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April 19, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-19

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 19, 2004


opinion. michigandaily.com

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

It is clear that
Iraqi forces will not
be able, on their
own, to deal with
these threats by
June 30 when an
Iraqi government
- L. Paul Bremer III, the American
administrator in Iraq,
referring to the recent wave of
violence in Iraq, as reported
yesterday by The New York Times.

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Fa shizzle dizzle, it's cultural appropriation-izzle

ver since the time
that Adam and
Eve snatched a
few apples from God's
tree of knowledge, one
thing has been clear:
White people love to
steal. Although we often
try to give it different
names such as "colo-
nization," "slavery" and "insider trading,"
in the end, it still amounts to theft.
Every major white culture throughout
human history was guilty of at least one
large-scale theft. Some were sneaky about
it, like the mighty British Empire, which
once spanned the globe in search of eco-
nomic gain. Others stole because they felt
like it and didn't bother offering reasons
for doing so, such as the ancient Romans,
who established an expensive empire out
of sheer boredom.
Others claimed it was their right -
nay, their destiny - to steal, such as the
Americans of the mid-19th century, who
expanded ever-westward under the slogan
"manifest destiny," much to the chagrin of
the indigenous peoples of the continent -
it's not that we wanted to steal, per se; it's
that we had to steal.
But what of the modern white man?
Certainly his lust for that which is not his
has been checked by contemporary notions
of property and civil rights.
For the most part, it has. But you have
to remember: The white man is crafty and
should not be trusted. Take away his ability
to steal land and freedom, and he'll just
find something else to steal.

And in the case of the modern white
American, that something is culture. Cul-
ture is not as easily defined as land or
freedom, so it's not explicitly protected by
any current laws.
It all started with Elvis Presley, the one
and only King of Rock 'N' Roll. No one
can argue that Elvis wasn't a talented
musician and an engaging performer, but
by no means did he invent rock 'n' roll.
Simply stated, what Elvis did was take an
art form that was deeply rooted in black
American culture and make it his own
without acknowledging the source. He
essentially passed on the opportunity to
turn on his legions of young, white, subur-
ban fans to the broader landscape of early
rock music.
Soon thereafter, the world of rock
music came to be dominated by white per-
formers. Many pundits claimed it was hap-
pening all over again with hip-hop when
Eminem first entered the rap scene five
years ago. Like Elvis, Eminem indeed took
an art form that was rooted in black cul-
ture and made it his own, and like Elvis,
most of his fans were white suburban
youths without any real knowledge of hip-
hop's origins. The key difference between
the two, however, lies in Eminem's con-
stant acknowledgement of his own race
and his efforts to highlight his black influ-
ences to sign several black rappers to his
record label.
Rather than outright appropriating the
culture, Eminem at the same time shows
an appreciation for it. In the process,
Eminem garnered much respect from his
black colleagues. It would be foolish to

argue that Eminem has single-handedly
opened the eyes of his white fans to black
culture, but he has certainly provided the
The real danger lies in more lightheart-
ed fare such as Justin Timberlake and
films like 2003's "Malibu's Most Wanted,"
mass-produced appropriations that seek to
capitalize on a trend while doing little to
acknowledge their sources. Timberlake's
transformation from boy band icon to a
Michael Jackson-esque R&B star is a par-
ticularly egregious example.
Still other dangers come from some
black artists themselves. Slang popularized
by the likes of Snoop Dogg on MTV and
now in America Online commercials
seems made-to-appropriate. It wasn't long
before white suburban youth began pep-
pering their speech with random "izzles."
In addition, much of today's hip-hop music
is targeted at the affluent, white club-going
crowd rather than yesteryear's hip-hop,
which was entrenched in the urban experi-
ence. Hook-laden, cookie-cutter "hip-pop"
has replaced the once vibrant and socially-
conscious genre. Nowadays, black artists
with relevant messages and innovative
approaches are forced to the underground
by the likes of Nelly, Ludacris, J-Kwon
and Chingy.
In the end, it would appear that hip-hop
is going the way of everything else the
white man has interfered with. We take it,
have our way with it, then cast it off when
we get sick of it.


Hoard can be reached

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LSA-SG is not the same
as MSA, has proven more
effective for students
In your news article (Exec. board contro-
versy occurs at MSA meeting, 04/14/04) about
student governments, you represented LSA
Student Government in the exact light that
our executive board has deemed most detri-
mental to the government of LSA. Under the
stated headline, the Daily included a section
on the LSA Judiciary and its intentions stat-
ing, "The judiciary will help to distinguish
LSA-SG from MSA." However, the reporters
clearly missed the intent of the judiciary,
implying that LSA-SG is not worthy of its
own headline.
The LSA judiciary was recreated - it has
been as it stands in our constitution since
1996 - to further differentiate us from the
Michigan Student Assembly and allow LSA-

SG to hold a judiciary that would oversee its
own matters instead of using MSA's Central
Student Judiciary. Through this, we believe
that we become a more effective government,
worthy of its own article explaining the
progress we are working toward.
LSA-SG has done much in recent years to
meet students' needs. Four years ago, LSA-
SG established academic minors, which are
now regularly used by students. Through its
efforts this year, LSA-SG has successfully
lobbied for two unique international relations
minors - tentatively ready in Winter 2005
- with the construction of a major in the
works. We have also worked hard for more
representation on faculty committees, hold-
ing seats on the admissions committee, cur-
riculum committee and academic judiciary
committee to represent student interests. Our
student life committee was responsible for
the new seats on which students sit when in
the Angell Hall Fishbowl.
We are not your over-political MSA that
debates the occupation in Iraq. We don't

appoint our executives based on party favors,
nor do we allow the party system to infiltrate
our government. Our intent lies with helping
the student body, many times in the academic
arena, allowing students to experience tangi-
ble effects on their experience at the Univer-
sity before graduating. Connected thoroughly
to the student body, we are the only govern-
ment that stands outside on the Diag regular-
ly looking for suggestions as to how our
government can help you. Simply put, we
care about you, attempting to create active
nonpartisan change on the campus.
Our time and effort devoted equals, if not
exceeds, that of MSA. As such, we believe
we deserve better coverage than what we
were afforded under an unrelated headline.
We ask for recognition as a legitimate, sepa-
rate government that is unique from MSA.
And in return, we will continue to provide
you with the progress that MSA continually
has failed to provide.
LSA Student Government


Removal of survivor services at SAPAC harms survivors

We realize that those without a thorough
understanding of survivor services might over-
look many of the devastating barriers the pro-
posed changes to the Sexual Assault Prevention
and Awareness Center have and will create for
survivors seeking help. The discussion of the
fragmentation of SAPAC's survivor services can
become complicated, which is why it is impor-
tant not only to include opinion but also fact in
such discourse. We'd hope that as peer educa-
tors, Sasha Achen and Stephanie Vitale would
have educated themselves about the issue before
publicly declaring their opinion in the viewpoint
SAPAC changes will provide better services
(04/08/04). We'd like to clear up some of the
facts that were lost in the viewpoint.
Counseling will no longer be available at
SAPAC. The crisis line at SAPAC is being shut
down. Outreaches will no longer be done
through SAPAC-trained volunteers and profes-
sionals. These are undeniable components of the
proposal to change SAPAC. Is this a growth in
services? Some would have you believe so.
After speaking to the president of the Universi-

er within the same organization.
Achen and Vitale write, "CAPS has been
providing services to sexual violence sur-
vivors for over 20 years (longer than SAPAC
has been in existence), and so staff is familiar
with these issues."
SAPAC was formed when an off-campus
crisis line and CAPS existed as independent
resources. It was the demand for specialized
services on campus that led to the creation of
SAPAC. Since then, SAPAC has become a
national model for such resources. What this
plan proposes is a return to what the University
had almost 20 years ago and did not work. Is
this what the administration would have stu-
dents believe is a growth?
The viewpoint claims that moving counsel-
ing from SAPAC to CAPS is working toward
"providing quality counseling to all University
survivors." However, there is no reason to
believe that this move will in any way increase
the quality of counseling and many reasons to
believe the quality will decrease.
There are important barriers that exist for
survivors at CAPS. Perpetrators are served at
CAPS. That risk is not simply a barrier for

Sevig, the director of CAPS, has confirmed
that it will never be a long-term agency.
Less than a year ago there were three crisis
lines within Washtenaw County handling calls
concerning issues of sexual violence. The Sexu-
al Assault Crisis Center was shut down because
of funding issues. Now, with the proposed plans
to SAPAC, only one will remain. This is a part
of the disturbing trend in decreasing resources
for survivors in Washtenaw County. Services
continue to be severed and disappear, only this
time, it's a matter of bureaucracy and not budget
as a source of the cuts.
What we do know is that people have already
expressed not feeling safe at CAPS. We know
for a fact that many survivors have already been
traumatized over the loss of a resource that has
been a staple of this community. We know that
long-term counseling services will no longer be
available unless exceptions are made. We know
that the counselors currently at SAPAC did not
have the option to stay at SAPAC or participate
in the design of such a "community coordinated
response." We know that Our Voices Count is
only one of many organizations outraged by
such a blatant disregard for campus safety. We

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