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September 24, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Ule AoItlm t aU


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Dr. Dean should
be ashamed of himself,
simply for allowing an
emotionally disturbed
person to vent that
kind of hatred..."

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.

1 v"_ __4i

- Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly, on an
appearance made by comedian and author
Al Franken at a recent fundraising event
held by Democratic presidential candidate
Howard Dean, as quoted on FoxNews.com.

Join the KKK (not that one)

ince last week, talk
of condemning
root beer-disdain-
ing sorority girls and
minority-only student
groups has awakened
some latent questions I
have regarding identity.
Not to reminisce of the
olden days of Intro Phi-
losophy, but who is anyone? And more
importantly, what does society view you as?
I will step up as the first sacrificial lamb.
To the average seeing human, I am black,
tall, and I am male. Look at my name and
you may infer that I am Muslim, at least by
birth. Synapses fire, schemas and stereo-
types load and perceptions form.
So you go to the University? Basketball
or football?
Those were the two choices I was given.
It didn't matter whether I was in Ann Arbor
or New York, ignorance is a uniting thread.
And of course, the answer depends on the
mood. "Football, I'm number one, check for
me, but not last week." Or, "I just got the
ping-pong scholarship this year."
The hoopla over the Muslim name was a
9/11 thing. "Yo Hussain, you heard what
happened? Oh shit, your name is Hussain,
you're Muslim and all that shit right, what
do you think?" Dirty looks ensue and retar-
dation multiplies. Share the name, share the
brain. No room for individuation. I think
whatever you want.
The basest manner in which I have heard

this question phrased is, "What are you?"
As some sort of alien inquisition, you are
then expected to identify yourself in way
that best placates fears of invasion. Just tell
us what you are, so we can label you and
feel at ease. I am a middle-class, heterosex-
ual American, but more specifically, I am
form New York and better yet, Brooklyn, if
that tells you anything more about me. Peo-
ple of ambiguous ethnicity know this the
best. Life is simpler (for others) when you
simply pick a team and stay on it. And this
most clearly applies here at the mighty Uni-
versity. From the first week, you are asked
to pick your brand of indoctrination, and
while there is nothing inherently wrong with
student organizations, they can be outlets
for interests (I am obviously a willing part
of the Daily) the problem arises when your
mentality and beliefs become nothing more
than the brochure for your student group or
your race. If I ask several questions and
break down your entire thought process,
things are not good. While I am not naive
enough to believe that the group itself is
what causes this brand in exclusivity, as you
don't need a named group with school fund-
ing to alienate people, but having a cool
acronym like Kool Kids Kollective and lots
of pride doesn't hurt the idea of isolating
others much either.
With people here, specifically at the
University and in the world at large, the
dissent from group thought that is the heart
of progress is extremely precious and rare.
What you do hear is the common cry by

any categorized group is that "By Gosh, we
are all not like that! Some of us hug kit-
tens, help old people cross the street and
give sandwiches to homeless people." And
while said activities are nice and make an
individual feel good, they do little to allay
the group's reputation. Reputations come
from actual places, observations, occur-
rences and events and are not purely
malevolent stereotypes.
I belong to two of the currently most
maligned and negatively perceived groups
in this country. My name and my skin attach
me irreversibly to both regardless of my
degree of affiliation. But there comes a
point when you cannot wonder why people
hold certain beliefs. Self-accountability, and
even better group accountability, are imper-
ative for honest reflexive evaluations. You
can't join a group with a certain character to
it and be surprised when you are perceived
as such. "Just because I'm on the track team
doesn't mean I'm fast"... etc.
The ease at which people are herded
into groupthink and ideological thinking is
perhaps, why I am so averse to aligning
myself to close to any one thing. And the
even greater ease at which people fight to
deem themselves individuals in spite of
facts and surroundings displays the power
of these groups.
What are you? Why don't you really
want a root beer?


Rahim can be reached at

The Porch of Diplomacy
ear Middle East- ed. And should you not fancy either of those wise must be checked before entering the
ern political options, additional arrangements for liquor premises.
leader, can of course be made. It is a common prac- After we reach a solution to all your
You are cordially tice for my housemate Glenn to purchase a problems, which will hopefully occur at 3
invited to attend a summit pint of Goldschlager and then pass it around a.m., we will order a large New York-style
on my porch (hereafter The Porch until everyone has experienced cheese pizza. Mind you, it will not actually
known as The Porch) this its warm, cinnamon-y goodness. come from New York, but I wholeheartedly
Friday, Sept. 26, 2003, You see, we here at The Porch make it a assure you that it will be delicious and fill-
beginning promptly at 10 policy not to exclude on any basis. Whether ing. This late-night meal is not only a won-
p.m. EDT. you're a beer person, a fruit-flavored malt derful bonding experience, but it is quite
It has come to my attention that you have beverage person or a liquor person, you will necessary to avoid the dreaded hangover.
been experiencing problems with your neigh- find our inviting arms open wide. With our pizza consumed, we will have
bors of late, and I feel very strongly that Should you drink too much and vomit our final drink of the night and engage in
something should be done to correct them. I in our restroom, please do not feel embar- one last sing along, this time to Jeff Buck-
firmly believe that by the end of this summit rassed, and do not worry about the mess. ley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelu-
we will have reached an understanding and Glenn will be more than happy to clean up jah." Tears will flow and we will slowly
that a working peace will be in place. after you. sway side to side as we lose ourselves in the
You may be wondering why this of all During the summit, we will listen to song's ethereal beauty.
summits will provide a solution to your dif- wonderful compilation CDs, which will have And finally, we will pour out 40 oz. bot-
ficulties. Please allow me to explain. Past been created by committee so that racial and tles of Budweiser Light beer (we sure as
summits have lacked that certain je ne sais ethnic groups are represented equally. White hell aren't going to drink the stuff) in.mem-
quoi that only The Porch can offer you, for artists like Weezer, Rancid and Oasis will be ory of all of those we lost on the road to
you see, The Porch is not just an ordinary placed right alongside black artists like peace. We will then hug before we part
porch. It is, as my ,housemate James puts it Michael Jackson, Public Enemy and Justin ways. We will have reached a supreme
so eloquently, an instrument of diplomacy. Timberlake. We will pause our discussion to understanding. We will have ushered in an
There exists no friendlier or more welcom- sing along with such songs as "Champagne era of peace, love and understanding. You
ing place in the world. Supernova" and "Senorita" and think of the will return to your homelands and spread
We will discuss your situation over beer, happy times to come. the word. Suicide bombings and missile
and since this will be such a special gather- However, we must remember to mind attacks will be brought to an end, and your
ing, we will buy something better than the volume so that we do not attract the people will no longer have to live in fear.
Labatt Blue for once. It will not be neces- attention of the vigilant Ann Arbor Police There is nothing that cannot be accom-
sary for you to chip in for beer; the mere Department, for they are quick to anger. plished on The Porch. You're welcome back
offer warms our hearts and is compensation There is nothing like a noise violation to anytime; we're here every weekend.
enough. Nor will it be necessary for you to cast a pall over our proceedings. I must also
pick up your empty bottles at the end of the remind you to bring proper identification (a Signed sincerely, with utmost love,
night. Ann Arbor's infinitely friendly and driver's license will be ample) so that you respect and goodwill,
helpful homeless population will see to it can prove that you are of legal drinking age,
that the bottles are collected. Symbiosis! should that become a necessity. Joel Hoard
Should you not like beer (looking your I must also ask you to remember that
way, ladies), do not feel excluded, because there is no fighting allowed on The Porch. Hoard can be reached at
fruit-flavored malt beverages will be provid- All weapons of mass destruction or other- j.ho@umich.edu.


White folks need to be
more tolerant, respect
minority-only spaces
In Johanna Hanink's column 'Metnbers-
only' diversity (09/22/03) Hanink asks for an
explanation as to why it is ok to have meet-
ings and spaces that are reserved solely for

understand why demanding an explanation
from people of color is usually insulting,
regardless of intention.
White folks have ruthlessly and systemat-
ically excluded people of color from nearly
every public and private sphere. How then
can we be surprised when people of color
create their own public and private spheres?
How can we justify feeling alienated and
then have the audacity to demand that we
have access to those spaces as well? Spaces
in which people can dialogue and actively

themselves with us. Effective shared spaces W
depend upon honesty and trust built in both
shared and closed spaces.
LSA seniors
Art and Design junior
LSA junior

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