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January 23, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-23

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 23, 1997

fi irijjuu &d"Ig
420 Maynard Street RONNIE GLASSBERG
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by ADRIENNE JANNEY
students at the ZACHARY M. RAIMI
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
Unle.6satherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily
Community comfort
Neal's proposal puts funds to good use

'Sometimes dreams come true, but in
most cases dreams are something we
go through when we are asleep.'
- Martin Luther King II, in an MLK Day celebration speech Tuesday


A community
redefined by
electronic mail



Tr : a little more than a week, Lee
Iillinger will replace Homer Neal as
Uni esity president. Although Neal's
tenure: as interim president was brief, no
one: an accuse him of passively sailing
throgh his six-month administration with
little contribution to the University. For his
latesteffort to establish the President's New
Centtiry Fund for Diversity - intended to
malte the University's overall climate more
conifortable for minority students - Neal
desirves commendation. With this gesture,
Neai has extended the University's commit-
meqt to diversity; Bollinger should make
the :most of this program to improve the
atmZ~phere for minorities in the University
The fund, which Neal announced on
Mattri Luther King Day, is designed "to
cretp programs that will accelerate the
University's progress toward many-faceted
goal for diversity at the (University of
Midiigan)." Although the University Board
of Rgents'has not decided on specific pro-
posits or programs, the fund has an allot-
met' of $450,000 to fulfill its goal - as
well as the support of incoming University
President Lee Bollinger.
sNeal said the fund will support "action
anaction-research efforts that advance the
goaIs of the Michigan Agenda for Women
and ; the Michigan Mandate." Former
University President James Duderstadt cre-
ate both programs, which, in part, strive to
in ase enrollment of minority and women
st ients as well as to create a more com-
fodable atmosphere for all.
Although overall minority enrollment
A trues
America will miss
Ap iece of America died Saturday, as
^,i-former Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.)
1&st a long, hard-fought battle with lym-
phoma, a slow-growing cancer of the lymph
system. The 55-year-old Massachusetts
n tive, best known for his front-runner sta-
tus in the 1992 presidential campaign, will
be'a sorely missed champion of American
Tsongas began his political career on the
City Council in Lowell, Mass., where he
serve d from 1969 to 1972. In 1974, after a
brief stint as county commissioner, he
b6eame his district's first Democratic mem-
ber of Congress in almost 90 years. A mere
four years later, he beat the Republican
ir oumbent to capture one of Massachusetts'
Senate seats. On Sept. 29, 1983, he discov-
ered his cancer, and he subsequently retired
.fr the Senate.
Tsongas made a return to the political
aenia in the 1992 presidential campaign.
IDiring the campaign's primaries, Tsongas
fqrced the rest of the Democratic candi-
dates, including Bill Clinton, to tackle
iriportant issues with real solutions. Unlike
Est modern politicians, he condemned the
uie of meaningless rhetoric. After winning
the New Hampshire primary and faring
q ite well in other states' primary elections,
he withdrew in April 1992, after campaign

aides misappropriated funds.
Although brief, his campaign for presi-
dent helped other candidates focus on bal-
ancing the budget, and the looming bank-
ruptcy of Medicare and Social Security.
While Clinton was promising the middle
class a questionable tax cut, Tsongas was
preaching a more realistic form of politics:
fiscal responsibility. Clinton has since
adopted much of Tsongas' rhetoric -

has increased to 25.4 percent of the student
population, the University must continue to
emphasize the recruiting and retaining of
minorities. The recent decline in Latino/a
and Native American enrollment suggests
that the University has a lot of work to do.
One reason for the drop in enrollment is the
discomfort that many students of color
experience on campus. The University must
use the New Century Fund to combat any
perceptions or realities that the University
is an unfriendly atmosphere for minority
As more students with varying back-
grounds and cultures continue to attend the
University, diversity has become an impor-
tant part of campus life. An increase in stu-
dent diversity benefits every segment of the
University. Students and instructors have
the opportunity to learn about and interact
with people of all different backgrounds,
enriching the intellectual and social cli-
mate. But for the most effective results, the
University must feel like an open and
friendly environment to students of color.
The University has again signaled its com-
mitment to this goal with the creation of the
New Century Fund.
The community should applaud Neal for
his efforts and innovation during his short
term as interim University president. The
fund is another example of the active and
positive role he has played within the past
six months.
When Neal officially leaves office Jan.
31, the community will remember and miss
his energy and enthusiasm for excellence at
the University.

Tsongas' integrity
tion, Tsongas stood on a podium to
announce that he had developed another
type of lymphoma and said: "I would love
to be standing here today as president-elect.
The fact is a lot of people who should have
run for president didn't. There was a med-
ical problem with gonads, not lymph
nodes." His candor and honesty are under-
appreciated values in modern American
After the campaign, Tsongas did not
quietly fade into private life. He became a
friend and mentor to many fellow citizens.
When another Lowell native suffered from
a similar disease, or a local family lost a
loved one to cancer, Tsongas often comfort-
ed and counseled the families.
Also, Tsongas continued to work on
public policy. Along with former Sen.
Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), he created the
Concord Coalition, a nonprofit, bipartisan
group that focused attention on the budget
deficit and other economic problems. In
this role, Tsongas traveled around the coun-
try preaching his ideas. One of his favorite
constituencies was college students. In
October 1994, Tsongas spoke in the base-
ment of Amer's on State Street to educate
University students on the the budget
deficit and its future implications.
At the Concord Coalition, he advocated
a three-part plan to eliminate the deficit:
raise taxes, cut down on social programs
and instate a comprehensive entitlement
means test, which would gradually reduce
entitlement payments. Although these solu-
tions are not the most popular, they are sen-
sible and characteristic of Tsongas'
approach to public policy.
Honesty, sympathy and courage are all
words commonly used, yet rarely practiced

Daily should
publish on
M LK Day
I absolutely disagree with
the Daily's decision not to
publish an issue on Monday's
holiday. Among many other
great things, Martin Luther
King Jr. was an educator -
largely of ignorant peoples.
If the Daily truly claims to be
committed to informing the
masses - at least here on
campus - then the decision
not to print papers is an aber-
As a devoted activist and
messenger, King was highly
educated (unlike Malcolm X)
on many levels and highly
compassionate (unlike
Yet on a day when we
honor his memory, the Daily
chooses to close up shop, or
diseducate the people by not
freely printing discourse for
which King gave his life.
This argument is by no
means new, but warrants reit-
eration. If the Daily has ulteri-
or motives, like thinking that
advertisers do not want to
shell out big money on a day
when comparatively few stu-
dents will be milling around
campus buildings, then at
least be honest about it.
To not publish under the
guise that the paper, too,his
honoring this great man's
memory just does not wash,
or make any logical sense.
Remember, King not only
spoke, but also wrote exten-
sively until his life was cut
short by someone (or some
faction, depending on what
account you believe) decided
that he had overstayed his
welcome, said and wrote
more than his peace.
Still, the Daily chooses to
follow the misguided path
paved by other lost minds
that somehow justify putting
on hold education that the
proactive King civilly fought
to keep forwarding despite
vehement opposition.
The irony is thick enough
on which to choke. I hope
that it was worth it, but sadly
think of such decisions as
further obstacles to real edu-
Before this Tuesday, I
never bought into the idea of
reverse discrimination. But
Tuesday, with the first ever
"Day Without Diversity" cel-

to dress in black clothing and
wear white gags over their
mouths, supposedly to make
"people on campus realize
what this campus would be
like without people of color."
This, no doubt, is a powerful
and effective mode of non-
violent protest, in the spirit
of Martin Luther King Jr.
However, as stated in the
"Day Without Diversity"
publicity material distributed
by e-mail before the event,
the protest was exclusively
for "people of color" "Non-
participants (or non-people-
of-color)," as the e-mail read,
were encouraged to partici-
pate only in the limited
capacity of "conducting hon-
est discussion about issues of
race and discrimination."
Who is to decide that
"diversity" is a concept limit-
ed to "people of color?"
What about people whose
diversity is in the form of
religion, sexual orientation,
language, national affiliation,
or some other equally signif-
icant but not outwardly visi-
ble form? Diversity is a
cause that people of all col-
ors can, and indeed must,
support if discrimination is
ever going to be truly abol-
ished. The restriction of this
campus-wide protest to a
select group of people is
entirely contrary to the pur-
pose of erasing lines of dis-
1 don't know if I speak
for all non-people-of-color,
but as for myself I felt as if
the founders of "Day Without
Diversity" were effectively
isolating me from their
movement, as if to say that I
wasn't part of their diversity
and that diversity and anti-
discrimination were their
issues alone.
If we are ever to reach the
harmonious world of the
Martin Luther King Jr.'s
dream, such isolationist
protests must come to be
truly universal.
I hope that next year's
"Day Without Diversity" will
accept me and people of all
colors as active participants
in and genuine supporters of
the movement.
Ebonics is
The views of such
African Americans as Jesse
Jackson, Oprah Winfrey,
Maya Angelou and various
University students be
damned, Prof. Rosina Lippi-
Green ("Clarification,"
1/21/97) knows what's good
for black folks.
She condescendingly

groups than Jesse Jackson!
She says those confined to
speaking Ebonics are
"refus(ing) to be in the main-
In reality, they've been
barred from the mainstream
so long and been left so high
and dry that they can't even
find the water to wade in.
Jackson and most other
blacks know quite well not
only how and where to speak
country and urban dialect
and slang, but also the fate of
those who can speak nothing
else. Sure, Lippi-Green can
find some Ebonics champi-
ons. I can find Native
Americans who say they like
the name "Washington
Identifying the most une-
ducated and financially
strapped elements of the
black community as the "true
blacks" is an old paternalistic
practice; it survives today in
the notion of the hip-hopping
"authentic black" so attrac-
tive to insecure black and
white middle-class youths
and intellectuals.
African Americans are as
complex as any other ethnic
group, with a full range of
social strata characterized by
a range of modes of speech,
behavior and styles. Do
Phillis Wheatley, Frederick
Douglass, Bessie Smith,
Louis Armstrong or
Leadbelly or Ebony maga-
zine express themselves in
Lippi-Green is right that
to condemn or ridicule those
who speak ungrammatically
and unclearly is deplorable.
Belittling students because
they bust verbs is an educa-
tional crime. But training and
hiring teachers who are inca-
pable of teaching English is a
worse crime.
To institutionalize the
non-language of Ebonics
may bolster the popularity of
some educators, but it would
also prolong the shoddy edu-
cation in the many poor, pre-
dominaptly black schools and
other underfunded urban or
rural districts in the richest
country on Earth. Ebonis is
a shield for ignorance and an
opportunity for grant-grub-
No one told the European
or Asian ethnic groups that
their "broken" English was
some hallowed linguistic
worthy of enshrinement in
the curriculum. And no one
attempted to convince them
that they were incapable of
learning standard English
because they had inherited
"foreign" neural processes
that barred them from mas-
tering English grammar.
To exalt so-called
Ebonics is to confine multi-
tudes of blacks to a base-
metal counterfeit linguistic
coinage while the rest of the
nation aspires to earn con-
vertible currency, real money
thtnon hP mant onto, ,l-oa

There is certain information to
which some of us just shouldn't
ever have access.'
Take me for example. I don't know
who showed me the "finger" corn
mand, but clearly
they didn't know
me very well. A
sample of my
knowledge abuse
might go like this:
My friend Kate
and I e-mail just
about every week-
day. So one ran-
dom Thursday I e-
mail her - an
urgent e-mail. ADRIENNE
Fifteen minutes JANNEY
later, I have gotten
no response. So I finge her, and see
that she's logged on at her desk con-
sole. I get worried and dash off a se-
ond, more urgent e-mail: "k. - did
you get my last e-mail? - a." Five
minutes later, no response. I become
enraged. Hurt. I throw things. I breal
my favorite vase. I'm-never speaking
to her again. She doesn't want to be
my friend anymore. Years of stable
friendship down the drain over just one
unanswered e-mail!
Time to put the plug back in that
drain. Just as I hear the vase fall to the
floor, my computer blips, and there's a
response from Kate. (Some people just
can't handle information.)
Not you? Whatever. Admit it. You d
it, too. You finger people, you trac
them, you "ytalk" them. (Just don't
admit it, for god's sake. It's embarrass-
ing to hear about people like that.)
Aside from vase-destructive behav-
ior, the far-reaching powers of our
newfound computer toy have bigger
and meaner implications. Take the for-
ward command. Uh-huh. Don't even
have to explain, do I? Or blind copy.
Or carbon copy for that matter
Contemplate the speed and the poten-
tial lack of forethought accompanying
such gestures. Yipes.
E-mail is deceptive. It's a new form
of communication that draws on some
of the earliest concepts of language,
pushing it's furthest' barriers with its
stark nature. It's an elite technological
advancement that exists in an often-
tedious, rudimentary form compared:
to other technologies. E-mail is a para-
That paradox is part of a University
student's daily life. We're as addicted
to e-mail as we are to espresso.
Suddenly, we have turned over a large
portion of our communication to a
realm virtually sans emotion.
So, we've even adopted a new lan-
guage of sorts. For example, :) means
you meant that in a friendly way (as
opposed to an unfriendly way, o
course). The wink symbol ;) flags
joke or irony. In a flippant mood, users
may find some more creative faces
like :*) ("I'm smashed") or surprise,
<:0 with the open-wide and furrowed
brow. However, :) if the writer overus-
es ;) the symbols, they can get to be ;)
annoying :) and useless :(. (You get the
And they are not appropriate to.
every type of e-mail correspondence.
- business e-mail transactions woult
not tolerate cutesy gestures. Nor are:
there faces to convey different shades
of anger or hurt, although SHOUT-
considered rude by most standards.
Granted, hand-written correspon-
dence has some of the same limita-
tions - no facial expressions,tno tone
of voice. But it's also slower to reach
the recipient, more formal, carefully
thought out. How many times hav4

you dashed off a particularly angry e-
mail to someone, only to regret press-
ing "control-x," "y?" More of us, .
should learn to control-o to postpone
the heat of the moment and stop to
Those who communicate on e-mail
frequently and at length can be divided:
into two groups: Necessity and supple.-
ment. Necessity is directly related to,
the long-distance phone bill; supple
ment is that background dialogue tha
accompanies some of your relation-
ships. Every time you sit down at a
computer, you have at ongoing con-
versation waiting for you.
And e-mailcan make us brave. You
can e-mail people you wouldn't dare
call ... and work your way up to the,
phone. You can face conflicts on e-
mail that you wouldn't face in person
(chicken!). You can send an e-mail o4
and hope for a favorable response at a
later date - sort of like lighting.a con-
stant prayer candle or praying to a-
saint. (Please, please, please, God of;
Cyberspace, let my professor receive
this message in a good mood and give

^x i


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