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December 05, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-05

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4 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 5, 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

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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
a The boy-scout
propaganda that we're
re-making the world' is
designed for domestic
consumption. Schools
and hospitals and homes
are not going to be
sprouting next spring or
the one after in
Afghanistan or Kosovo."
-Journalist Tariq Ali in the political
newsletter CounterPunch.

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The liberal right turn
MANISH RAIJI NOTHING CATCHY

3r magine the following
k scenario: The U.S.,
recognizing the painful
gap of wealth and resources
between the rich and the
poor nations, has decided to
implement an aid program
designed to alleviate the sit-
uation. The U.S. will give
foreign aid, in the form of
money, to individual citizens of foreign nations.
However, the money will be allocated via a spe-
cific distribution method - only the most well
off citizens of the poor nation will be given the
aid, while the worst off citizens of the poor
nation will be given nothing.
Liberals would respond with outrage. The
first part (giving financial aid to developing
country) is a liberal idea, but the second part
(giving the aid only to the wealthiest) would
elicit an incredible amount of liberal criti-
cisms.
Conservatives would be equally outraged.
Right wingers would consider the whole idea
ridiculous - citing the need for isolationism.
Moderate conservatives would have general dis-
dain for the first part (suggesting that foreign
development ought to be dven by non-govern-
ment business), while being slightly more favor-
able toward the second part (assuming that
trickle-down economies would come into play
- plus, conservatives just like rich people).
But now, let's play a little word game that
we've all played in grade school. We're going
to replace some nouns and adjectives - thought
the point of this lesson will not be about the
English language.
Let's replace "U.S." with "University."
"Rich" becomes "white" and "poor" becomes
"black," while "nations" become "communi-
ties." "Foreign aid" becomes "educational

opportunities," "money" becomes "admis-
sions," "citizens" becomes "members" and "for-
eign nations" become "underrepresented
minority groups."
The scenario would become this: The Uni-
versity, recognizing the painful gap of wealth
and resources between the white and the black
communities, has decided to implement an aid
program designed to alleviate the situation. The
University will give educational opportunities, in
the form of admissions, to individual members of
underrepresented minority groups. However, the
admissions will be allocated via a specific distrib-
ution method - only the most well off members
of the black community will be given the aid,
while the worst off members of the black commu-
nity will be given nothing.
Liberals and conservatives alike ought to
shudder.
Affirmative action doesn't work because it
tries to pass off two fundamental mistruths -
that the real disparity in this country is between
black and white and that diversity is a birthright.
Let's not kid ourselves.
There is a disparity between black and white
in this country, but the fact is that the
black/white issue is only a symptom of a larger
issue: The disparity between the poor and the
rich. It's surprising that liberals, who shudder at
the idea of wasting resources on those that don't
require extra help, would be so adamant in
defending a program that does just that.
A cursory look at impoverished high schools
in this country - where less than ten percent
attend college - is an indication of the need for
upward mobility among the poor communities
in this country. What is affirmative action doing
to solve that?
Would affirmative action decrease minority
enrollment rates? Certainly, if it wasn't replaced
with a truly affirmative application process -

one that admits poverty is wreaking havoc on
this country. Poor high schools across the nation
have black student populations in the high-90
percent range - and they deserve a chance to
succeed.
The second myth perpetuated by affirmative
action advocates is that being black is an auto-
matic guarantee of cultural diversity. That's as
ludicrous an assumption as any - but it's one
that is entrenched in the liberal psyche.
Take the following story: A (white) guy I
know is applying to medical schools. At a recent
interview, he was asked how many black people
he knew - to which he answered "a few."
When asked how many black people he's
friends with, he admitted that his circle of
friends is fairly monochromatic.
Sounds to me like he lacks diversity.
But he doesn't. Said (white) guy is an inter-
national student, went to an international high
school with students from around the world and
knows more about other cultures than most. But
his interviewer didn't consider him to be partic-
ularly diverse because he is white: White people
can't be diverse.
I can't be the only one concerned about this
subversive - not to mention false - definition
of "diversity." Nor can I be the only one con-
cerned about the status of the poor - who come
in all different colors (including, dare I say it,
white). I can't be the only one because, if I am,
the hopes for a truly inclusive and equitable
nation are shot.
As hard as it is to root against my own
school, I sincerely hope that the University loses
these lawsuits. Because if racially biased admis-
sions policies are struck down, maybe we'll start
helping the people who really need it.

Manish Rayi can be reached via
e-mail at mraiji@umich.edu

V VIEWPOINTS
Affirmative action's fate tums on Dec. 6

BY AGNES ALEOBUA AND JESSICA CURTIN
Tomorrow, when the federal 6th Circuit
Court Court of Appeals hears the appeal of the
two University of Michigan affirmative action
cases, American society will change. Our soci-
ety is going to move either forward or backward
- it can no longer remain where it has been. To
coincide with the hearing, the Coalition to
Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and
Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary has
organized a national civil rights march and rally.
For the last four years BAMN has been fighting
tirelessly to put these two historic cases at the
center of the American political agenda.
By skipping over a hearing scheduled for
Oct. 23 in front of the assigned three-judge
panel, to a hearing of all nine active judges on
Dec. 6, the federal 6th Circuit Court of
Appeals has expressed in a procedural way
their understanding of the extraordinary
importance of these two cases. The question
that the court will answer with its ruling is
whether we as a society will move backward
toward more inequality, segregation, racism
and injustice or forward toward more equality
and integration, toward more justice and
democracy.
The two University affirmative action cases
are our generation's Brown v. Board of Educa-
tion. At stake is all we have achieved in the way
of integration in higher education since the Civil
Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Immediately, these two cases will determine

if it will be legal to take any positive steps to
integrate higher education in Tennessee, Ken-
tucky, Ohio and Michigan. A negative ruling
would immediately outlaw affirmative action;
the incoming classes for fall 2002 at colleges,
universities and graduate and professional
schools would see a dramatic drop in black,
Latina/o and Native American admissions.
These cases are very likely to go to the U.S.
Supreme Court and determine whether it will be
legal to take any positive measures at all to over-
come the racism and sexism of our society.
We can win this critical fight. The tide is
turning in our favor, but the question is very far
from settled.
We must now make the federal courts
accountable to the people. We must make clear
to them that resegregating higher education will
not be accepted - that the condition whereby
black, Latina/o and Native American people are
marginalized and relegated to inferior education
will no longer be tolerated.
We can convince the courts to rule for jus-
tice and integration by using the same persistent
methods of mass organizing and mass struggle
that secured victories during the Civil Rights
Movement of the 1960s. Mass organizing and
mass action are the methods that BAMN has
been using to build the new civil rights move-
ment. An example of this is the nation-wide
petition campaign that has gathered over 50,000
signatures. The national civil rights march and
rally in Cincinnati on Dec. 6 is another example.
What the struggle against racism and for

equality needs more than any other thing is lead-
ership and organization. By stepping out in front
with a clear plan of action, BAMN has rallied
the support of the establishment civil rights
organizations and has called a new civil rights
movement into being. As has been the case with
every farsighted leadership acting at history's
turning points, we have drawn out unprincipled
detractors of various political stripes. Awaken-
ing the slanderers, cynics and foot-draggers is
part of changing history.
The fighting spirit and determination of the
,students and youth is contagious. BAMN stu-
dent and youth leaders have drawn the establish-
ment civil rights organizations into this struggle.
Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push orga-
nization are co-sponsoring the rally and march.
Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
are scheduled to speak at the rally. The NAACP
student and youth chapter at the University of
Cincinnati has been instrumental in building the
march and rally.
The new civil rights movement is saying
loud and clear - we will not go back to segre-
gation in higher education. The students and
youth of America will not be force-fed the "sep-
arate but equal" lie any longer. We demand:
Integrate the schools, we mean all the schools,
and we will not rest until victory is won.
Aleobua and Curtin are members of the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and
Integration and Fight for Equality By
Ay Means Necessary.

Straight ticket voting: A tool of inclusive democracy

BY ERIC FELDMAN
The Michigan Daily's Nov. 13 editorial,
"Informed voting" misrepresents the true effect
eliminating straight-ticket voting in Michigan
would have. The legislation referred to, Senate
Bill 173, would end straight ticket voting on
Michigan's ballots, an option that allows voters
to check one box to cast a vote for every candi-
date of one party. Michigan has had straight
ticket voting for 110 years - electing politicians
of various political parties to office. Republican
and Democratic country clerks - the people
charged with making Election Day run smoothly
- onnose this bill henue it will cause voter

does not and should not carry any less weight
than those who have the luxury to learn about
each candidate.
The Daily also claims that it is unlikely that
this change will significantly affect the outcome
of an election. However, in Florida in 2000,
straight ticket voting would have led to thou-
sands of more votes in Seminole and Palm
Beach counties for all candidates running. Also,
the ACLU testified to congress last April that
eliminating straight ticket voting in Illinois,
combined with other voting procedures, effec-
tively disenfranchised voters in minority com-
munities. Moreover, the Daily's claim that
eliminating straight ticket voting is good

dates. Democracy doesn't just work when peo-
ple are educated; it works when people have
choices.
This bill has now passed the State Senate,
and moves to the State House. I urge everyone
to contact their State Representative, and to urge
him or her to vote no on SB 173. You can find
your State Representative on the State House
Homepage: www.house.state.mi.us.
For decades, you could only vote if you
owned property. For decades longer, only if you
were white, and for over a century you could
only vote if you were male. Only forty years ago
African Americans in the South could only vote
if they could pass literacy exams.

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