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January 21, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-21

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8-A.- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 21, 1997_ .

MLK DAY 1997

By Heather Kamins
Daily Staff Reporter
For centuries, the African American,
Jewish and Arab communities in the
United States have struggled through
cultural tensions.
At a lecture yesterday, Ahman
Abdurrahman, a doctoral pre-candidate
in Africa and African-American
Studies, spoke of the contradictions
that exist within these communities.
"For us to deal with a possible future
prospect of working together with the
Arab community, as with the Jewish
community, the issue of justice must be
forefront," Abdurrahman said.
There has been a contradiction
between blacks and some members of
the Jewish community, Abdurrahman
said. The black and Jewish communi-
ties have never worked together in the
"romanticized vision," and they never
will, Abdurrahman said.
"(Some) Jews point to an era of
strong black-Jewish alliance, when the
two communities were in harmony
accord, but this has never been true,'
Abdurrahman said.
"To think that blacks and Jews are
going to get into a relationship and that
there are not going to be any contradic-
tions is ridiculous; Abdurrahman said.
Instead, he said, it is important to
address the kind of alliance Jews and
African Americans can form.
"There can be a strong alliance
between African American and Jewish
people who are willing to stand up for
justice, but there still is not going to be
the alliance of the romantic vision,"
Abdurrahman said.
LSA sophomore Aaron Starr said
people cannot look at the actions of
individual Jews or blacks as represent-
ing the entire communities.
"He seemed to rationalize every time
an African American was accused of
anti-Semitism," Starr said. "We cannot
look at every Jew or every African
American as just a Jew or an African
Abdurrahman said the relationship
between African Americans and Arabs
is more recent but more confrontation-
al than the tensions with the Jews.
"In Detroit, 90 percent of stores are
owned by Arabs. One owner told me
that the relationship between the two
communities is one of intense hatred,"
Abdurrahman said.
The explanation of this hatred stems
from the Arab struggle to be recog-
nized as white in this country,
Abdurrahman said.
"In the Arab racial etymology of
people, blackness is considered pretty
much a curse;" Abdurrahman said.
"(Being an Arab that is considered
white in the United States) means relat-
ing to black people in a certain way"
Abdurrahman said. "It is not having
much to do with black people and treat-
ing black people in a contemptible way."
Social Work Prof. Charles Garvin
said it is possible for these communi-
ties to work together.
"With people being people there are
going to be differences and struggles,"
Garvin said.

Profs.: Diversity
affects research.

Honoring differences
important to
promoting diversity
By Susan Port
For the Daily
Attempting to apply the far reach-
es of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream,
a small cluster of professors and
graduate students gathered in
Rackham yesterday afternoon to dis-
cuss how diversity affects the quality
of scholarly research.
Speakers said the presentation
raised an "important point" - the
need for diversity in scientific inter-
Engineering Prof. Avery Demond,
the only tenured woman of color on
staff in the College of Engineering said
she tries to teach in a more intuitive
mode than her colleagues.
"My approach is not better but a
much more humane operation," said
Demond, who was one of four speakers
at yesterday's presentation.
Demond said she tries to work in a
more collaborative setting with her stu-
dents and realizes that people approach
problems from different perspectives.
Demond added that many women and
students of color come to her for guid-
Nola Pender, associate dean for

Academic Affairs of Research, said
panelists discussed salient points.
Pender said a large part of promotir9
diversity is "honoring learning styles of-
diverse students."
Speakers emphasized that points of
view change after students interact with
others from different backgrounds.
They also said that professors have
an influence on their students that
allows them to conform students'
LSA first-year student Nicole
Rushivoch said her professors ha
changed her perceptions.
"I found after listening to my chem-
istry TA's thoughts on the lab, my own
view of my results changed,"
Rushivoch said.
Demond said diversity is revitalizing
research and enriching the relationship
between professors and students.
Each person takes their own experi-'
ences along with them and develop
their own style of learning, "allowi
students to go about approaching prob-
lems differently;" she said.
Graduate student Mary Buell, wiho
was in yesterday's audience, said ther'e
is a definite need for diversity in her
field of study.
"I wanted to see how the professors
are dealing with bringing in diversity
into the institution;' Buell said, adding
that the presentation was helpful.

U.S. Office of Civil Rights Director Dennis Hayashi speaks about affirmative action In academia at Hutchins Hail in the Law
Quad. SACUA Chair and chemistry Prof. Thomas Dunn (left) listens to him during yesterday's panel discussion, which was
disturbed by two participants.
Afinn& .ative action prod&)gams
Pr ovoke discussioin at 'U'

By Anita Chik
Daily Staff Reporter
A packed panel discussion in
Ilutchins Hall yesterday addressed the
various issues surrounding affirmative
"Affirmative Action in the
Academy: Safeguarding the Gains
Made," which was moderated by
chemistry Prof. Thomas Dunn, looked
at how the ideas of Martin Luther King
translated into the present views on
affirmative action.
One of the panelists, assistant Law
Prof. Theodore Shaw, spoke about how
people should look beyond the dreams
of Martin Luther King Jr. and work on
the "reality, struggle and work" that
could make the dreams of equality and
justice come true.
Shaw said he thinks affirmative
action is still an important necessity
because blacks continue to face dis-
"To be an African American is still a
disadvantage. Because of skin color,

white people are still privileged," Shaw
LSA sophomore Christopher
Olsztyn said he agrees with Shaw's
"Professor Shaw's insistence on
activity to reach
equality was very
thoughtful, Tob"
Olsztyn said.
"He made me Americ
think of the civil
rights struggle in a disadva
much broader
Shaw said the Assist
Unites States' affir-
mative action agen-
da could move forward if people re-
examine the measures of qualifications,
such as those that apply to college
Business School Dean B. Joseph
White advised people to look beyond
the scores and statistics that measure
students' achievements.

Law third-year student Alphonso
Mance responded to his comment.
"The University of Michigan does
need an affirmative action plan
because not everyone who holds posi-
tions of power similar to his feel the

ie African
an Is still a
- Theodore Shaw
ant Law professor

same way,"
Mance said.
The panel
was inter-
rupted at one
point by two
female audi-
ence mem-
b e r s
time to speak

Social research may

on the issue of affirmative action, and
claiming that their voices had not been
Claiming they were from the
National Women's Rights Organizing
Coalition, the women said they were
implementing the spirit of affirmative
action by speaking out.

Linguists claim learning English
may weaken cultural identities

By Marc Lightdale
Daily Staff Reporter
A panel of Unviersity students and
linguists yesterday explored the issue of
whether people should "just learn
English" or maintain their cultural iden-
tity by holding onto their native lan-
As part of the Martin Luther King Jr.
Symposium yesterday, the panel exam-
ined whether an anglophile America
threatens multicultural education at the
university level.
English Prof. Helen Fox sarcastically
reminded the participants of the severi-

ty of the issue in question.
"You are all remarkably cheerful. We
don't have a true sharing or synergy of
cultures;' Fox said. "How do we pre-
vent the world from gravitating into
blocks of languages?"
Panelists worried that many nations
may be sacrificing their native tongue by
publishing scientific journals in English.
According to linguistics Prof. John
Swailes, 31 percent of research papers
emanate from the United States while
the next largest share come from
Japanese scientific publications.
Swailes pointed out two prominent
trends in academia. First, anglophone

mainstream journals require English for
scholars to obtain promotion. In addi-
tion, the non-anglophone area of
research has suddenly been neglected.
"Hispanics complained about stunted
syllables while Asians objected to the
intrusion of personal voice while Slavics
find subtle hints passed over," Swales
said. "It's depressing to be confronted
with shortcomings in foreign language."
Daniel Chavez, a third-year
Rackham student on the panel, pointed
out the benefits of learning English.
"The dominance of English is a win-
dow of opportunity in a globalized
economy" Chavez said.

By Ronny Wasser
For the Daily
Five area social scientists say current
research projects can bring the country
one step closer to realizing the dreams
of Martin Luther King Jr.
Before a crowd of about 50 yester-
day, the panelists discussed varying
aspects of race-based social policy,
from economic concerns to the crimi-
nal justice system.
James Jackson, director of group
dynamics for the Institute for Social
Research, examined how public policy
research should investigate "social injus-
tice." This research would address King's
"hope for improvement in human condi-
tions" and "would continue his fight for
justice and peace;' Jackson said.
Education Prof. Michael Nettles said
he is working with the Frederick
Douglass Institute to produce a "major
national report on the status of African
Americans and education:'
Nettles said recent research indicates
a gap in representation of African
Americans in higher education. Five
percent of all graduate students and 3 to
4 percent of all doctoral students are
African American, even though 12.5
percent of the national population is
Continued from Page 1A
silent throughout the day.
"People on this campus need to real-
ize what this campus would be like
without the people of color"
Engineering sophomore Lucy Arellano
said in a written statement. Arellano
plans to participate in the protest.
Matlock said yesterday's purpose of
celebrating the holiday is not just to rec-
ognize King's accomplishments, but for
students to re-
examine their atti- b b -
tudes and values.
"It's also a time
to look at and campus
examine and recog-
nize that we've still realize
got a long way to
go;" Matlock said. campus
"When you look at like wit
some of the things I
happening in the A
country, there's still people
a long way to go
before we reach
some of the goals Engin4
that King and a lot
of us envisioned."
The University's celebration of MLK
Day has become one of the largest in the
country, said Tara Young, program coor-

African American.
Nettles said he hopes his research Will
lead to the creation of a "national poli*
to eliminate the gap" in higher education.
Public Policy assistant Prof. Ann Lin
discussed "giving testimony to -the
truth" in social research. -
One-third of young African,
American men are under the supervi-
sion of the criminal justice system, Lin
said, noting that this sort of information
needs to be brought to the public's
attention by researchers.
It is important to recast "our know
edge in a way the community at lar
can understand," Lin said.
Jackson said King was successful
when people came to believe that Africair
Americans deserve full citizenship.
"What King fought for was a nation-'
al consensus;' Jackson said.
"Today, we do not have a national'
consensus," he said, stressing that the
nation needs such consensus in order to
develop public policy that fulfills pro
sent objectives.
Other panelists included Public Policy
Dean Edward Gramlich, Public Policy
and Social Work Prof. Sheldon Danziger
and Wayne State political science Chair
Ronald Brown.
dinator of yesterday's symposium.
"This is the second largest program
in the country," Young said.
Because it falls on a Monday, Matlock
said the University is aware of the te#
dency to take a three-day weekend.
"That's something that always con-
cerns me, but now that the events= are
spread out, you can't just skip out ob
the holiday," Matlock said.
Harrison said he regrets that not
enough people in the University partici-
pate in MLK Day activities.


"The thed-
ry (behin
Fe on this celebratii
the holid)
need to was that the
U n iv ers it.y
hat this community
would reflect
would be on these
iout the Harrison said.
If color." aItnkalagae
- Lucy Arellano of stude
just see it as
wring sophomore day off."
L S : A
sophomore Keivu Knox said althoughihe
wasn't aware of this year's activities end
didn't plan to participate, Knox said he
was keeping the day's purpose in mind.



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