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November 08, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-08

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

U E 9ll ir. 41 g n jDtfl

The rise and fall of a gridiron hero

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

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
Editorial Page Editor

univrsty or mcmgan
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.
Make voting easier
A day off could enfranchise many students
rom the headlines of The New victory in 1960, many people who
York Times to the private conversa- wanted to cast their ballot did not vote
-tions in the Michigan Union, the close- due to inconvenience. Our elected offi-
Jy contested Presidential election and cials and community leaders should
politics at large have been the buzz of take every measure possible to encour-
the country over the past weeks. In age people to vote. An easy way the
pite of this renewed interested in poli- government could emphasize the
tics, America has continued its importance of voting would be by
abysmal trend of having one of the declaring a national holiday on Elec-
worst voter turnouts _tion Day. This rela-
maiong developedIA tively painless step
nations. Withwork and When citizens of a wouid reaffirm a
ilasses, perhaps diffi- dem a urn out belief that every poli-
culty getting to the mocracy cy makertshould hold
polls has something to in droves to vote dear: The opinion of
do with it. the entire public is
Although the issue , im ortant.
has long been a concern Iheydontus Furthermore, it
among members of the - would simply be easi-
-nedia and the subject legIimIZe er for voters to get to
of speeches from elect- - - the polls without wor-
ed officials, little has themseves uthey rying about other
been done to ameliorate - - time commitments. If
the situation. Voter shOW that they a national holiday
turnout needs to be were not possible, pri-
increased not simply to carea bout the vate employers could
increase the number of recognize the impor-
opinions used in the futureotance of Election Day
rocess of governance ited Statesby giving their
but also to catalyze an un S. employees time off.
atmosphere of public The government
participation which is essential to a has other venues to increase turnout as
democracy. well. For instance, providing same-day
Many people who don't vote com- registration services at polling sites
plain that their vote doesn't really would eliminate some of the inconve-
count: Nothing could be farther from nience that causes people to refrain
the truth. When citizens of a democra- from voting. Absentee ballots could be
cy turn out in droves to vote they don't made more accessible until shortly
just legitimize themselves as the basis before Election Day as well.
of self-government; they show that The media and political establish-
they care about the future of the Unit- ment should continue to try and
ed States. increase turnout. During this election
Yet even in this presidential elec- fervor, it behooves everyone to realize
tion, which has been characterized as that voting is not just a right - it is a
the closest since John F. Kennedy's responsibility.
Keeping in touch
Others should follow Rivers' example
WIJith only one day until the elec- overlooked demographic of 18-24
Y'tions, most local candidates year olds. Examples of major candi-
:were out trying to court as many last dates coming to Ann Arbor are
minute voters as possible. One person Ralph Nader's speech at the Michigan
who deviated from this practice was Theatre, as well as Al Gore's appear-
U.S. Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Ann ance on MTV's "Choose or Lose"
Arbor). special, which was
Although students . , taped on North
do not make up the Rivers appearance Campus. Politicians
majority of her con- are realizing that the
stituency, Rivers spent on the Diag set a future of the United
this crucial day on the States rests on this
Diag making herself new standard for demographic and
accessible to students, that students' opin-
answering questions how elected ions, beliefs and
and alleviating anxi- . concerns are valid
eties about the Democ- officials ought to and should be
rats' plans for the addressed.
country should they be interacting with It is time for
win the presidency or a other local officials
majority in the U.S. students. and representatives
House of Representa- to follow Rivers'
tives or U.S. Senate. Regardless of lead. This is especially true for the
one's political beliefs, Rivers and those who sit on the University Board
other local candidates who have been of Regents, who always should have
accessible around campus deserve to been out on the Diag interacting with
be commended for their interest in the students they represent.
students. Students need to feel as if their

Rivers spent nearly two hours on concerns are being addressed by the
the Diag defending Al Gore and the people who make decisions about the
Democratic Party against concerned University. It is a common perception
students, many of whom were Green that politicians are not interested in
Party supporters. Rivers was also the people they represent and instead
willing to debate with Green Party have their own agendas.
members who were unhap wit By paying attention to students'
Democratic attacks on Ralph Nader. concerns, Rivers set herself apart
In the past few years, more atten- from this majority. Other elected offi-
tion has been paid to the previously cials should follow her lead.
JASON POLAN
IM* .. . 0?LEASE(.EWAt.
G R OS.S-.-.-.; ...
I*, I * L0 .W-
4OF l* . *
M N UMm
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114 4 R 1 .
ReR3r
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Probably my most prized possession on earth
is my photo album collection. I have eight
albums, all which hold 300 pictures, that are
dated chronologically and go back years. True
to my sappy nature, I enjoy whipping out these
albums from time to time and reliving old
memories. But last
week I was different. I
came across some very
disturbing pictures of
my ninth birthday party
which occurred when I
was living in Sacramen-
to, California (or "Sac-
town." as the natives
refer to it.)
You see, one of the
kids in those pictures -
one of my oldest friends Branden
- is on trial for murder.
This, in and of itself, is Sanz
not particularly amaz- mp th
ing, as a lot of the kids I
grew up with in Sac-
town are either in jail or
dead at this point, but the circumstances of this
case are what make it so remarkable.
It all started when I first moved there, back
in third grade. I made friends pretty quickly and
soon developed a crew of about five guys from
which I was inseparable. One of these guys was
a tall, lanky, black kid named Raelamar who
was a year older than myself. Raelamar lived
half a block away from me in the quiet, subur-
ban neighborhood I had moved to and he was
Yin to my Yang. Then, as now, I tended to wear
my emotions on my sleeve, but Raelamar was
always very quiet and reserved. I can honestly
say that in over six years of constant contact I
can only remember him laughing once - at my
ninth birthday party. But for whatever reason,
however those childhood relationships work
out, we became good friends.

But as we grew. Sacramento grew up even
faster. When I first moved there it was a lazy,
sprawling town of about 800,000. By the time I
moved away Sacramento had become a bustling
metropolis of over 2 million people. And as
people moved in, the inner-city moved out-
wards. South Sacramento became awash with
gangs and drugs. Drive-by's and school shoot-
ings started to occur. Rapes and murders
became commonplace, an everyday part of life.
Schools started installing metal detectors
because the gun problem was so bad, and when
we started high school at nearby Valley High,
we were told that we could not wear hats or
Starter jackets because they could be construed
as "gang-affiliated."
Through all this, Raelamar and I held on to
our dreams. We were going to get out of this
ghetto-hellhole and athletics would be our tick-
et. He was going tobe a star shooting guard and -
go to the NBA - the next Jordan. I was going
to be an All-American defensive end and a first-
round NFL draft pick, the next Charles Mann
(another Valley High alumnus).
Real life didn't quite work out that way.
After freshman year, I moved to Reno, where I
realized I was never going to grow into the 6'5,"
270 pound frame I wanted, and decided to give
up football for wrestling and rodeo, sports more
suited to my less-than-gargantuan size. Raela-
mar traded in basketball for football, where he
became a star running back at Valley, gaining
over 1,800 yards his senior year and was given a
full-ride scholarship to Colorado, where he
went on to become an All-American wide
receiver and a first-round NFL draft pick. Talk
about irony!
I kept in touch with Raelamar those last few
years of high school, visiting whenever I
stopped into town, but I haven't talked to him
much since he left for Colorado. And now he is
in jail for murder, one of my oldest friends. You
might be thinking, "Hey wait! I've never heard

of an NFL wide receiver named Raelamar!"
Well, you are correct. You see, when Raelamar
started high school, he shortened his name to
"Rae." And his last name? Carruth.
In case you've been on a desert island, jury
selection began last week for the trial of Rae
Carruth, former wide receiver of the Carolina
Panthers. Rae is accused of murder, specifically
for masterminding the shooting of his pregnant
girlfriend Cherica Adams last November.
Friends and family have called to ask me how
I'm doing and what I think about it. What do I E
think? Well, I think he's guilty. I hope to God
I'm wrong, but I would be a hypocrite in the
extreme if I thought O.J. was guilty because he
ran (which I did) and thought Rae, who also
ran, was innocent just because he was a friend
of mine.
Am I sad? Very. But even more than that,
I'm angry. I'm angry because I remember two
little boys talking together long ago about how
they were going to get out of the 'hood, how
they were going to beat the system of drugs and
violence that had already ambushed so many
people they knew. I'm angry because those two
boys actually accomplished what they set out to
do; they did get out, they did beat the system.
I'm angry because one of those boys forgot the
promise he had made to himself and to his
friend, long ago.
There's a saying in Sactown: "You can take
the boy out of the 'hood, but you can't take the
'hood out of the boy." (And yes, we were saying
this long before the movie came out). I always
thought that was a cop-out, just another excuse
for people to justify breaking the law. Now I'm
not so sure. Maybe I'm angry because I'm
scared the 'hood is still there within me, just
waiting for the right time to come out. If the
'hood got Rae, maybe it will still get me too. I
guess I'll just have to wait and see ...
- Branden Sant can be reached via
e-mail at hamrhead@umich.edu

'I had a good campaign ... for running a campaign for
$500, that's the best we can do.'
- Republican Todd Hagopian, commenting on his loss in his race in City Ward
Sfor a seat on the Ann Arbor City Council:

4

Daily disentranonisecd
many students
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing the Daily today because of my
abhorrence to its coverage of this year's general
election. I fear the Daily has lost sight of its
duty to be an objective reporter of local, state
and national news as well as the opinions of the
students it represents. The Daily's Editorial
page has, throughout the last two months. been
so overwhelmingly liberal, that any open-mind-
ed American must ask themselves if the Daily
is accurately representing the students and the
University whose names it bears. The Editorial
page urged all its readers to vote for what is an
essentially straight Democratic ticket ("Ready,
set. vote!s' 11/700). 1 have always had a firm
belief that a newspaper has te duty to present
both sides of an issue. But when this funda-
mental attribute is neglected, the publication
loses it credibility and becomes nothing more
than propaganda. Every morning when I pick
up the Daily, I see the proud statement: "One
hundred ten years of editorial freedom," but
today I realized, that editorial freedom in the
Daily only applies to the liberal writers and
readers. The narrow-minded editors of the
Daily have disenfranchised a great number of
readers from their University newspaper
because of a liberal political agenda.
JOHN SIMPSON
KINESIOLOGY SOPHOMORE
Racial discrimination
still exists on campus
TO THE DAILY:
Emily Achenbaum is a tad misguided with
her apples to oranges comparison of smoking

and racial self segregation ("Segregation:
Where there's smoke, there's fire," 10/30100).
"Smoker segregation" exists not only because
smokers share a common ground, but because
many of us "nonies" would like to avoid risk-
ing our health by simply being in their pres-
ence (not to mention avoiding that repulsive
stench). However, Achenbaum was quite cor-
rect in stating that she isn't "allowed" to chas-
tise minorities for self-segregating. How dare
she even suggest that because we have left the
days of Jim Crow, that we (minorities) are to
blame for the absence of total integration!
Truth be told, affirmative action was not
intended to be a formula for social utopia. The
efforts are more directed at counteracting past
and present injustices than at having black and
white students join hands across America. And
viI ind rr in inctfP Ac mrh n

people would like so think so, racism is not a
thing of the past. Discrimination isalive and
well, and it can be found right on this campus.
Affirmative action is an attempt at unseat-
ing institutionalized discrimination - it is not
to blame for the failure of individuals of vary-
ing ethnic backgrounds to socialize at the same
lunch table. The real culprit? Making unfound-
ed assumptions about an entire group's unwill-
ingness to let go of prejudices (subconscious
or otherwise) and "observing" their self-segre-
gation, while remaining blissfully unaware that
by doing so, one is guilty of the same behavior.
The solution? Open your mouth and speak the
next time you see that person you haven't both-
ered to get to know.
RACHEL MCDUFFIE
,CHnni on F PUiBIC H EATH

yes, isaa present Injustics Smc ssm ~uLy uL~ c~
CHIP CULLEN GR1.ND' NGxTHENIB
....

R

6

S

14

Would you wear the big skirt?

We'd all like to think highly of ourselves.
that we're good people - that we do
good things. But when it comes down to it -
would you wear the big
skirt'?
Let me tell you as
story. One day, in a town}
not unlike Ann Arbor,
there was a high school
team - it doesn't mat-
ter if it was football or '
pom-pon, it was the fact.
that there was a group
of people who trusted
each other - that called
each other friends. They Erin
practiced together, they
partied together, they McQulnn
had all been together in p r
school since fifth grade.
They had the kind of
inexplicable bond you
can only get by sharing blood, sweat and tears.
That is until the time came to pick uniforms.
One by one they went in to the girls locker
room, trying on smelly wool sweaters from the
'70s and polyester skirts of varying shades of
green. One by one they grabbed the smallest
uniforms, carefully avoiding the size 16 skirt
looming in the corner, because everyone knows
the biggest insult is to be called fat - especially
if you're a girl. Guys just didn't suffer this same
injustice.
It continued until the last girl had to pick up
her uniform - of course it was the smallest girl
on the team. The size 16 skirt wouldn't even sit
on her hips. So all her friends pleaded the injus-
tice of having tiny little Tina wear the biggest
skirt. Immediately all eyes shot to Alice and
Lisa - not fat, but on the scale of anorexic

cheerleaders, the biggest of the bunch.
The coach had Tina take off the skirt and
held it up for all eyes to see. To the cliquey high
school cheerleader the green waistband looked
like if unraveled it could connect both sides of
the Grand Canyon. Of course in real life, it was
just a size 16 polyester skirt, but in this context,
it became a badge of obesity. This not-quite-for-
est-green skirt was the indicator for the largest
female on the squad, a title no one should ever
have to bear.
Everyone could see the pain in Alice and
Lisa's eyes, yet no one did anything out of their
own insecurities of being singled out. So it went
between the two girls, back and forth, insisting
that the other girl was bigger than she. This
painful uniform selection lasted several prac-
tices, each girl rallying for support among the
other members of the team - "C'mon, she's so
much bigger than me, isn't she?"
This lasted until the first game came, it was
a standoff - there were 30 girls, and 30 skirts
- someone had to wear the now entitled, "fat
skirt" So the coach picked Lisa - who sponta-
neously burst into tears and eventually quit the
team.
No one cared enough to help out their
"friend." No one wanted to call out the injustice
of the coach because that would mean going
against the protection of the majority. So no one
bothered to inconvenience themselves, even to
save a fellow team member from an embarrass-
ment that would deeply hurt her feelings.
How many times have we ourselves been
caught in a similar situation? It's so easy to
stand on the other side of the fence and do noth-
ing - but what will you do when it's you that's
alone?
It's the little things that count. So often, we
seem to measure our own personal charity by

the major things that we do - not the every day
stuff like holding open the door for someone or
even smiling at the kid who looks like they've
had a tough day. As we mind our own business,
it's so easy to think that the next time will be the
time that you make a change.
So yeah, maybe you've even never inten-
tionally hurt anyone's feelings, but really what
does it matter if you've never taken the time to*
salvage someone's feelings? Isn't that just as
much contributing to the problem?
Of course no one's perfect. I myself was a
bystander to this skirt ordeal, not wanting to
accept the "fat skirt" - not making the effort to
help out a so-called friend. Not willing to accept
the stigma that comes associated with anything
but the toothpick image that we were all trying
so hard to portray. Guys can have team dinners
where they eat like animals - but with us not
eating was acceptable, it was almost expected,*
Stuffing your face full of pizza and fries would
really tarnish that imagined stereotype -just as
in the back of your mind knowing you were
wearing the biggest skirt would.
And every person, no matter how high and
mighty they think they are, can relate to feeling
like they have to wear the big skirt. Sports
superstars mess up plays, and models wake up
with blemishes. (Sometimes writers even write
sarcastic columns which no one gets and then
receive 2,500 pieces of hate mail - but that's
different story.) The point here is that we-are ai
just people and everyone deserves a break every
once in a while.
No one deserves to be made out a fool - no
one should ever have to wear the big skirt.
We've all had a time in our life when we feel
like we're standing alone.
- Erin McQuinn can be reached via e-mail
at erinmciunsich.edu.

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