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March 10, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

OPINION

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

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

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
t(Diet is not
restricted after removal
of the gallbladder,
although some people
suffer some recurring
diarrhea."

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.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX
~r I~4J fW .)\I
o r
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I

- The New York Times, in reference to
possible complications of the gallbladder
removal that Attorney General John
Ashcroft underwent yesterday.

I think, therefore IB
D.C. LEE 2L COOL J

think, therefore I be.
That's what we used
to say in 11th grade
English class. Ms. Hard-
ing would stand at the
blackboard and laugh
before reminding us
that the streets in E. M.
Forster's "A Passage to
India" were crisscrossed
like a net over India, representing British
colonialism. It's a good thing Thomas
Sowell, the well-known conservative
columnist, wasn't there that day. He proba-
bly would have missed the joke and con-
demned that day's lesson for promoting the
hidden left-wing agenda of the Interna-
tional Baccalaureate Program.
Two weeks ago, in a column for town-
hall.com, Sowell congratulated a group of
citizens in Fairfax, Va. for standing up
against "one of the endless series of fad
programs that distract American public
schools from real education in real sub-
jects." The citizens there were successful
in eliminating the IB program from their
local school. Sowell commented that pro-
grams such as the IB program have been
"substituting back-door indoctrination in
place of education."
This, of course, is news to me. The IB
program is a broad-based, comprehensive
college preparatory education. One IB
school lists as its mission the developing
of "inquiring, knowledgeable and caring
young people who help create a better and
more peaceful world through intercultural
understanding and respect." I find it hard
to believe that this type of mission state-

ment promotes socialism and undermines
traditional Christian values - as some of
the program's critics assert - but assum-
ing arguendo that it does, it does not nec-
essarily follow that an education of this
sort will produce thousands of Ted
Kennedys. I myself used to write for The
Michigan Review. A friend of mine who
attended an IB school in New Mexico
interned one summer for the Center for
Individual Rights, the law firm responsible
for challenging the University's affirma-
tive action policies.
Sowell's argument against the IB pro-
gram is three-pronged, and I address each
of these criticisms in turn. First, the IB
program is not a "fad" program that "dis-
tracts ... from real education in real sub-
jects." Among the classes taught at IB
schools are English, American History,
Calculus I and II, Physics, Art, Biology,
Chemistry, Theory of Knowledge and
French VI.
Moreover, colleges and universities
across the country respect IB classes. Much
like Advanced Placement students, IB stu-
dents are required to take exams at the end
of the year, and these exams can be convert-
ed into college credits. For example, a score
of at least five (out of seven) on the IB
Biology exam will earn a student coming
, into the University four credit hours. As a
bonus, IB credits count for a student's LSA
distribution requirement, while AP credits
do not. These four credit hours are just as
"real" as if a student had taken the class in
1800 Chem.
Second, Sowell claims that one of the
reasons the citizens of Fairfax eliminated

the IB program was because they thought
"that their children would have trouble get-
ting into quality colleges." I don't keep in
touch with many people from high school,
but here's a list of the schools where peo-
ple I graduated with currently attend: Yale
Law School, the University of Michigan
Law School, Columbia University Medical
School, Washington University in St.
Louis Medical School and Duke Universi-
ty School of Public Policy. Furthermore,
two freshmen here at the University went
to my high school and completed the IB
program - one is on scholarship in the
School of Art and Design and the other is
in the LSA Honors Program.
Finally, Sowell claims that the IB pro-
gram "has a left-wing hidden agenda."
This claim is similar to the "back-door
indoctrination" claim mentioned earlier
and if true would warrant serious consider-
ation. Unfortunately, the immutable laws
of logic proscribe this conclusion. One of
the central tenets of the IB program is to
challenge everything. When put into prac-
tice, this alone is sufficient to defeat an
argument of liberal "indoctrination." How
can one indoctrinate if one is constantly
being challenged?
In short, I take issue with Sowell's col-
umn, and though the IB program "encour-
ages students across the world to become
active, compassionate and lifelong learners
who understand that other people, with
their differences, can also be right," I just
happen to think he's wrong. Very wrong.

Lee can be reached at
leedc@umich.edu.

Awash with like colors
SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA WEAVING THE HANDBASKET
hen I received different activities and couldn't agree on who is the lack of discourse on the subject: Every-
i n fo r m at i o n was better, Shah Rukh Khan or Hrithik Roshan. one notices it, but no one wants to address it.
about my fresh- Slowly, I became involved in other minority Caught up in the year-long season of cultural
man roommates, I was groups' cultural shows and events by helping shows, students do not have the time or the
ecstatic, as they were peo- out with Power Moves and by attending the interest to add such discussions to the daily
ple unlike me in so many Black Student Union's town hall meetings. juggle of dance practice, school, work and
ways. We met all the As the year progressed, it became more and social interactions.
stereotypes of a diverse more visible that the concept of lunch-table Discussions organized by minority groups,
and cohabiting Universi- segregation is clear and apparent in the cafete- useful in examining the many perspectives on
ty: I, being brown and rias of the Bur-lodge, Markley and all the campus, are not met with a substantial
from Bloomfield Hills restaurants on campus. This voluntary segre- response, as few members attend. When IASA
was far removed from my roommates, a gation isn't limited to minorities and food ven- invited members to an open dialogue about race
black Engineering student from Southfield ues: Political science majors opt not to take issues, I was the only person not on the board
and an out-of-state Jewish girl who became a Prof. Mark Tessler's- class because people who attended. Similarly, when the South Asian
member of a sorority. engrossed in the Arab-Israeli discussion domi- Awareness Network organized an event with
Unfortunately, I made a fatal mistake the first nate the class and non-Greek students avoid widely regarded professors and media personal-
day I moved into the dorm. Instead of joining Greeks' haven in the Washtenaw Avenue and ities, fewer than 10 people attended. Naturally,
my hall mates in a game of Mafia, I went to a Hill Street area. these discouraging turnouts hinder the groups'
house party with some friends I met during my Minority student organizations, while willingness to organize such events.
previous visits to the University. Soon, I only sometimes active in community service proj- It was after a year of suffocating in minori-
hung out with these people, and because I con- ects, are mainly social groups. They function ty-exclusive situations that I found respite at
stantly turned down invitations, my roommates under the premise of promoting culture the Daily. Yes, the same organization that hun-
stopped asking me to do things with them. throughout the University, but mainly act as a dreds of minorities, who had never stepped
It wasn't until a few months into the school means for people of the same race to maintain inside the building and who often don't read
year that I looked around and noticed that none one collection of acquaintances. the paper, had the audacity to claim was
of my close friends were white, black or of any In fact, people do not expect to find nonmi- racist, offers students the most opportunities
other race besides South Asian. I was shocked norities at these events: A white volunteer at a to experience diversity. Simply throwing a
that throughout my many interactions during dance show I helped organize was hassled by a bunch of students of different colors together
the semester, I had failed to become friends minority security guard, while a Desi volunteer does not create diversity. Necessitating them
with anyone who was not of my race. walked right past him without a badge or identi- to interact - and in the Daily's case, often
Tracing back my course into homogeneity, I fication of any kind besides the color of her skin under stressful circumstances - brings about
realized that the people I met before coming to and the traditional outfit she was wearing. meaningful relations.
the University were all Indian. I met these peo- The few white students who are immersed All of my parents' close friends are South
ple when I visited the campus for the Indian in these events are recurring at all the minority Indian, usually live in the same area and are of
American Student Association's cultural shows events. One can expect to find Pete Woiwode the same white-collar professions. My fear is
and attended the numerous after-parties, house and Rob Goodspeed at these events, but few that even with the variety of people at the Uni-
parties and social events. The people with other white students venture to these predomi- versity, most students will observe a lifestyle
whom I interacted all participated in the IASA nantly minority-centric shows and confer- similar to our parents' - one in which we have
show, went to the same mixers and even lived in ences. In fact, racking my brain for examples little to no interactions with people that differ
close proximity to one another. of nonminorites who attend these events, I from our own lifestyle.
I convinced myself that my group of friends could only come up with a list of the above-
was diverse - sure, everyone was the same mentioned two. Chirumamilla can be reached at
race, but we all had different majors, enjoyed The most alarming result of this segregation schiruma@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Renovation of the MCD
is good for city of Detroit
TO THE DAILY:
I completely disagree with the editorial
concerning concerning the Michigan Central
Depot (Don't rush renaissance, 03/09/04).
Whether we want to admit it or not, we base a
lot of our iiidements on first imnressions and

puware, the casinos, the new downtown resi-
dences, the Riverfront boardwalk and Campus
Martius. By restoring the MCD, Kilpatrick is
helping to save Detroit's past and one of its
most beautiful and unique buildings. There
will be public space for shops, restaurants and
community meeting rooms. The added busi-
ness will also help the Corktown and Mexi-
cantown neighborhoods continue to develop.

mention a very important point: Her degree
is in general studies. Although the article
relays the concerns and frustrations of recent
college graduates in search of a job, it fails to
mention an important point in one of its
examples: A quick check on the University
directory will reveal that the student earned
her degree in General Studies. Unless she
studied to be a general (and I know for a fact

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