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February 16, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-16

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 16, 1998

Ott Wt]CbC ttlt at(tild

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise 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
Dsrwding lines
Redistriicting would benefit A2 students

'It gives us an opportunity to be recognized for the
achievements we've accomplished. Being in the Senate,
seeing the senators - that's a tremendous blessing.'
--Defensive Back Brent Washington, on the Michigan
Football team's trip to the state capitol in Lansing

Skating on thin
ice: the most
intriguing eople
o n1998
T o everything there is a season
turn, turn, turn," quoth
Ecclesiastes and The Byrds. In thi
decade, no lyric could be truer.
With every new year arrives new
events and celebri-
ties striving to etch
their names into
the culture of pop-
ular Americana.




A fter a five-hour wrestling match with
Ann Arbor Public Schools' redistrict-
ing. software last Wednesday, several;par-
ents unveiled a plan for reapportioning stu-
dents between Ann Arbor's several elemen-
tary schools. The parents' proposal comes
after district-wide objection to an adminis-
trative proposal that many residents say
forces too many students to change schools.
While the parents' proposal would trans-
plant only 300 students into new schools -
abotkt 400 fewer than the administrators'
plan - it fails to sufficiently remedy a
racial imbalance at Carpenter Elementary,
where the student population is 41.3 percent
African American. In light of this flaw, the
district should remain committed to devel-
oping a plan that adequately preserves
diversity within the elementary schools
before the scheduled March 25 board vote
- even if such a proposal disrupts students'
transition into the 1998-99 academic year.
The administrators' push to offset the
racial imbalance at Carpenter stems largely
from its wish to adhere to district policies
that dictate that African American enroll-
ment at each of Ann Arbor's schools should
fall between two and 32 percent. The dis-
trict set the range in accordance with rec-
ommended 1977 state guidelines. While the
parents' proposal does reduce black enroll-
ment at Carpenter, the plan only trims the
proportion of African Americans to 37.8
percent - more than five percent higher
than the administrators' plan.
By approving a plan that falls so short of
establishing adequate racial heterogeneity,
the school board would far understate the
importance of diversity. Though the state
Department of Education has not monitored
the guidelines since the early '80s, the need

to maintain diversity in schools is no less
important than it was 21 years ago, when
the state established the guidelines.
A 1996 report by Washington, D.C.,
urban policy consultant David Rusk found
that Michigan is the most racially segregat-
ed state in the nation. Although the city of
Ann Arbor is the least segregated among
the major metro-Detroit communities, its
component residential communities exhibit
strong racial segregation, yielding a hous-
ing index of 50-- indicating that 50 percent
of local minorities would have to move so
that each census tract in the area would
encompass the same percentage of minori-
ties found in the area as a whole. Because
students do not regularly come in contact
with children of other races in their residen-
tial communities, diverse schools are one of
few opportunities to establish a thorough
understanding of peers of other ethnicities.
A racially diverse environment plays a
crucial role in students' education. In
addition to sharpening social sensitivities,
it yields children a multi-dimensional pic-
ture of the world. This factor proves para-
mount in light of the fact that much of
students' instruction - even in contempo-
rary education - largely focuses on the
Eurocentric components of American
As the vote on the proposed redistricting
of Ann Arbor's elementary school zones is
more than a month away, administrators and
parents have sufficient time to collaborate
on a new proposal. While a plan establish-
ing diversity may initially cause disruption
by making students change schools, all stu-
dents deserve - and need - a heteroge-
nous environment to preserve the quality of

Whose right?
Maine repeal is a step backward for gay rights

O ver the past decade, 11 states have
passed laws protecting gays and les-
bians from discrimination. This movement
has been attacked by the Christian
Coalition, a right-wing interest group
devoted to instilling Christian values in
American politics. Conservatives and coali-
tjon leaders saw this past week as a great
victory for their cause as voters in Maine
repealed the anti-discrimination law estab-
lished by the state Legislature.
The coalition claims that gays and les-
bians are immoral and wrong and therefore
do' not deserve the rights heterosexuals
have. Gay, lesbian and civil rights advocates
put nearly $500,000 into the campaign -
nearly five times more than what conserva-
tives invested. The civil rights groups claim
that this decision is not a mandate, per se, as
only 30 percent of the state voted on this
single-issue ballot. In addition, the referen-
dum was passed by a slim 52-percent mar-
gin - a far cry from an overwhelming
The main problem with this initiative is
that gays and lesbians have been stripped of
the rights that heterosexuals are guaranteed.
Under the new law, it is legal to fire a
homosexual employee simply due to his or
her sexual orientation. Heterosexuals do not
have to worry about this possibility. These
are not special rights given to some and not
all. These are rights that all Americans have
- or should have.
One dark side of this most recent vote is
that it seems as if the coalition is not look-
ing out for every American, as it would
have one believe. Rather, the coalition's
members seem to simply be impressing
their ideology on the American voters, not

are changing the political arena to suit their
beliefs, regardless of citizens' rights. These
scare tactics seem to cut more toward the
fears and prejudices of people than toward
logical human rights.
There are now 10 states that still have
anti-discrimination laws intact. Gay-rights
supporters fear that last week's vote will
pave the way for more ballot questions
abolishing rights for gays and lesbians alto-
gether. In Maine, Gov. Angus King
appeared on commercials trying to con-
vince people that discrimination against the
gay community is wrong, but the Christian
Right's argument drew more people to the
The state of Michigan does not have a
law protecting gays and lesbians from dis-
crimination. But Ann Arbor - with its{
now 26-year-old ordinance - was the
first city in the country to adopt such a1
policy. There needs to be more movements
like those in Ann Arbor. In the coming
months, civil rights supporters hope to
pass gay-rights initiatives in Maryland
and Iowa. American citizens should
understand that gays and lesbians are not
asking for special privileges. These poli-
cies will give the gay community the same
rights as heterosexuals - raising them to
the status quo.
Intolerance between people in the same
community is not desirable. The homosexu-
al minority in Maine certainly has been tol-
erant of the indecency with which the world
treats it. The Christian Coalition should be
equally tolerant. Going so far as to call
homosexuality "immoral" is certainly not
respectful. It definitely does not take spe-
cial rights for homosexuals - or the rest of

Reasons and
are different
The juxtaposition of Isa
Kasoga's ("Conservative
arguments show fear,"
2/5/98) and David Burden's
("U' admissions are unfair to
non-minority students,"
2/5/98) letters was an illustra-
tion of the difference between
reasons and explanations.
The distinction between
these concepts is important.
Kasoga claims that the expla-
nation of anti-affirmative
action opinions (e.g. "amor-
phous moral arguments") is
that losing privileges and
opportunities makes them
feel bad. Although this
ignores minority members
who are against affirmative
action, I agree with his point.
Abstract arguments are usual-
ly constru'ted after the fact
to justify strong feelings, but
rarely cause them. Burden
made a similar observation
about people who feel slight-
ed by "the system."
What isn't acknowledged
in Kasoga's letter is that the
same is true of pro-affirma-
tive action arguments. White
hegemony and the history of
oppression may be good jus-
tifications for affirmative
action, but when someone is
pro-affirmative action, the
reason has to do with how it
makes them feel when
minorities are denied oppor-
tunities that are given to less-
qualified white people.
I am not saying that
abstract explanations for or
against affirmative action are
not relevant to policy and
legislative decisions. But if
yohr goal is to convince peo-
ple and get them to feel the
lay you do, you need to
address their reasons and not
their explanations.
Legislative and policy
decisions should always take
into consideration multiple
factors, even explanations.
But if you want people to
agree with your stance, the
question to discuss is this:
When is it justifiable for one
person to feel good at the
expense of another? Is it OK
if you feel good at my
expense because other people
have felt bad at your
expense? Just because you
have felt bad, does that mean
that it is justified for me to
have the same experience?
Different people will
answer these questions differ-
ently - don't assume you
know my answers to these
questions. I am simply point-
ing out that feelings are the
reasons behind opinions on
this issue, and these should
be addressed directly when
you are trying to change
someone's opinion.

Bones" be stopped. Berenson
can preach sexism and write
as many editorials as he
chooses. Noe was simply
pointing out the Daily's poor
choice of cartoonists. I don't
think we would approve of a
daily white supremacist col-
umn. And I do not believe
Noe meant to compare
Berenson to a Nazi. Rather,
she was pointing out the
powerful influence of daily
cartoons on society. The
Daily's decision to run a sex-
ist cartoon constantly rein-
forces negative stereotypes
about women.
Daily editorials
are 'biased'
I graduated from the U of
M and moved to the moun-
tains of Colorado. One of the
things I never missed from
my college days is the miser-
able editorials of The
Michigan Daily. I just found
the Daily's Website and was
impressed how, though life
has changed considerably
since 1988, the bias of the
paper has remained steadfast.
I can only imagine how the
Daily has managed to ignore
reality all this time. Though
my bookmarks file is pages
long, the Daily doesn't cut it.
I'll check back in 10 years.
Refuge must
be protected
from oil,
As a member of ENACT,
one of the environmental
action groups here at the
University, I am writing to
make people aware of the
threat imposed on the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge by
oil companies. The 125 miles
of coastline that is a part of
the refuge is the last
untouched stretch of the U.S.
Arctic Coastal Plain.
According to the U.S.
Department of Interior, there
is an 81-percent chance that
there will be no recoverable
oil found in the refuge. If oil
is in fact discovered, it is esti-
mated to be only 3.2 billion
barrels - enough to fill
America's energy demands
for a mere 200 days. If this
beautiful land is drilled for
oil and tapped dry, where
will oil companies go next?
Plundering a national trea-
sure for small potatoes is no
way to meet America's long-
term energy needs.

The numbers and migration
routes of the porcupine cari-
bou herd will be seriously
affected. The Gwich'in are a
native people who have lived
in the Wildlife Refuge for
hundreds of generations and
depend upon the porcupine
caribou herd for their sur-
vival. If these animals are
displaced or killed, the lives
of the Gwich'in will be
threatened. What is at stake is
a way of life thousands of
years old - all for a possible
200 days of oil.
Destroying the refuge
would bring tragedy. Why
explore and develop this land
without pursuing other oil-
saving energy strategies?
Raising automobile efficiency
standards, developing alcohol
fuels, building better mass
transit and encouraging alter-
native sources of energy are
just some of the many possi-
ble alternatives. Each of these
options would reduce air pol-
lution and global warming,
save energy, increase national
security and boost the nation's
economy. If these solutions
are not plausible or sensible,
then we must come up with
solutions that are.
Why does our society
have a need to develop every
inch of our country without
thinking of the repercus-
sions? I have a dream that my
children will be able to live
in a world filled with open
spaces and beautiful wilder-
ness - not overcrowded
cities bursting with technolo-
gy and flooded by melting
ice caps. At the rate we are
using up resources, we will
run out of oil and gas in 50
years. I ask everyone to write
to their senators and repre-
sentatives and tell them your
opinions on the environment.
The Earth will survive long
after we are gone, but how
soon will that be?
Spelling errors
are not limited
to the Daily
It seems that some stu-
dents and alumni are irritated
with some of the Daily's
spelling errors over the past
few weeks. Well, the Daily is
in good company. The whole
University seems to be
spelling just as badly.
In the national classified
employment advertisements
for the Feb. 8 edition of The
New York Times, there is an
ad for the Executive Director
of M-CARE. In it, University
is spelled both "Unviersity"
and "Universitdy." Also,
"along" is spelled "alog"
This advertisement was in a
prime location for all to see
the errors.
Apparently, spelling is a
r _ .._,,.,.-a... .rr..

Much to my sur-
prise, just 46 days
have passed in
1998 and we
already have
enough scandals
and scoundrels to JOSHM
fill a book of the RI
Bible - or a folk-1 <
rock song, for that )l1.
As I see it, if the world were to end
this week, an unlikely trio would
down in the history books as i*e
defining personalities of this, the sec
ond-to-last-year of the millennia;Tn
And, eerily, these folks are remarkabVy
Indeed, I can't think of anyone more
interesting who has made news this year
- except for the unfortunate, late Karla
Faye Tucker. But as we well know, exe-
are excluded from clubs like these. I'm
not keen on offering such distinctions
So take note, People magazine, the
first three contenders for your "25
Most Intriguing People of 1998" are
Theodore Kaczynski, the recently
confessed Unabomber; Monica
Lewinsky, the White House bomb-
shell; and Tara Lipinski, who will be a
total bomb if she doesn't win a medal
in Nagano as everyone expects. Their
collective celebrity ispso huge that w
have yet to hear a peep about US.
Olympic curler Mike Peplinski.
Of course, if these names are too con-
fusing, just think of them in terms of
last year's most memorable folks: the
Spice Girls. Hence, Psychotic Spice,
Neurotic Spice and I-Hope-I-Don't-
Trip-on-My-Toe-Pick Spice.
(But enough of the rhyming. For
obvious reasons, I've never really
enjoyed the old let's-be-clever-andg
funny game. I know people with names.
like "Hart," "Buck" and "Witt" can'
sympathize with me.)
Die-hard Olympics fan that I am,
I've been intently watching the 1998
Winter Games in Nagano for the past
week. I've suffered through CBS'
abysmal, virtually all-tape-delayed'
coverage with the hope that I would get
to see the namesake sport of our thre4
notable people - skiing.
Unfortunately, the heralded men's'
downhill was repeatedly postponed'
because - get this - there was too
much snow falling on the slopes.
Similarly, Kaczynski's trial was regu-
larly delayed as he wriggled his way
out of an insanity defense, Lewinsky's
testimony has been put off for nearly a
month now, and Lipinski's perfor-
mance at the Olympics won't take
place until later this week. In th
immortal words of Carly Simon, "An-
ti-ci-pay-yay-tion is making me wait."
The comparisons don't stop there.
To be sure, Kaczynski's shocking
plea bargain and confession were com-
pletely overshadowed by the Lewinsky
scandal's repercussions that, in turn,
have been ignored in light of the
Winter Olympics and America's newest
pint-sized darling.
Strangely, even though I feel I know
our three celebrities like family, I've
never heard the first two speak and I
have yet to see the third actually do
anything on Olympic ice. Still, young
Tara is already pegged as this year's
incarnation of Mary Lou Retton and
Kerri Strug. (Which begs the pressing
question: Why do we seem to have
such an obsession with little girls in

leotards? Maybe President Clinton can
answer that one.)
Kaczynski, Lewinsky and Lipinski
also share a Michigan connection,
which means that they are closer-related
to most Michigan Daily readers than
Kevin Bacon is. Kaczynski, as many of
us know, attended graduate school at the
University; he lived in East Quad.
Lipinski trains here in the Great Lakes
state with fellow skater Todd Eldredge.
Lewinsky was an intern in the White
House, a building once occupied by
former Wolverine (who, after stumbling
down the stairs of Air Force One and
whatnot, also spent a lot of time on his
knees, from what I understand).
Finally, we have the underpants link.
Kaczynski tried to hang himself with

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