial ideals - still abound.
In 1980, all apartheid-like laws
keeping blacks from living in a more
desirable part of the country were
abolished. Anticipating new eco-
nomic opportunity and facing a
drought, many rural dwellers flooded
into the major cities.
The crowded cities now suffer from
inadequate provision of health care
and public safety, high unemploy-
ment rates and a very poor public
transit system. Malnutrition and sub-
standard housing are prevalent. Air
and water pollution and poor sanitary
conditions are standard.
It is still as hard to get into the
University of Zimbabwe as it is to get
into Harvard--if you're black. Girls
still stay at home to learn housekeep-
ing skills while their younger broth-
ers are sent to school - if they're
black. Thousands ofjobless men and
women still sell chickens, spare car
parts and Coca-Cola out oftheirmake-
shift homes in crowded townships
with little running water or electric-
ity. In this country where nearly 9 out
of 10 people are black, the majority
still suffers.
Although I was an outsider, I only
experienced prejudicial treatment
once. I remember going into a bar
one day and ordering a drink from the
black bartender. She completely ig-
nored me --pretending not to notice
me (the only white person in the
place) as she tidied up the counter.
Moments later, my two black Ameri-
can friends entered and got immedi-
ate service. Then the bartender re-
turned to cleaning.
That's the only time I've ever expe-
rienced racism - and the feeling of
being an unwanted minority. Even
black Zimbabweans discriminate
against their own race inmost places.
The two white males in our group
were-without fail-always served
first in restaurants. The blacks in our
group complained that they had been
called whores for wearing shorts in
public on their way to school. The
shorts-wearing whites were treated
quite differently - we were con-
stantly approached and offered din-
ner dates.
The point i that even after being
independent for 15 years, after oust-
ing the all-white government for a
democracy and after allowing blacks
to live wherever they want (within
economic reach), the majority-black

country still endures racism.
So I returned to the United States,
where whites are the majority. Where
blacks had been slaves. Where the
government, corporations andother
major institutions are still ruled by
whites. And I realize how daunting
the task of conquering racism here
will be, considering that Zimbabwe,
a country where blacks are nominally
in power, is still so discriminatory
against blacks.
Poor economic conditions, inad-
equate health care and substandard
housing are almost expected in any
Third World country. Zimbabwe's
problems can be attributed to its strug-
gling new government, the drought
that has been plaguing the country
for the past two years and foreign
investors' fears of instability. What's
America's excuse?
It's easy to forget that inadequate
health care and housing are problems
in this country too. And it's easy to
project images of starving children
and underpaid workers to faraway
places like Africa.
These assumptions are a mistake.
Perhaps we forget that the many race
problems in America are more subtle
and elusive than in Zimbabwe: the
store owner who follows her black
patrons as they shop, suspecting them
of stealing. The country club that has



Greener pastures
New law would aid business, en danger health

ries for activism and political pressure
on environmental issues emerged from
kthe student-led workshop at the University
- the "Greening of Politics." As an anti-
regulatory Congress reverses years of envi-
ronmental progress in the protection of clean
air, clean water and the cleanup of hazardous
waste sites, an overwhelming majority of
Americans have responded defiantly in sup-
port of environmental protection. More than
85 percent of public opinion supports more
stringent environmental standards. Last week-
end, students echoed the plea for focus on
environmental issues. New corporation pro-
tection legislation threatens to repeal neces-
sary Michigan environmental standards. It is
time for students to unite their voices in a call
for state action against the Environmental
Audit Bill.
The Environmental Audit Bill, anti-regu-
latory legislation that licenses industries to
pollute, was killed in Congress and denounced
by Environmental Protection Agency. Sen-
ate Bill 728, which passed in the Michigan
state Senate, is awaiting a vote in the House.
The legislation would grant industries im-
munity from pollution and emission regula-
tions - practices that contribute to substan-
dard air quality and hazardous toxic sub-
stances. Gov. John Engler supports the bill,
and with the current pro-business trend in the
Department of Environmental Quality, the
House will likely pass the measure.
The bill could cut business costs - but
it would have devastating effects on human
health and safety. Most modern industries
conduct regular environmental audits to sat-

then revealed to regulators, the courts and the
general public. However, if the bill passes, it
would grant "audit privilege" to companies
to disclose environmental reports - a li-
cence to pollute. Under the proposed law, a
company's internal environmental report
would be denied to the media and the courts.
In a criminal case - when innocent citizens
suffer health or property damage from a
hazardous industrial site - the audit privi-
lege would safeguard companies. It would
permit them to conceal evidence deemed
"privileged" information.
Underprivileged neighborhoods will bear
the brunt of this bill. Currently, 44 percent of
minority children in urban communities come
in contact with lead poisoning, which causes
irreversible harm. For example, Detroit suf-
fers from disproportionate amounts of pollu-
tion and substandard air quality. As commu-
nities struggle to gain a "right-to-know" or-
dinance, the bill would deny them vital infor-
mation on the health effects of their neigh-
boring polluters.
Companies illegally discharging chemi-
cals into the environment have faced hefty
fines and strict penalties through recent en-
forcement actions in Michigan. Passage of
the bill would halt environmental enforce-
ment in Michigan. The environmental audit
privilege/immunity legislation would shield
pollution from discovery and reverse years
of progress toward a cleaner environment.
The bill would promote toothless envi-
ronmental legislation, permitting companies
to further environmental degradation and
harm human health. It would benefit bad

Men's rights
are ignored
While reading the
editorial section (1/30/96) 1
had the opportunity to see
two articles related to gender
issues here at the University.
One was a letter addressing
feminist opposition about
single-sex (read as "male-
only") educational institu-
tions and the other was titled
"The Science of Eve."
I thought about two
things: The first was that
here at the University there
are female-only scholar-
ships; a women's study
department; a Center for the
Continuing Education for
Women; a Women's Health
Initiative; SAFE House, a
women-only shelter where
some student interns from
the University work; Breast
Cancer and Women's Health
Awareness Week/Month; the
Michigan Agenda for
Women; special grants for
women researchers only and
according to the Daily "more
than 300 courses on
Women's Health." The list
goes on. (I'll bet that, if
any, there are no more than a
dozen courses on "men's
health.") Undoubtedly at
least a little public money
finds its way into these
programs. There are no

logic or justice in this
So the next time you
hear someone lecture about
the need for resources to be
channeled into programs
such as the "Women's
Health Initiative" or any
other special program for
women only I think you
should keep this in mind. It
shows that many of these
arguments are rather sexist
and hypocritical.
View point
with anti-
I'm writing about a
"Viewpoint" on Israel about
a week ago, "Israel, a lone
champion of democracy"
(1/24/96). This article does
absolutely nothing but cut
down on the neighboring
Arab countries. A lot of the
information in the article is
absolutely false, not to
mention the article tells
only one side of the story.
It does not explain the

of misfortunes are happening
to them.
Secondly, it states that
Israel is a "champion of
democracy" when only
recently were the Palestin-
ians allowed to vote.
Some democracy.
And let's not forget how
Israel even became a
nation: by forcefully taking
away the properties of
thousands of Palestinians,
leaving them to be refugees
with nothing but the clothes
on their back.
Some democracy.
Until this very day,
Palestinians are still not
given their full rights, many
are oppressed as if under a
Some democracy.
It's very obvious that if
you're not a Jew in Israel,
then you won't be given the
same rights.
Some democracy.
I really wish you would
think before putting an
article that is completely
unfair to the Arab pee.
Many Americans wh1o
are ignorant of the Arabs
only get a more negative and
false view on them.
Next time, just spell out
in large black letters "The
Arabs are backwards and
losers. We should hate
them!!!" It would save you a
lot of trouble.

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