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March 08, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-08

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Attention America. Apartheid is coming home

bIte idigatu &ilg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
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.

Bill Martin was picked to fill one niche

In the year 2050 whites will cease to be a
racial majority in the United States. for the
first time since the birth of the country, and
this development is cause for great concern.
Not because white-supremacists will likely
commandeer this statistic for their propagan-
da-laden internet sites and newsletters, and
not because
Republicans in
Congress will try
to tinker with the
census to avoid
losing all their
seats. This demo-
graphic shift is dis-
turbing because it
means we are
watching-and liv-
ing-apartheid in the
making.
Let's do the Ethan Shalom
math: A small Johnson
minority of the
U.S. population e
controls . a very Mind
high percentage of
the country's
wealth, and the overwhelming majority of
affluent American citizens are white. It is
painfully obvious who currently controls
America's economic resources.
To compound this glaring inequality, we all
know that money and power go together like
Charles Woodson and interceptions. The Fed-
eral government listens to centralized interests
with lots of cash (for instance, the N.R.A.,
a.k.a. The Devil), not to its constituency. The
tens of millions of dollars in George W.
Bush's campaign fund are a testament to polit-
ical reality in the U.S.

It is critical to understand that until now
whites, for better or for worse (mostly the lat-
ter) have controlled the progression of civil
rights in America, and this power will likely
persist for another 50 years or so. However,
when America's minorities become a collec-
tive majority and still do not reap the benefits
of the country's wealth, there will be unrest in
this nation such as no one alive has ever seen
before. Like in South Africa, the populace
will not remain idle and allow a small number
of individuals who do not represent their inter-
ests to run the country. When the status quo
does not change at their whim, the masses will
force change. But it will not be pleasant.
Regardless of future events, society should
strive to foster equal racial and economic
opportunities. These aims, though, must now
be pursued with a renewed sense of urgency
lest the achievements of a multi-generation
effort called the Civil Rights Movement be
erased.
An outside observer of the situation might
ask, What's the hurry? After all, 2050 is 50
years away. Any student of American history
knows, however, that there was nearly a cen-
tury gap between the passage of the 13th,
14th and 15th Amendments and the actual
enactment of meaningful civil rights legisla-
tion. Social attitudes and political agendas
move at glacial speed in the U.S., and there-
fore catalysts for change are desperately'
needed.
One such catalyst is affirmative action. The
benefits of attending Top-25 ranked universi-
ties and graduate schools are uncontested, as
the exposure of a greater percentage of minor-
ity students to the most prominent professors,
doctors and corporate recruiters in the country
creates significant opportunities for personal

advancement. In turn, a growing base of
empowered minorities will emerge who make
certain that their children receive the same
quality of elementary, middle and high school
educational experiences that their white peers
do. Then we will not need affirmative action.
If there can be any hope of providing quali-
ty primary and secondary education to urban
minorities today, it lies in giving impoverished
families the chance to send their children to
private schools. That is not to say that school
vouchers should be financed by draining
money from the troubled public schools that
have prompted the need for this program.
Funding for education must never be a
zero-sum game; vouchers will give today's
children stronger educational opportunities
while the public schools are improved. The
mere implementation of voucher programs
will strengthen the public schools from which
children have departed by creating smaller
class sizes in these schools.
Currently, though, thousands of children are
being thrust into poor school systems and
probably will not have the opportunity to
receive a solid educational foundation. For the
time being, there is affirmative action. Advo-
cates tend to carry with them a long list of
arguments to support the cause, and all them
are valid. But, if for no other reason, affirma-
tive action must be upheld out of necessity.
In the coming century, America has the
opportunity to reinvent its political, social and'
cultural fabric through the true convergence of
ethnically diverse peoples and ideas. It is also
possible, however, that the country will accel-
erate toward a seismic crisis bordering on rev-
olution. See you in 2050.
- Ethan Shalom Johnson can be reached
via e-mail at ethanj@umich.edu.
TENTAIVEL SPEAK\N

I t would be an understatement to say that
the athletic department is going through
tough times. The department has found
itself trapped in a quagmire of financial
and legal troubles. Former Athletic Direc-
tor Tom Goss tried to rescue the depart-
ment for 29 months - and now it is Bill
Martin's turn to tackle the myriad'of chal-
lenges such a complex department pre-
sents.
Martin is not a perfect fit for the job,
but he just might be what the athletic
department needs in the short run. Hope-
fully Martin will be able to clean things up
during his tenure, but the University
should vigorously proceed with its search
for a person with a more well-rounded
resume and should permanently fill the
position by this September. Martin has
indicated that he does not wish to stay on
as the permanent director, and University
President Lee Bollinger has set up a search
committee to find his successor.
It is not an easy task to find an individ-
ual who is both shrewd financially and
sensitive to the wide range of athletic con-
cerns that arise in a department with a
diverse range of programs. The new athlet-
ic director must be equally (and exception-
ally) skilled in both of these areas if the
department's problems are going to be
solved. This makes it essential that the
University finds a permanent replacement
for Goss no later than the beginning of the
Fall 2000 semester. Martin is capable of
leading the athletic department temporari-
ly, but not past this summer.
Martin's sports experience, at least in
those areas that will require his attention,
is spotty and this makes it unlikely that
Martin will be able to satisfactorily fulfill
all of his duties for any long period of
time. This is not to say he has no sports
knowledge - Martin is on the Board of
Directors for the U.S. Olympic Committee
and the president of the United States Sail-
ing Foundation.

But Martin has no experience with the
major sports, like football, basketball and
hockey, which will demand the permanent
athletic director's attention. One of the
duties of an athletic director is to hire and
fire coaches - not the type of responsibil-
ity that ought to be delegated to someone
with minimal experience in major sports.
But these concerns are minor, considering
Martin does not wish to remain perma-
nently in the position.
The most worrisome problem is the
probability of the administration using Mar-
tin as its puppet. Interim administrators are
by nature inclined to do the bidding of those
who appoint them. Bollinger seems to think
the athletic department is too precarious to
function without his careful oversight.
While his concern is warranted, it is not
Bollinger's job to attempt to take it over. At
a school the size of the University - and
with athletics of our caliber - the depart-
ment functions as close to a separate entity
as possible. Bollinger not only has his plate
full with everything from the affirmative
action lawsuits to the tower takeover, but is
simply not qualified.
But the type of strict fiscal responsibili-
ty we will probably see from Martin could
be good for the athletic department, and
the permanent athletic director needs to
have similar skills. A report released Mon-
day predicted that the athletic department
will face a $3 million deficit by the end of
fiscal year 2000. The duties of the athletic
director extend far beyond the realms of
mere finance. When the athletic director
position is filled by a fiscally capable indi-
vidual, budget concerns should only be
periphery. At least for the time being, Mar-
tin seems to be good fit for the financially-
troubled athletic department.
The administration should regard Mar-
tin's appointment as temporary - the
sooner the athletic director position is
filled by a candidate with experience in
both sports and business, the better.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

The real thing
New organic food regulations are welcome

Banning firearms is
nonsensical
TO THE DAILY:
In an editorial titled "Increase the Peace"
published in the March 6 edition of The Daily
states: "The current interpretation of the Sec-
ond Amendment, originally drafted to secure
protection against the government, has
become outdated While the Second Amend-
ment is still valid, current gun ownership is
doing more harm than good. The country will
be truly safe only when guns are banned
completely." I notice these statements were
conveniently placed at the end of the editorial
to allow minimum explanation. How does the
author support these assertions?
I refute the claim that our country is not
safe unless there are no firearms. If we wish
to have the lack of guns and peace at the
same time, weapons must not exist anywhere
in the world. No member of any nation - or
any government of any nation - must have
access to guns, rifles, bombs, biological
weapons, missiles and other potential injury-
causing agents like knives or large rocks.
Taking the Daily's views to the next step, the
world will only be safe when humans all over
the globe live in mud shacks and forage for
raw vegetables to eat, while love abounds and
wild animals peaceably frolic.
The Daily correctly asserts that the Sec-
ond Amendment allows citizens to protect
themselves from the government of their own
country. As the trend for more laws (of any
type) continues, citizens are restricted from
more actions and the judiciary branch of gov-
ernment seems to gain more power to prose-
cute. Who can be absolutely certain that the
threat of government takeover in these United
States is past forever?
Where is the Daily's proof that guns are
doing more harm than good? This only seems
like the case because we don't see news sto-
ries about safe gun usage. If all firearms were
banned, police forces could not have them
either (in our republican democracy all citi-
zens must follow all laws, regardless of occu-
pation). Would this be a good thing? Hunting
would also effectively stop. Deer would detri-
mentally overrun residential areas in cities
like Ann Arbor. Without weapons, if a farmer
with livestock observes a wolf attacking one
of his sheep, what is he supposed to do?
Chase the predator away with a pitchfork?
Surely the Daily is not so naive as to think
that banning guns all over the United States
would improve our situation. We really need
better parenting and for our society's morals
to return to past standards. If children were
taught proper, responsible and safe use of
firearms, then fewer fatal accidents like

_~ IItPthT REAL\ZE YOU WERE INTO
St@YtEwT &Q'og ET.
'NO T.BT I
SIDEWALK CNACL- I
Kayla s death would occur. with his first work, only to find himself
The banning of firearms in general is defi- thereafter in an intellectual rut. Hanson
nitely not the solution. Besides, remember uses this concept of a "Wonder Boy" to
what happened when they tried Prohibition? craft a masterful story about our searches
for redemption, although not necessarily
ANNE NAGRANT "delivered to us in a neat little package
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT with a bow."
The last 20 minutes of this film are the
crescendo of this redemption. Grady's
'W onder Boys' monster novel is his catharsis and being so,
it adopts his very faults. It is a story with-
revieW elicited out direction, afraid to make a commit-
ment, mirroring Grady himself. It makes
frustration him the quintessential "Wonder Boy."
When the novel is destroyed, Grady real-
izes he is free. He can make decisions
TO THE DAILY: again, and he does; to follow his heart. This
Having seen Curtis Hanson's fine fol- re-birth is emphasized by the final scene,
low-up to "L.A. Confidential" over this when Grady clicks "save" on his notebook
spring break, "Wonder Boys," ("Tidy end- computer. It isn't a trite conclusion to a
ing weakens otherwise 'Wonder' story," complex story, it is concrete proof that he
3/6/00) 1 found myself overwhelmingly can make decisions, reaffirming his rebirth.
frustrated at Matthew Barrett's review in He is no longer a "Wonder Boy" and so
Monday's issue of the Daily. In labeling when he uses the term to express his feel-
the film "light," Barrett apparently thought ings towards James Leer near the end of
this gave him license to do a "light" the film, they do not have the same conno-
review. To explain the events of a film, tation as the title implies. Leer is simply a
leaving out major spoilers, and then adding wonder to him. Leer is not redeemed. He
a paragraph of unsubstantiated critiques, can write well at such a young age, he
ladies and gentlemen, is fluff. crafts stories well and he is a "wonder,"
Additionally, factual inaccuracies mar but he is still a thief, he is still a liar who
our ability to take him seriously. Downey, for cannot confront his own past. These issues
example, filmed this role before he was sen- are not resolved... He is still fractured,
tenced to prison, knowledge which is easily even when the story closes. He does not
obtainable if one had bothered to look. find any kind of great redemption. This is
My real complaint lies with Barrett's a very complex story, with a satisfying
opinion of the "weak ending." (Spoilers conclusion, which deserved far better than
Ahead!) Perhaps he is unfamiliar with the lack luster treatment it received in the
what a "Wonder Boy" is, as it does not pages of the Daily.

T he U.S. Department of Agriculture
doesn't get a lot of press, so when
it does get some, the reason is usually
important. In a move that will make
going to your local grocery store just a
little bit safer, the U.S.D.A. announced
that it will prohibit the use of geneti-
cally modified ingredients in products
carrying the organic label. While the
move may seem like an easy decision,
the U.S.D.A. thoroughly examined the
issue and ultimately came to a conclu-
sion beneficial to both consumers and
farmers.
The biggest impact the new rules
will have is the increase in food quality
guaranteed for consumers. It is not too
much to ask that food with an organic
label be truly organic. This new rule
will make that the case, demanding that
food be grown or manufactured with-
out the use of added hormones, pesti-
cides or synthetic fertilizers in order to
gain the federal seal of approval. In
addition to banning the use of geneti-
cally modified ingredients in products
with the organic label, the new rules
include provisions to prohibit the use
of sewer sludge as fertilizer and stop
the practice of decontamination
through irradiation. Considering the
farming practices that would remain
legal without the rule, the U.S.D.A's
decision is clearly favorable.
The rule not only helps the con-
sumer, but farmers as well. Because
American standards for organic food
will be high, domestic food products
will become more attractive in foreign

markets, which demand traditional
farming techniques for their food.
Also, small and medium-sized farms
will benefit. Because these farms are
unable to afford the newest technolo-
gies, the U.S.D.A's endorsement of
non-synthetic growing techniques for
organic foods should boost their rev-
enues and reverse the view that the
U.S.D.A. is anti-small farmer.
The fact that the decision seems like
an easy one shouldn't take away from
praise for the U.S.D.A. The department
seemed primed to take the opposite
approach a few years ago. The
U.S.D.A.'s previous stance aroused the
concern of so many that almost
275,000 comments were sent to the
department, almost all of them in oppo-
sition. The fact that the U.S.D.A. ^hose
to listen to its constituents is a reason
for commendation.
If there is any downside to the new
laws, it is that they may be too strict. If
farmers decide that costs are too great
to produce organic foods to the new
standards, the rules will ultimately
deny the organic food they originally
intended to make more available.
Despite this danger, it is likely that
the new rules will only increase the
quality of organic foods. In contrast to
previous years, the U.S.D.A. took the
advice of the National Organic Stan-
dards Board to draft a rule that should
be beneficial. It may seem like a small
thing, but it is good to know that the
government is watching out for what
we eat.

1
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imply something so sugar-coated and trite
as he seems to assume. A "Wonder Boy"
refers to an author who receives acclaim

KYLE BANAS
LSA SOPHOMORE

I would like to remind all bourgeois
American Zionists, namely letter writer Jesse
Miller, ("Israeli occupation has nothing to do
with Zionism," 2/23/00) that oppressed
nations never win their struggle by propagan-
dizing, but rather by revealing the true facts
and unveiling the ugly face of their oppres-
sors. In 1948, the Zionist state was formed on
the ruins of the Palestinian state, forcing
more than 700,000 people to take refuge in
neighboring countries, such as Lebanon.
Thus, for Palestinians, returning to their

1967 seemed like good timing; the war
was unavoidable. Arabs were fortifying their
forces in respond to the colonial threats.
Israeli nuclear plans were, by then, very close
to completion. Israel felt threatened and
decided to take the enemy by surprise to
assure victory, as advised by Moshe Dayan,
then the Israeli defense minister: "It would be
fatal for us to allow them to launch their
attack. We should decide to strike first blow."
Why don't American Zionists admit these
facts, which have actually been stated by their

waves ... The operation of the first wave
went off exactly as planned." To remind all
misinformed American Zionists, Lebanon
was not even involved in this war. Lebanon
was invaded later in an attempt to, first, curb
those who fight for their right to return to
their homeland and second, to transfer the
battlefield to the enemy's territories. Yet,,
rather than learning the lessons of their own
people's painful history, Zionists persist in
acting as savage imperialists. Jesse Miller's
analogy, comparing Arabs to mosquito

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