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January 13, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 13, 2004

OP/ED

UlbAMchagan aftu

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com
opinion@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
Her wearing a hiJab
(headscarf) did not
prevent her from
presenting the news in a
savvy way."
- The London-based newspaper Al-Haya
yesterday on the announcement that Saudi
Arabia will have its first female newscaster.

BFORE WOEATION

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AP'TRLl ~1ON

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COLIN DALY THE MICHIGAN DALY

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Manners 101: It's OK to disagree with blind people
AUBREY HENRETTY NUROICAx

M y roommate
and I had a
LYL brief encounter
with an unpleasant lady
last week at Meijer, and
ever since I haven't been
able to shake the feeling
that I missed an opportu-
nity to say something that
needed to be said.
Let me explain:
Toting only a combined seven items
(maple syrup, a broom, a jar of peanut but-
ter, a dustpan, a gallon of milk, a griddle
and some razor blades - use your imagina-
tion), my roommate and I were waiting in
the express checkout line at Meijer when a
stout older lady (who will henceforth be
known as "Irma") appeared behind us and
demanded that we push some of our stuff
forward on the conveyer belt so she could
start unloading her cart. My roommate,
slightly taken aback, said well, actually we
couldn't, because see the broom was already
poking the groceries of the woman in front
of us, and there were none of those little
plastic divider things left. Irma didn't have
time for this. She gave our seven items a
shove - nearly skewering the cashier with
the broom handle - and set to work. My
roommate, still baffled, noticed Irma's full
cart and said that, ummm, this was the 12-
items-or-fewer line. "Well," Irma snapped
as she plunked a huge package of paper
towels on the belt, "I'm legally blind and I
can't see things like that."
Oh. Well.
Irma turned back to the man pushing her

cart (her husband?) and said, loudly, "She
was getting snippy with me."
We gaped, conflicted. Actually, I think
my roommate was more appalled than con-
flicted, but I was definitely having a major,
multi-layered moral crisis. Nothing makes
my blood boil quite like unprovoked rude-
ness, and under normal circumstances I
would have had no problem giving Irma an
extensive list of places where her attitude
might best be stuck.
But these were not normal circumstances.
Half of my brain was all riled up ("You
wanna see snippy? I'll show you snippy"),
but the other half ("No, you must be nice to
blind people at all times and under all cir-
cumstances!") tackled it before it had a
chance to seize control of my mouth.
In Entitlement Euchre, no card - not the
gender card, not even the race card - can
trump the physical disability card. As soon
as the words "legally blind" hit our ears, my
roommate and I understood that our contri-
butions to this conversation were no longer
welcome. Irma offered this information not
to inform or to explain, but to shut us the
hell up and let her do what she wanted. And
it worked. She won the trick. I couldn't say a
damn thing to this lady because all immedi-
ately available evidence suggested that her
life was harder than mine.
Also, and forgive me if this sounds
insensitive, but I've been racking my brain
for four days, and still I have no idea how
being legally blind (a term that encom-
passes a wide range of visual impairments)
gives a person license to unload a full cart
of groceries in the express lane at the

supermarket - knowing full well that it is
the express lane - while others (with 12
or fewer items) are waiting. I don't think it
does at all, and I think most legally blind
people would agree.
Did I say any of this to Irma? In pub-
lic? Ha! Sure didn't. Didn't want to call
her out and cause a scene, didn't want the
other people in line to think I couldn't
appreciate the daily struggle of the dis-
abled, which, regardless of how carefully I
worded my objection, is what they would
have thought.
It's a societal thing. Americans love
disadvantage - an integral part of the
American dream - and they hate to hear
its situational relevance questioned. I'd be
lying if I said I didn't love it, too - if I
said I didn't take some pride in telling
people about the crappy jobs I've had to
work to pay my bills - but I do think it's
important not to let the big and small
obstacles we may have faced turn us into
pushy Irmas, not to develop victim com-
plexes or cheat at Entitlement Euchre.
People carry around all kinds of horrors
inside their heads, traumas far worse than
five years in the food service industry and
- dare I say it - at least as difficult to
live with as any other disadvantage you
can imagine, physical or otherwise. But
that's not what makes them great. What
makes them great is that they don't use
those horrors as excuses to be unprovoked-
ly rude at the supermarket.
Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

0
I
I

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Affirmative action is another
frm of discrimination
To THE DAILY:
Today at lunch I sat down and read the opin-
ion/editorial page, which is the first page I usual-
ly read when I open the Daily. At first when I
was reading Steve Cotner's column, (Hello, Mr.
Connerly; goodbye civil rights, 01/12/04) I
didn't have too many problems with it because I
know there are a lot of pro-affirmative action
people on campus.
I was disturbed by a few things such as
"most people of a well-cultivated conscience
will oppose it." To begin, he isn't totally exclud-
ing the idea that some people with a well culti-
vated conscience will oppose it, but who is to
say what a well cultivated conscience is and
how is he to know that most people with one
will do so? I consider myself a pretty liberal per-
son. Those who know me will agree and if you
ever saw me, I'm sure you would have the same
preconception just from my looks. I am not one
for affirmative action. I think it worked back
when it was first started, but as times change, so
do policies. I would also like to point out that
Cotner said that the rest of the state of Michigan
"won't listen to Mary Sue because they don't
like the University. It's full of liberal
sodomites."
I can see why he would have the idea that
the conservative people of the state would have
this vision of the University, but what are they
going to vote for, as pointed out in the article.
The same action that was taken in California a
few years ago - California being one of the
most liberal states in the United States. So if the
state didn't want the liberalism, wouldn't they
vote in opposition to following the West Coast
lead?
I also know that one of the black kids who
lived on my hall last year told me that he would
like to think that he was accepted into the Uni-
versity due to his achievements and not by the
color of his skin which he was born with and has
nothing to do with his ability, which I believe is
the achievement that Connerly is trying to
achieve with himself also being a black man.
I am not saying that most black people think
this way for I don't really know, and I know that
a lot of black people support affirmative action
as well. When Cotner states that they're "ruining
higher education" I would like to know how.
Higher education is for those who achieve the
prerequisites by academic skills, not by the color
of their skin, totally voiding those requirements.
There needs to be a new form of anti-discrimi-

01/12/04), I urge opponents of the Michi-
gan Civil Rights Initiative to ponder this:
The Michigan Daily has long been known
as a fervent, proclaimed supporter of all
things democratic.
How can you possibly justify, then,
your efforts to influence the University to
oppose an initiative that is in and of itself
the epitome of democracy - a grassroots
initiative that would allow taxpayers to
vote on what policies are enacted by their
hard-earned tax dollars?
Your beliefs are undeniably hypocriti-
cal, in that you want popular consensus in
so many policies, i.e. presidential elec-
tions, but not in another. The University is
funded by taxpayers, why shouldn't those
taxpayers be given a choice in whether
their money is used to enact an inherently
racist policy? I ask Mr. Cotner to try
implementing a coherent argument against
the MCRI next time he writes about it,
rather than simply ranting and falsely
claiming that the people of Michigan are
socially ignorant, racist and afraid of
minorities.
KYLE BURLESON
LSA sophomore
Viewpoint gives too much
credit to BAMN
TO THE DAILY:
Yesterday's viewpoint (Now is the time
to defend Grutter, 01/12/04), shows the
misguided and pompous attitude of
BAMN. For the past few months it has
been claiming that their presence in Wash-
ington directly affected the U.S. Supreme
Court's decision to uphold affirmative
action. In this column in particular, it
claims that "Without the mass mobilization
to Washington on April 1, victory would
not have been possible."
Sadly, this is not true. The Supreme
Court does not function like a middle
school election. It does not vote for what is
popular. It is the Supreme Court's job to
decide what is constitutional, not what is
popular. BAMN's presence in Washington
showed support for affirmative action, but
could not have influenced nine Supreme
Court justices to support affirmative
action.
Also, Cordor and Stenvig make the out-
rageous claim that anyone who does not

ate a diverse environment, as does the Uni-
versity, but in doing so it oppresses the
political thought of those who disagree
with it and slander those who voice their
opinions.
TED BALL
LSA junior
Shaman Drum is critical
Ann Arbor institution
To THE DAILY:
What drew me to pick up Friday's copy
of the Daily was the prospect of reading
why someone would say "Shame on
Shaman," referring to one of my favorite
book stores in Ann Arbor. In his column
(Why I am a capitalist: Shaman Drum
Bookshop, 01/09/04), Daniel Adams
reveals his narrow conception of what
makes a good bookshop.
He says, "When I see the words 'book-
shop' on the outside of a building, I imme-
diately think of a place where one trades
money for books - a book store, right?"
Wrong. The last time I checked a book-
store - at least a really good one - is not
just one which sells textbooks.
What makes Shaman Drum stand out as
an institution in Ann Arbor is not so much
the fact that it is a locally owned business,
but that it is a genuinely good bookshop. I
wonder if Adams has ever hazarded to step
into Shaman Drum for any other reason
than to buy textbooks. The fact that he has
only described the two-level setup of the
shop tells me that he has not been inside
the other section where the real books
reside. Intimate, well-arranged and stocked
with a rich array of solid classics, exciting
new writings, as well as alternative gems,
Shaman Drum is a bibliophile's heaven
compared to the mega-book marts where a
plethora of New York Times bestsellers
and self-help books abound. I've only
encountered intelligent and helpful staff
members who are not only helpful, but
more importantly, knowledgeable enough
in their trade to give good suggestions on a
good read.
Shaman Drum's identity as a bookstore
transcends merely selling textbooks. It
sells books. Period. And if Adams ever
decides to step outside his utilitarian
notion of what makes a good store, he

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