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March 28, 2003 - Image 4

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 28, 2003

OP/ED

cue ffirtdjitgn Dtig

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

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

LouIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
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
We will not wait
until we become the
next target."
- Syrian President Bashar
al-Asad, on fears that coalition forces
will attack Syria, as quoted in yesterday's
edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

SAM BUTLER THE. SOAPBOX
Y\oc e
oq -
/
ir

Diversity! Where?
HUSSAIN RAHIM NARCOLEPTIC INSOMNIA

'm not really sur-
prised. There are a
few more people
against affirmative
action than for it, and
then there are a select
few who either don't
know, don't care or are
too scared to say. Then
we have one study that
says diversity as a result of affirmative
action is good and another that says it is
bad. When you hear about something
repeatedly, no matter how germane the
topic, it gets boring. But it's here and pret-
ty soon it'll be all over, but I still have a
feeling of resignation towards it all.
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon
decide on the chimera of whether diversity
in higher education is a compelling state
interest. However noble that argument may
be, it is tantamount to a smokescreen
because diversity is not the goal here.
Diversity doesn't matter, it wasn't the pur-
pose of affirmative action nor should it
ever be. JFK didn't authorize affirmative
action in 1961 because he wanted a social
identity mixer.
Affirmative action, regardless of its
beneficiary, has always been about oppor-
tunity, availability and righting institution-
al discrimination. What is desired is a
solution to a problem that exists in our
society, this being that certain groups of
people are disproportionately excluded
from benefits and privileges that others
have unlimited access to. The way the Uni-
versity sees as best to rectify the disparity
between the opportunities of lower educa-
tion is to offer an admission policy where

certain social identities afford you benefits
in the process. It worked well enough for
women to bring them to a level of equality
in higher education where they no longer
need it.
Diversity, openness, inclusiveness are
all political terms to appease the Constitu-
tion wavers but they are not feasible goals
within a university setting. A few scattered
percentages of assorted minorities do not
constitute diversity. While there are those
that argue diversity may provide inherent
educational benefits in a classroom and
university setting, I say these benefits are
only benevolent side effects. If diversity is
improperly recreated as the basis of affir-
mative action, - and it seems to have
been - when diversity is not found to be
of interest to the state, those who changed
its purpose must not be confused.
Diversity is a faulty goal because it has
no real definition or effect in the personal
realm. Since the implementation of affir-
mative action and the subsequent decades
of active pursuit of minorities in higher
education, college campuses appear more
diverse than ever, but that in no way is a
sign of actual connection of students
across racial identities. If you have the for-
tune of experiencing diversity in your
classroom, I guarantee it's not going much
further than that. Even in the classroom,
the effects are negative - and at best
intangible - because many times students
can become the sole representative for
their entire identity, creating pressure to
present an idealized view to the class, and
leaving little room for individualism and
charging them with the unnecessary bur-
den to educate when they should be learn-

ing. The worst case being a campus where
the racial tension is palpable, and the stu-
dent population fragments into ethnic or
interest groups. This school is not too hard
to imagine.
At best there will be a class where the
material is purely empirical and personal
experiences will have no weight. In biolo-
gy it doesn't matter who you are, just as
long as you know how many cells are in an
electron (four I think). I doubt anyone has
walked into a class and said, "One, two,
uh, three black people, and a Latino!
Sweet dude, I'm staying in this discus-
sion!" Why is this? Because people don't
care. With the exception of maybe five
kids in East Quad, no one associates with
people too far from his comfort zone. The
way affirmative action is applied, diversity
brings in more minorities so that once they
are in school everyone can splinter off into
their respective groups and meet at class or
dance shows. Possibly it is the Universi-
ty's responsibility to try to get students to
reach out, or maybe it is the students'
duty. I don't know.
I do know that the country is falling to the
right - made evident by Republican control
and that things do not look good: In the sum-
mer, when the white man, led by Clarence
Thomas, shuts down affirmative action (I'm
calling 5-4), the backlash will be immeasur-
able. When the minority population disap-
pears, no one will even notice. The
dichotomy between belief and reality will be
shown. Do you support diversity? Sure. But
who do you hang out with? Indeed.

Rahim can be reached at
hrahim@umich.edu.

Activists win! Bush pulls troops out of Iraq
LUKE SMITH THERE IS NO I IN COLUMN
D ear Mr. Smith: Times/CBS showed a shift in American The activists' vigilance really shone
I have fol- opinion of our action in Iraq. The through when they decorated themselves
lowed your Times/CBS poll (which took place over as if they were injured Iraqis! Did you
columns with great the war's opening weekend) showed a 19- hear about that? They dressed themselves
interest since you percent decline in American expectation in bandages and toilet paper and red paint,
began writing for the of a quick and successful effort against or marker, or whatever activists use for
Weekend Etc. Maga- Iraq. simulated blood these days to simulate the
zine (it's just Week- I can't believe that people thought this injury of the Iraqi people.
end now, right?). It is would be a quick war. When was the last I was particularly impressed with the
primarily because of quick war? If it's quick, Luke, it isn't a protesters on H Street in Washington.
our continued correspondence that I want- war. But I'm preaching to the choir I'm They ran out and laid in traffic, pretending
ed to come to you first with my decision. sure. The Pew Research Center poll to be dead in simulation of the streets of
I haven't even told Laura yet, let alone showed Americans who believed the war Iraq, which would make sense were the
Donald Rumsfeld. He's going to be so was going very well peaked Friday at 71 streets in Iraq covered with Americans
mad. This was his baby. But, I just can't percent. It was easy to get their support laying on the ground breathing.
fend off the overwhelming will of the when we were just flying overhead drop- Luke, there are a lot of kids in the army
American minority pleading for our troops ping those GPS targeted bombs on mili- named Oil, did you know that? Neither did
to come home from Iraq and the surround- tary targets. I. But I keep seeing all of these "No War
ing areas. By Monday, that number had slipped to for Oil" signs, and it's befuddling how
As a result of the vocal protesters, I've 38 percent. Of course, our numbers drop many soldiers we have named Oil, and
decided as commander in chief to pull the as the first U.S. casualty counts come in. how vociferous their parents are. I origi-
United States out of Operation Iraqi Free- Gosh, our first casualties were mid-air nally thought about just brining all of the
dom. Instead, we will pursue a peaceful helicopters collisions, and I don't even soldiers named Oil back, but decided just
means to solve the Iraqi conflict and allow want to talk about when we shot down that to bend to the minority will.
Saddam Hussein to continue to defy the British jet with a Patriot missile. But, Anyway, the squeaky wheel gets the
United Nations and abuse his people. Plus, Luke, you know that wasn't our fault the oil, right? And the protesters were squeak-
this way, we can keep the French happy pilot didn't respond with the friend code ing pretty loud. How can I, the people's
and we'll keep getting imports of whatever and the missile launched automatically. president, rebuke such powerful and
the French send to us. That's what the Joint Chiefs told me. staunch displays of humanitarianism? I
French President Jacques Chirac really Those protesters in San Francisco were can't. So I pulled out early. Iraq will just
took a stand back there. He really asserted really effective. I don't mean to jump; I'm have to clean herself off with a rag or
France as a world superpower; he must be under some serious pressure here. Did you something, because we're getting out of
the second coming of Charles de Gaulle. know that they arrested over 1,600 people there, man.
I'd be lying to you, Luke, if I said that in 'Frisco? That's amazing! We've proba- Sincerely yours,
I wasn't gravely concerned with my public bly taken out way more Iraqi soldiers than George
opinion numbers. I assume you saw the that already, and with virtually no casual-
figures from this past weekend? The Pew ties! But, they still protest. (Activism is Smith can be reached at
Research Center and The New York stupid - Ed. Luke.) lukems@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0

Reporting on women's
basketball team irresponsible,
loss of Guevara a loss to 'U'
TO THE DAILY:
As a former practice team member and
supporter of the women's basketball team, I
got to know coach Sue Guevara fairly well.
That is why I was very saddened to learn of
her dismissal this past week. I was even
more saddened by an article entitled What

throughout my experiences with athletics.
She was very proud of her team and her
desire for them to succeed was very evident.
For the members of her current - and
now final - team to speak out against her
under conditions of "anonymity" was
appalling. It speaks volumes for the lead-
ership - or lack there of - on the current
squad. They are all grown women. Why
they were unable to approach Coach G
woman-to-woman with their problems baf-
fles me. Instead, they chose to hide behind
their comments under conditions of
"anonymity" in an "exclusive" article writ-

Coach G, if you happen to read this,
know that Scott, Dave, Joe, Matt, Kevin,
Russ and Barrett would run through a wall
if you told us to.
ScOTT OTTOLINI
Alumnus
Absence of Random Student
Interview is disconcerting,
ruins Weekend Magazine

THE BOONDOCKS

A.A R 0N McGRUDER

_..---mi,

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