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September 30, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-30

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4

4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 30, 2003

OP/ED

Rle fftcIwgau &Bld

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
t(There's not
enough capacity
there currently to
handle all of this
tequila ."
- Vice Chairman of McCormick
Distilling Co. Mike Griesser on the
Mexican government's proposal to
require that all tequila sold in the
United States be bottled in Mexico, as
reported by The Associated Press.

f..

"The truth of the matter is,
I'm more concerned about
the judgment of eternity.
When I look in the mirror
I want to be able to think
that in the presence and
in the sight of God..."

STEVE COTNER AND JOEL HOARD OPERATION PUSSYCAT

John Ash(

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Dude, seriously.
Everybody up *%
here is so
F-ing sick of
you. A

WoWS47,o!D*?

punycat~nm~iceu

Rewriting history for the new American century
JESS PISKOR JOIN THE PISKOR

ike every good
>kcitizen, I took
U.S. history in
high school. And in
middle school. And in
elementary school. I
could recite presidents
and tell you about our
Founding Fathers. If
hard pressed I could
probably even compose a five-paragraph
essay on the causes of World War II. And
later, taking University history courses and
reading on my own, I quickly discovered
that most of what I learned in high school
was a load of crap.
A new report put out by the Albert
Shanker Institute, a non-partisan think-
tank, seemed to confirm this, finding that
high school history has an unfair bias.
Sure, I thought, my high school history
was practically wrapped in the flag and full
of gung-ho patriotism and a white
male/western culture focus that taught us to
trust government and believe in American
exceptionalism and ignore other societies'
positive traits.
But reading the report further, it came
to the opposite conclusion. Signed by over
100 notables, including former President
Bill Clinton, the essay "Democracy: Teach
It" argues that high school history portrays
the United States in too negative a light,
highlighting our faults, while at the same
time looking uncritically at other countries
and cultures, focusing on their positive
achievements.
The study would have us believe that
U.S. history education has become a multi-
cultural mishmash; that centers on women,
blacks and oppressed people and ignores

the roles of our white male forefathers and
the great and unparalleled achievements of
our nation. Curriculums are too critical of
the United States and teach students to
consider the United States as not much bet-
ter than a dictatorship and that our system
is fundamentally flawed and racist. It
argues that as a result, students do not
properly revere our nation.
This non-partisan institute draws heavi-
ly from research done by the American
Textbook Council, another supposedly
non-partisan review board that examines
the content of textbooks. Following the
Sept. 11 attacks, the ATC came out with a
harsh examination of the way Islam was
taught to students. It said Islam as a sub-
ject received a free ride, absent criticism.
It's finding concluded that, "Concern
about the ability and willingness of many
domestic Muslims to assimilate - that is,
to put American constitutional values in
front of their religion - is not unfounded"
and that textbooks need to be rewritten so
that students can learn "Jihad's goal is to
bring the whole world under Islamic con-
trol." Students should be asked questions
like, "Why do Muslim (countries) so often
have difficulty living with their neigh-
bors," and "Why have they provoked fear
in adjacent civilizations since the seventh
century," and "Why did Islam spread?
(Was it) religious zeal or desire for booty
and captives?"
Reading though the reports by these two
think tanks, their agenda becomes clear -
instill a love of our nation by focusing on
our strengths and ability to overcome chal-
lenges while simultaneously learning that all
other countries are full of faults and are no
match for the United States. Breed trust and

love of us and distrust and dislike of them.
Furthermore, they want to eliminate the
women and minorities of history, arguing
that we need to get rid of a curriculum that
the ATC says "advances a civic agenda
that highlights and ennobles people of
color, peace advocates, anti-colonialists,
environmentalists and wronged women."
They argue that U.S. history and culture is
distinctly European and Western and
"politically correct" attempts to say that
other cultures played a vital role are a dis-
tortion of the truth.
This agenda runs counter to what this
country stands for and counter to the aims
of history.
The goal of teaching history should not
be to create patriots. The goal of history is
to inform people of our past, so that we
can make intelligent decisions today. We
must critically examine our faults both in
the past and the present, and also look to
other cultures too see what has worked
elsewhere.
A good society has nothing to fear from
the truth. If our past is ugly or contains evi-
dence that we have acted wrongly, better to
study it and show students our failings so
they can be corrected. Better to have a
skeptical society - one that doesn't
believe in our perfection - so that we do
not settle into complacency. Women,
minorities and others not fitting into the
white male stereotype of history makers
need to be taught and examined. History is
not a bunch of white guys, despite what
high school history and the Shanker Insti-
tute and the ATC would have us believe.

Piskor can be reached
atjpiskor@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Adams misrepresented Sigma
Chi's record of charity
To THE DAILY:
Daniel Adams recently opined on a few
instances of reprehensible behavior by some
members of a few Sigma Chi chapters
throughout the country (Leaders and best,
09/26/03) and then insinuated that all 250
undergraduate chapters and 150 alumni chap-
ters of the Sigma Chi organization should be
held in the same light. I found this yellow jour-
nalism to be so short sighted and biased that it
can be summed up as nothing other than
"ignorant." Adams has the unique opportunity
to write for one of the most respected student
newspapers in the country. He should start
writing like it.
Adams searched from coast to coast in an
effort to drag a great organization like Sigma
Chi through the mud. When it was all said and
done, all his "research" could turn up was an
instance of smelly garbage, a politically incor-
rect party, a couple of fines and other allega-
tions. How is any of this any different than
what happens at house parties across the coun-
try? In dorms across the country? In numerous
other organizations and corporations across the
country? Fact is, it's not. It is not acceptable,
nor is it specific to Sigma Chi.
Furthermore, if this piece had any journal-
istic integrity, it would have let the readers
know that members of Sigma Chi do far more
good for the world than they do bad. Since
Adams was clearly unable to do any objective
research on his own I will provide some facts
for the readers of the Daily:
Since its inception Sigma Chi has
donated over $1 million to the Wallace Vil-
lage, a school for children with develop-
mental problems.
Since 1992 Sigma Chi has donated over
$3 million and tens of thousands of hours of
community service to the Children's Miracle
Network, an alliance of 165 hospitals that
generates funds for children who do not have
the financial wherewithal to pay for their
medical expenses.
The University's chapter of Sigma Chi
sends thousands of dollars to CMN, in addi-
tion to volunteering at the Ronald McDonald
one .Dancen Marathon .Habitat for Humani-

embarrassment of only disclosing a few imma-
terial facts that do nothing but distort and hide
the truth about a great fraternity, Sigma Chi.
MuE LIETO
Alum
Member, Sigma Chi
Denoracy entais no right to
disturb others by partying
To T-HE DAILY:
I read with total disgust the letter from
Caroline Saudek, (AAPD breaking up par-
ties has 'grave effects' on democracy,
09/26/03) and her mentality puzzles me.
Yes, Caroline, you have all your rights to
hold parties and drink 'till you drop dead,
but please keep in mind that while you are
having a good time, many students are suf-
fering mentally because of your noise and
your inconsideration. Is that what you call
"democracy?" Because you have your
rights to do what you like, you can cause
discomfort to other people? Obviously, the
party affected someone, and they called the
police. Sometimes I don't understand why
some people can be so individualistic and
selfish. If Saudek likes to party, I suggest
she transfer to Ohio State University or
Michigan State University because they
certainly welcome her more. I am not
against people who drink or party, but
rather I wish that they would have a sense
of responsibility. She have your rights, and
I have mine too, and I believe there is a
limit to everything you do. While you
enjoy partying, there are students who
need to sleep or study for their upcoming
exams. After all, this is a university, not a
nightclub. Enough is enough!
Please respect other people the way you
want to be respected. Here I want to thank
the Ann Arbor Police Department and the
Department of Public Safety for doing
such a good job of cracking down on stu-
dent drinking. Keep it up! Without AAPD
and DPS, I believe this university will be
in a mess because even though we have a
first world faculty and facilities, some of
our students have a third world mentality.
By the way, Saudek, what have "sex scan-
, _ . ._ [2 L : , _. . 1,..4... .. , , 7, .«

sponsored by the University's Alcohol &
Other Drugs Prevention Program.
We found both the content and graphics
to be extremely offensive, degrading and
insulting to women.
The table tents are directed solely at
women, indicating that only women have
trouble handling alcohol consumption and
make poor decisions when drinking. The
text assumes that women's primary con-
cerns are appearances and romantic rela-
tionships: "You spent more hours than you
care to admit figuring out your outfit. Even
more time getting the hair and makeup just
right." and "... wasted again ..." "It
doesn't take a lot of brains or therapy to
figure out why your love life sucks." There
is also a very dangerous implication in the
text that being taken advantage of when
inebriated is the fault of the woman:
"You'll be smashed with just two to three
drinks - you'll wonder - who took
advantage of you." In other words, you
chose to drink; you chose to be taken
advantage of. This sends a frightening
message to men, who may interpret this as
a sign that it is acceptable to take advan-
tage of a woman who is drunk.
More insulting are the three images of
scantily clad women: one on a sidewalk,
one on a couch and one peering into a toi-
let. Women have been fighting these over-
sexualized images in the media for years.
It is unimaginable that the University
would condone such stereotypes. The
women appear to be posing for Maxim
while looking for a lost contact lens, lying
on a sidewalk and leaning on a couch. Not
only are these images overtly sexual,
they're also a misrepresentation. The text
implies that drinking is not pretty. So why
are there pictures?
The message that drinking is unhealthy
and potentially dangerous is not a bad one;
however, it needs to be presented appropri-
ately. Instead of blatantly and offensively
stereotyping college women, they should
explain what alcohol does to the liver.
They should show what the legal conse-
quences of a Minor In Possession are and
suggest alternatives to drinking. Most
importantly, they should address both men
and women respectfully. We call upon the
TUniversitv's Alcnhnl Rr Other 'Drugs Pre-

I r dl ft' ~ictamr x uIn t f1o t M ..11 < t ,: I 1: 4C . Qfli t tnev (U)..

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