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November 06, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-06

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

OP/ED

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
'First of all,
Malik, if you said
this in any other
country you would
be jailed or killed.
You're lucky to be
in America."
Alan Colmes of the Fox Network's
"Hannity and Colmes", responding
to "un-American "comments made by
Malik Shabazz offthe New Black Panther
Party about America's war on terrorism.

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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.

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What's the deal, my Nigga?
DUSTIN J. SEIBERT TIE MANIFESTO
couple of months I think that it speaks on the ingenuity of many other word in many rap songs, then can anyone
ago, there was a black people to use the word in the context of be truly upset when non-blacks-adopt it? In
forum regarding humor or something else that it was not origi- effect, it is not entirely different than the use of
the topic of who should be nally intended for - a slap in the face of the any expletive; those who swear adopt it from
allowed to use the 'N' people that have and continue to use it negative- somewhere. The jokers that picked on poor
word, if anyone, and who ly. Think about it; won't the word lose some of Jennifer Lopez for using "niggas" in her song
shouldn't. It was definitely its negative "luster" seeing as it is so widely need to pick their battles a bit more carefully.
a worthy topic of conver- used in the black community? Certainly not Continuing in my role as devil's advo-
sation, but the majority of every black person is a proponent of any use of cate, blacks have a very unfair double stan-
the attendees of said forum this word, and many may argue that I am mis- dard in terms of what they are socially
were certainly people of guided in my history to think that use of the allowed to say, versus what the "man" can
color, and I also believe that it is a topic not word is OK, but much like any offensive word, say. Isn't it rather hypocritical for blacks to
to be limited to a specific demographic (never the context in which it is used is essential laugh at the demeaning things Martin
mind the fact that I long ago planned to write regarding the use of the word itself. Lawrence has to say about white folks,
on it), so let my perspective be read by the Black folks typically truncate the 'er' and knowing that Drew Carey's ass would be
majority as well as the minority ... add an 'a' as a start; this is how they said it handed to him if he did the same thing with
I imagine that the Civil Rights movement many years ago, and for some reason, it sounds blacks? History, coupled with a lingering
allowed the word "nigger" the power that it much better than enunciating the entire word. guilt on many whites' part, is the reason for
has today; a word that was historically used so Use of "nigga" has become so cavalier that it is this double standard, but I think that it is
commonplace to address or describe blacks almost unconsciously used in many social cir- ludicrous, which is why I don't get caught up
that it was once considered an insignificant cles. A general consensus with black folks, in it. I enjoy using the friendly, humorous
piece of vocabulary. When black folks decided however, is that non-blacks (particularly cau- phrase "punk-ass white boy" to those that I
that they were no longer accepting the use of casians) *are, by no means, allowed to use the am comfortable with, which means that I
the word from their oppressors, it developed a word in any context. All things considered, this have no right to get upset if they were to say
sort of energy - evolving into the strength is quite understandable, but I will not necessar- something of similar effect in return. Again,
that the word currently possesses. Sure, it ily persecute a white person if he/she uses the it is all in context; if some skinhead were to
didn't mean much when black folks used it on word with no disrespect intended. I had a white walk up to me and call me a "dirty nigger,"
each other.while whites were using it in their friend in high school who was born and raised then Houston, we have a problem. Other-
faces, but now that the latter have ceased doing in the predominantly black Cass Corridor area wise, to get riled up at a white person who
this for the most part, people still question the of Detroit (if you don't know about the Corri- uses it haplessly; or with innocent intentions
political correctness of blacks using the word dor, ask a native Detroiter), and he used is basically a waste of energy. Unfortunately,
towards each other. "nigga" just as casually as all of his black peers the intentions of the person from whom the
Today, the word "nigger" bears numerous would. When it was brought to his attention by word is spoken is not always certain, so I
connotations, depending on whom you talk to; it fellow students as a problem, he explained that usually advise my white friends who have
can refer to a black person, an ignorant black his language, his music, his dress, etc. was gotten too comfortable with "nigga" to watch
person, an ignorant person period, or it can sim- simply a product of his environment ... a cul- themselves so they don't wind up in a situa-
ply be used as a cavalier form of reference or tural matter, if you will. White people who tion like Jackie Chan in "Rush Hour".
endearment toward someone. Many would ask have embraced the hip-hop culture often find Knowledge.
how a word with such negative beginnings themselves spouting the word here and there,
could ever be used in a positive manner ... an as the word is so littered in the music. If music Dustin .J Seibert can be reached
issue that may be quite unclear to many people. is a universal language, and "nigga" is every via e-mail at dseibert@umich.edu.
Approval, not admiration
PETER CUNNIFFE ONE FOR THE ROAD

bout five minutes
into MSNBC's
"Days of Crisis:
The Commander in Chief,"
I started thinking, "Wow,
Brian Williams is a really
good actor." After all, here
was a serious journalist
putting on a straight face
and earnestly trying to lend
an air of gravity to this nauseating, Fox News-
esque fluff piece, seemingly designed for no
other purpose than to make George W. Bush
look good. At least I hoped he was acting.
I'll assume that he was talking, yet again,
about Bush's new sense of mission, seriousness,
and how on Sep. 11, he was extra careful not to
upset the children he was reading to, because
some producer or news executive was interested
in journalistically fellating Bush for his own rea-
sons and Williams was merely caught up in the
larger plan.
Flipping to another news channel, I was
treated to Barbara Bush telling a crowd how
proud she was to have such a wise man as her
son leading us. It's always comforting to be
assured by someone's mom that they're really
smart, especially as defensively as Barbara Bush
always sounds.
While criticism of the administration is heat-
ing up, it tends to be directed more towards the
White House's hapless henchmen, most notably
Tom Ridge and Tommy Thompson, than our
newly fearless leader, George W. Bush himself.
Instead, we get treated to specials ind stories
about how he's "grown" so much because of the
recent events and are constantly reassured by
news anchors, talking heads and his mom that
he's become more serious, focused and is in
fact, not an idiot. I guess going to Yale and Har-

vard still counts for something.
Maybe all this fawning coverage as we face
mounting difficulties in our efforts in
Afghanistan, dealing with anthrax outbreaks and
the deteriorating economy is driven by his sky
high poll numbers, which lead the ratings seek-
ers to figure this is what we want to see.
If a pollster called me up and asked how I
thought Bush was doing, I'd probably say I was
still with the vast majority supporting him for
the attacks on Afghanistan and the stepped up
security at home. But he and the media
shouldn't get the idea that I and hopefully others
in my position, trust or like him or have as high
regard for his capabilities as his mother. In fact,
while approving generally of Bush's anti-terror
moves, I think he's a terrible president in most
respects.
For example, the House of Representatives
narrowly passed an aviation security bill that
leaves airport security in the hands of private
companies thanks to heavy lobbying by Bush,
who reportedly wanted to prevent those low
wage jobs from being unionized. I'm impressed
that his interest in attracting better qualified
security personal with the higher pay, benefits
and job security of union jobs (as most law
enforcement jobs are) couldn't overcome his
instinctive Republican hatred of organized
labor, but not in a good way.
Bush has also taken this opportunity to push
for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge, saying that this will benefit national
security by reducing our dependence on foreign
sources. Forget the relatively small amount of
oil most estimate is in ANWR and the decade it
may take to get any of it. I'd take this oil execu-
tive filled administration's line about cutting
dependence on foreign oil a little more seriously
if they'd say anything about raising car and

SUV fuel efficiency standards and other means
of reducing consumption. But I'm not holding
my breath.
Also on the environmental degradation
front, Bush recently repealed Clinton-era min-
ing rules that let the Department of the Interior
block new mines on federally owned -land if
they would hurt the environment or local com-
munities. Protecting local communities; oh the
horrors of big government.
Then there was Bush's decision to reinter-.
pret the Presidential Records Act and unilateral-
ly decide whether or not to release a former
president's sensitive papers after the statutory
twelve-year period. I guess keeping daddy's
presidential and vice presidential dirt under
wraps is more important than holding a democ-
ratic government accountable more than a
decade after the fact.
George W. Bush's adequate leadership on
our most pressing problems has kept up his poll
numbers, but no one should mistake this for a
surge of great personal admiration. I, like the
majority of people, support the various efforts of
our many faceted "war," but in dealing with
other issues, Bush keeps reminding me why I,
like the majority of people, did not vote for him.
Crisis-level support shouldn't lead anyone to
believe all we want to hear about Bush from the
media (especially television news) is the sound
of them patting him on the back. I'd much pre-
fer, as I'm sure he would, that Brian Williams
remove his lips from George's left nut and use
them to tell us about the serious issues still fac-
ing us, rather than thanking the president one
more time for not being as dumb as we thought.
Besides, that's Tony Snow's job.

Peter Cunniffe can be reached
via e-mail atpcunnifj@umich.edu.

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

When time was up,
Michigan was winner
To THE DAILY:
In the headline of his column, Raphael
Goodstein states "Varsity is now getting what it
really deserves" (11/5/01). Since when does any
team at any time deserve one game over anoth-
er'? Sure, our run defense wasn't spectacular.
Sure we shot ourselves in the foot a few times
over. The fact remains that we were up 24-20

of the end of the final drive of the game. We all
saw the clock stop prior to any sort of spike or
whistle of any kind. A game is not decided by
who has the most yards, who has the most
penalties or who has the most turnovers. It is
decided by which team has more points when
the clock reads 0:00. On Saturday afternoon we
were the winner, it was ugly, but we won. The
refs and clock operator didn't agree, but those of
us who watched know who won.
KEVIN GILBERT
LSA senior

Planned Parenthood's patients receiving pre-
natal care double those seeking abortion"
("Anti-choice terrorism," 10/31/01) is a lie.
However, the statistics cited to contradict that do
not disprove Mann's statement. Percentages
from the annual report are used, rather than solid
numbers, so the ratio is still undetermined. This
use of manipulating given statistics to favor one
side of a debate is what makes people distrust
statistics, and shows an uneducated debater.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood strives to
help people receive reproductive care at an

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