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December 11, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-11

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EM9

OPINION

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 5

V VIEWPOINTS

MIDE AST
PEACE
Israel's illegal occupation
only provokes violence

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Standing on Brown and our 'common progress'

BY PAUL SABA
Israel has forced its rule via an ille-
gal military occupation of Palestinians
for 33 years now. The result is resis-
b tance. Many times, minority factions of
the resistance have acted inhumanely.
However, this does not justify Israel's
oppressive and brutal occupation. -
Two weeks ago, the deadly, barbar-
ic, inhumane results of 53 years of dis-
placement, and 33 years of Israel's
illegal occupation and oppression were
revealed to the world. Suicide bomb-
ings in Jerusalem and Haifa resulted in
the death of 25 civilians. No decent
person could possibly refrain from con-
demning such an act.
For obvious reasons, the Israelis
should condemn this horrific act. Their
citizens should not be in a position
where they fear getting on a bus or
going to a mall. Nor should the Israeli
government ever feel that theyalways
need be in a self-defense mentality.
However, just as occupation does not
justify suicide bombings, suicide
bombings do not justify occupation and
oppression. Israel's self-defense mental-
ity is a direct result of its occupation
and barbaric tactics. We also cannot
forget that the recent suicide bombings
are a result of Israel's assassination
policies, resulting in the poorly targeted
extra-judicial killings of dozens of
Palestinian resistance leaders, as well as
dozens of innocent passersby. On
November 23rd, Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon escalated the conflict with the
assassination of a senior Hamas leader.
The Palestinians should condemn
such an act because they do not support
the killings of any innocent civilians,
whether they be Israeli or Palestinian.
Furthermore, suicide bombings are a
phenomenon that catch the world's
attention and do nothing but hurt the
just Palestinian cause. Suicide bomb-
ings make up a minute fraction of the
resistance, yet they receive the most
attention. As already stated, the occupa-
tion and oppression do not justify sui-
cide bombings, but they more than
justify other forms of resistance. In
fact, resistance is a natural result of
occupation and oppression, and just as
we see it-in Palestine, we have seen it in
South Africa against apartheid, in the

U.S. against British imperialism, and in
Afghanistan against the Taliban.
The current mass military assault
launched by Sharon in his new war
against the Palestinians (not against ter-
rorism) will do nothing but hurt the
fragile stability of the region. Killing
the Palestinians with military might has
been a policy practiced by the Israelis
for decades, yet it has not yet resulted
in peace. Common sense would tell us
that it would not work now either.
The Israelis are attempting to por-
tray an image whereas Yasser Arafat
has full control over the terrorist
operations. They are blind to the fact
that their oppression and occupation
could possibly anger the indigenous
population. It seems now that the
Israelis are threatening to remove
Arafat from the equation. Oh well.
Arafat is a corrupt and poor leader of
the Palestinians. However, removing
him will not change the troubling sit-
uation on the ground for the Pales-
tinians or end the resistance. Israel
holds the key for this.
Let us keep it very simple. Fact: the
Israelis have illegally occupied the
Palestinians for over 33 years now. Fact:
this occupation has brought with it
unimaginable oppression, resulting in
the lowest standards of living for Pales-
tinians. Fact: the recent conflict has
resulted in the killing of 800 Palestini-
ans; 150 of them children. Just two
weeks ago, 5 children were killed in a
Gaza school by a bomb planted by
Israeli occupation forces. Fact: Israel
has just launched a massive war that
has brought even the criticism of her
own Labor party. Now, how would one
expect the Palestinians to react? Unfor-
tunately for the Israelis, the Palestinians
will never accept slavery, will never
stand by while their land is being taken
from them, while they are forced into
refugee camps, and while they are
killed and deformed by Israeli bullets
and shells. It is time for the U.S. to
open their eyes to this, and end their
support of Palestinian suffering in the
wake of the American-funded Israeli
occupation.
LSA senior Paul Saba is
president of the University 'sArab
Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Editor's Note: What follows is the
argument that was prepared in advance
for the Dec. 6 hearing before the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit, sitting en banc, in the University
of Michigan Law School affirmative
action case, Grutter v. Bollinger, et al.
Miranda K. S. Massie, lead counsel for
the student intervenors in Grutter,
addressed the court.
BY MIRANDA K.S. MAssF
This case is about more than diversi-
ty. We ask you to hold that the aflirma-
tive action plan being challenged here
is justified because it promotes integra-
tion and equality.
I come before you with petitions
signed by over 50,000 people who
speak for the vast majori-
ty of this nation in reiter- Integrat
ating our commitment to
the holding of Brown v our m'
Board of Education. The Compellin
signers include Universi- interes
ty of Michigan President only me
Lee Bollinger and, as of whicho
yesterday, the members
of the Congressional take rac
Black and Hispanic Cau- aCcoun
cuses. Brown was decid- Capab
ed correctly: Separate achievi
can never be equal.
Democracy and justice -
require that thirty years of progress
toward integration be continued and
that the door to higher education
remain open to all. The courts must
not stand in that schoolhouse door
falsely proclaiming that the 14th
Amendment can be used to turn black
and other minority young people away.
Twenty-three years ago, in Bakke,
the Supreme Court upheld the right
of public institutions of higher educa-
tion to desegregate. Justice (Lewis)
Powell adopted the "Harvard Plan"
diversity rationale for defending the
new and still fragile gain of the inte-
gration of America's most prestigious
universities and professional schools.
Racial diversity divorced from
integration is a meaningless con-
struct; racial diversity matters
because the social experience of
race matters. Justice Powell was not
concerned to promote a hollow,
abstract and socially insignificant
notion of diversity for its own sake.
On the contrary, he made it clear

that racial diversity is compelling.
It is impossible to separate its
importance from the question of
equality. The underlying question
confronting the Bakke Court was
whether the programs established
in the 1960s to desegregate higher
education were constitutionally per-
missible. While striking down the
specific plan at issue, Bakke
unequivocally upheld the continua-
tion of these programs. This court
confronts the same question today
and must confirm and clarify
Bakke's holding for diversity and
integration.
At the same time the Bakke Court
recognized that universities might have
the right to take positive measures to
offset the racism, bias, and unfairness
captured in and com-
tion %S pounded by academic
admissions criteria. We
also ask this Court to fol-
g state low that suggestion -
t and which was echoed by the
aSures panel that permitted stu-
)penly dent intervention in these
pnl cases.
,e into The overwhelming evi-
it are dence presented by the
le of student intervenors at trial
tng it. shows that grade point
gt averages and LSAT
scores capture and magni-
fy racial bias and discrimination. It is
thus impossible to assess the signifi-
cance of these two criteria in any appli-
cation file absent consideration of race.
The 14th Amendment does not require
the University to choose between
abandoning the use of these criteria
altogether and using them in a maxi-
mally rigid and discriminatory manner
- particularly since the trial record
shows that there is no race-neutral
measure of academic achievement or
capacity. The University has the right
to offset the discriminatory impact of
LSAT scores and grades through affir-
mative action.
Prior to the use of such policies,
racism overdetermined admissions, as
the trial record shows. The Law
School wes segregated. In 1964, it
graduated a class of 293 students, all
of whom were white (and the over-
whelming majority of whom were
men). 1964 was no aberration.
Between 1950 and 1970 the Law
School graduated 5,772 students, of

ALYS^ "AOO/Daily
Supporters of affirmative action march in Cincinnati before the appeals
hearings of the University's two affirmative action cases on Thursday.

whom a mere 44 were black. None
were Latino/a, Asian-American or
Native American.
The Law School implemented its
first desegregation and affirmative
action plan in the late 1960s and trans-
formed itself into an integrated institu-
tion. From then on, the Law School's
affirmative action plans, including the
1992 plan at issue in this case, have
been ratified by the elected University
of Michigan Board of Regents. It is
clear in the K-12 context, and should
be just as clear for higher education,
that educational authorities like the
regents have the right to take steps to
end de facto segregation.
Extensive trial testimony presented
by the students on the recent experi-
ence in California shows that if the
Regents are stripped of this power, the
University of Michigan Law School
will resegregate. In 1995, the Universi-
ty of California Regents voted to elim-
inate their longstanding affirmative
action policies. The results were clear
and devastating - minority admis-
sions to the best-regarded schools
plummeted; inequality in educational
opportunity between white students
and minority students increased as the
UC system split into two separate and
unequal tracks; prejudice on campus
grew. Earlier this year, the UC
Regents, admitting the failure of their
ill-conceived social experiment, unani-
mously voted to lift the ban on affir-
mative action programs throughout the

UC System. Now the plaintiff asks you
to graft the same intensification of
inequality that has been repudiated in
California onto the 14th Amendment
- to make a permanent constitutional
provision out of an educational disaster
and a political time bomb.
Racial inequality has fettered this
nation's democracy from the start, as
the testimony of distinguished histori-
ans John Hope Franklin and Eric Foner
made clear at the trial. It constrains us
individually as well as collectively,
dehumanizes every person in this room,
just as slavery, to paraphrase Frederick
Douglass, destroyed the humanity of
both the slaveholder and the slave.
What this Court decides will either
tighten those fetters or make us all freer.
Integration is our most compelling
state interest and only measures which
openly take race into account are capa-
ble of achieving it. Turning a blind eye
to racism will not end it. If the law is to
possess meaning and authority, it must
stand on the truth. Our traditions of
racism and of gross and glaring
inequality can be shattered, but only if
we are first prepared to acknowledge
the continuing centrality of race and
inequality. Without this recognition, we
will regress, for we cannot move for-
ward as a society at once increasingly
diverse and increasingly segregated.
We urge the Court to reverse the
decision below and to stand on the
promise of Brown and our common
progress.

L

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