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February 20, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-20

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 20, 2002


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

The researchers
say this 'rock
and roll lifestyle'
is casting serious
doubts over the
future health of
the nation."
- From yesterday's BBC news segment,
"Britons perfer pub culture tofitness.'

- i

J la A fc\rn'4


nn V inWr

.in9 Break


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~tt4ov.~AI & 6L " Za. oz. C, pCar#-oanffl@.oMa~ 'co A.~

The PC. Police kidnapped my baby!
And other real-life aviation horror stories


x' f>hast weekend marked
the third time I've
been on a plane since
Sept. 11. Next weekend will
be the fourth. Was I struck
by the preponderance of
racial profiling? Was I
humiliated by a security
team that violated my rights
simply because I look dif-
ferent? Was I outraged when I was singled out
for "random" security checks?
No. But in trading in my outrage, I also trad-
ed in my own sense of safety.
During a security check at Detroit Metro
very soon after Sept. 11, I took special care to
look around me in line and get a sense of my
competition. All this hype about racial profiling
had me convinced that I would get a thorough
checking, while all the white suburban families
around me would only get the once-over.
Much to my surprise, I (a tall, young male,
traveling alone with nothing but a backpack)
didn't get pulled aside. My bag wasn't checked,
I wasn't frisked, I wasn't even asked to remove
my hat. Genuinely shocked, I looked to see who
had gotten selected for random searches; there
was a little boy getting the metal detector wand
while his parents looked on. There was an old
lady in a wheelchair and another middle-aged
man getting their bags searched.
For a moment, I felt a serious threat to my
masculinity. In assessing the threat of the people
in line, the security personnel actually decided
that a little kid, a disabled old lady and a guy
with a potbelly were more threatening than me?
And then I realized it: They aren't assessing
anything. In some vague attempt to appear unbi-
ased, airport security personnel are bending over

backwards to check every blind person with
polio that walks through their gate while smiling
politely and waving through everyone with a
sheathed machete hanging around his waist.
Last weekend, on my way to my gate at the
Newark International Airport, I was standing in
the security line when a black man was pulled
aside. As he removed his shoes, his wife stood
in the background complaining (loudly) about
racial profiling. "You only picked us because
we're black!"
The security guard tried assuring her that
this was randomized, that he wasn't picking
people by their looks, etc. He was fighting a los-
ing battle; she was of the type who has been
indoctrinated with the unfortunate minority
mentality that anything that happens to you is
because of racism. Didn't get the job? Racism.
Didn't get a 4.0? Racism. Got pulled over
(going 98 mph in a 65 mph zone)? Racism. Lost
your keys? Racism.
So the security guard finished with the black
man and turned to pick the next "random"
search. He had three choices; I was standing
there (directly in front of him, might I add) wait-
ing for my bag to clear the x-ray machine, two
teenaged girls were walking through the metal
detector, yammering on about "ohmigawd, did
you see the promise ring that Freddie Prinze, Jr.,
gave to Sarah Michelle Gellar? She's like, so
lucky! He's is sooooooooo dreamy!" Behind
them was a mother with her little boy, who was
carrying a Pok6mon backpack.
He picked one of the Freddie Prinze, Jr.,
girls. I, once again, was forced to question my
masculinity. No offense to the little girl with the
In Style magazine, but I'm more of a threat than
she is!
At Detroit Metro, on my way to India over

winter break with my mom, I was chosen (I can
only assume randomly) to have my bags
searched while the guy in front of me (who had
a Turkish passport and was traveling alone)
walked through unquestioned. At Bishop Air-
port in Flint, I walked through security (alone)
with not even an eyelash batted in my direction
while a soccer mom (embroidered sweatshirt
and all) was forced to remove her hairpins.
The point isn't that I'm guilty. I know that
I have never had an inclination to hijack a
plane, blow up a building or do anything even
resembling terrorism. But I look suspicious
- not just because of the color of my skin.
But the color of my skin and other colors with
similar melanin contents seem to be a "Get
Out of Jail Free" card; security personnel are
scared to question minorities.
I don't know about anyone else, but this
racial hypersensitivity has killed my sense of
security. It appears as if airline security is doing
its best to find the least likely threats in a given
batch of travelers and check them with extreme
caution, allowing the most obvious threats to
walk by.
The airline industry is sending a clear mes-
sage to every terrorist: If you want to hijack a
plane, don't disguise yourself as an innocuous
traveler. Don't dress or act as if you are not
Instead, make yourself as threatening as pos-
sible. Travel alone, have bizarre flight sched-
ules, appear angry and menacing. Because it
seems that the only way to be scrutinized as a
likely threat in the airport these days is to be a
teenage girl or a quadriplegic.
Manish Rani can be reached
at mraqi@umich.edu.




Seibert's 'defeatist attitude'
unfortunate; he should show
'a little more sympathy'
I am dismayed at Dustin J. Seibert's column in
yesterday's Daily about his negative impressions
of graduate student instructorss (How many GSIs
does it take to screw in a Lightbulb?, 2/19/02). I have a
different perspective on what GSIs do at this Uni-
versity, not because I have been one, but because
my husband is a GSI in the Department of Biolo-
gy. As I write this, he is missing one of his own
classes to substitute teach another section of the
course he normally teaches. Seibert is correct in
writing that the workload of teaching while also
being a grad student is intense; my husband spends
10 hours a week in lecture, teaching lab sections, or
in meetings with the professor and the other GSI to
prepare for teaching. Add to this another several
hours grading quizzes, writing up worksheets,
doing the reading for the class, holding office hours
(which no student has come to yet this semester)
and holding review sessions (which students often
ask for but do not often attend) and he averages 20
hours a week being a GSI for this course.
Because my husband is committed to teach-
ing, this 20-hour-a-week investment takes a high
priority, even compared to his own classes and
research. Every day when we get home and talk,
it is clear to me that my husband really wants to
do the best he can at teaching you, the under-
graduates of this institution.
Most GSIs I know are far happier when their
students are doing well, not only because it
reflects well on them, but also because it is much
more satisfying to see students understanding
and using the knowledge that GSIs have worked
so hard to convey. It really makes my husband's
day to get positive feedback from a student -
when was the last time you told your GSI that he
or she was doing a good job? - and he continu-
ally asks his students how he can improve their
learning in the class, and implements their sug-
gestions. For example, last semester the students
in his sections needed more opportunity to ask
questions, so he had all the students submit a
question every week and he spent many hours
typing out answers to all these questions and
sending them out via e-mail. In this way he
could tell what concepts the students needed
more help with.

different from him in age and education, maybe
he could offer a little more sympathy for their
situation rather than focusing on all the stuff
they're doing wrong.
Medical School staff
Hanink 'fails to grasp the
nature and complexity of
After reading Johanna Hanink's article, Sports,
Part 1: Question Why You Care (2/18/02), I would
like to ask Hanink a question: How are sports any
different from other forms of entertainment she
may or may not have an aversion to?
Sport is an entity in itself, just- like theatre,
music or art. Just because Hanink fails to grasp
the nature and complexity of sports doesn't mean
they "don't matter," as she crudely wrote Mon-
day. I might not be interested in how Henrik
Ibsen's third phase of dramas centered around
symbolism, but at least I don't chastise his plays
for being worthless.
Moreover, sports employ a positive, therapeu-
tic aspect in that they allow injury or sickness-
plagued people to triumph over adversity. When
Lance Armstrong won his third consecutive Tour
de France last summer after becoming stricken
with testicular cancer, aside from providing the
sports fans of the United States with a memorable
exhibition of strength, finesse and endurance, he
also provided a wonderful illustration to those
with debilitating illnesses that through hard work,
extraordinary accomplishments are still within
Although I disagree, go ahead and call sports
boring. Make fun of sports fans for being obses-
sive - I don't really care. But if you make the
claim that "sports don't matter," I start to ques-
tion how much thought you put into the subject.
School of Music junior
SAGA continues to promote
awareness; Daily's editorial
board missed mark

our parties and why we carry ourselves the way
we do. The leadership of the Greek community
works countless hours to figure out a way to
make 4.000 students see the problems of our
community, and then we try to empower the stu-
dents to make proactive changes.
The simple fact is, SAGA has surpassed my
greatest expectations. While we have teamed up
with Greek Week, all workshops will be conduct-
ed before Greek Week begins, simply because I
agree with the Daily; if the workshops were done
during the charity event, the message would be
lost. This weekend, we conducted the first four
workshops. Each had rooms filled to capacity.
Each included equal proportions of men and
women. And each had chapter presidents, active
members, and pledges sitting side by side. SAGA
does work and I cordially invite members of the
Daily's editorial staff to come see what we are
doing. The program has been so successful that
we have the unabashed support of school admin-
istrators, and we plan on expanding to other stu-
dent groups and athletic teams very soon.
Instead of being so quick to point out our
shortcomings, help us make a positive change.
There are people stepping up and trying to make
an impact, and we need everyone's help in doing
so. Help to lead us in the right direction instead of
kicking us while we're down.
LSA senior
The letter writer is a former Interfraternity
Council vice president and the creator of SAGA.
Reader does not want to
read Simon's quotations,
letters to the Daily
I am just wondering what makes Michael
Simon so important that you feel the need to quote
him and/or feature letters to the editor from him in
so many issues of your newspaper. I'm thrilled that
he can utilize the scientific method to defend the
hapless GSIs of the world, but, no offense, I don't
really want to read about it in the Daily.
When I do opt to read the Daily, I do so in
order to obtain pertinent news, both on a local
and a national level. Yet the fact that you consis-
tently atnnte "exnerts" such as Simon - depict



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