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April 21, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 21, 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

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
I think Muslims
have become the new
Negroes in America."
- Jermaine Jackson, commenting on
race relations in the United States,
as reported yesterday by Reuters.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

gv 1- ErS dIN i t,1t .Cod J

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For the sake of feminism, take it off
SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA WEAVING THE HANDBASKET
hen ultra- burn and pour hot oil on their daughters-in- Indian markets, which the pageants have
sounds were law for failing to produce a grandson. It is in done effectively: Very remote towns now sell
introduced in this caste-based, religiously segregated and L'Oreal products in their convenience stores.
India a surprising demo- male-dominated society that ultrasounds and As in any country afraid of change,
graphic began utilizing abortions became women's tools to appease there is plenty of controversy about the
the new technology - the demands of their families. chaste Indian girls participating in the
the poor. For a while, There are, however a few women who scandalous swimsuit competition. Some
people assumed it was to were able to rise to power. While the fol- women's groups protested during the 1996
make sure the fetus was lowing two women are not representative Miss World pageant in the southern city of
healthy, a valid concern of all leaders, their rise to power is worth Bangalore by threatening to commit sui-
for a developing country with high infant noting. Indira Gandhi, India's first prime cide if the pageant continued.
mortality rates. But soon, the real reasons minister and Jawaharlal Nehru's daughter, The main problem is that women are
became apparent when women scheduled obtained her position as prime minister not forced to participate in these pageants or
more and more abortions immediately because of her own political prowess but commit suicide to protest them to gain any
after doctors performed ultrasounds. No because of her relation to Nehru. Phoolan recognition: Without her 1994 Miss World
one wanted to admit it was happening, but Devi, a controversial low-caste bandit, was title and subsequent Bollywood roles,
that women were being forced to abort captured and raped continuously every Aishwarya Rai would never have appeared
female fetuses became glaringly obvious. night for 23 days in a rural, upper-caste in a large color photo in The New York
Laws now ban doctors from notifying par- village. A few months later she returned Times last Friday.
ents of the sex of the fetus because of this with her gang and killed 22 men. That a Showing a little skin is the only way to
phenomenon. woman was able to survive such brutality actually earn the respect and love of the pop-
Welcome to the most populous democra- is praiseworthy in any society, but espe- ulace. It is in effect the bra burning of the
cy in the world. Things work a little different- cially so in one where divorced women are American feminist revolution; similarly, girls
ly there than in the West. "Why," the naive forced to suicide. Devi served 11 years in defy their families by wearing pants, break-
Westerners ask, "would women abort their jail without a trial and then ran for a posi- ing numerous barriers by utilizing their edu-
fetuses simply because they are female?" In a tion in her state parliament, on which she cation to pursue a career instead of giving it
country that embraces feminism (to a served off and on until she was gunned up to raise children and even by competing in
degree), it is difficult to understand the plight down in 2001. beauty pageants.
of women who are mostly oppressed. Most young girls do not look up to these The debate about these pageants is not
Women are still largely dependent on women because they were either handed their about the beauty-versus-brains discussion
their fathers and husbands. While middle- positions based on their father or former that dominates discourses in America, but
class and rich women can afford education to male lover. Instead, the country is fixated instead about women's right to even partici-
escape parts of the archaic system, poor upon its Bollywood beauties - actresses pate. While I understand that not everyone is
women cannot afford education and are sold who get their roles based on winning the open to the idea of women choosing what
as servants into the homes of the rich, who Miss India, Universe and World pageants. they wear or do not wear, I recognize these
very rarely choose to educate the help. These pageants have continued to gain women's choices to break away from tradi-
Once married, women's troubles tend to popularity in India as more Indian girls con- tional roles and I applaud them for taking,
increase as domestic violence is the norm tinuously sweep the Miss Universe, Miss chances and for baring it all.
and is expected if the woman does something World and Miss Asia Pacific pageants. Con-
wrong. Sometimes, older women are the spiracy theorists claim that the beauty indus- Chirumamilla can be reached at
instigators of the violence, as mothers-in-law try rigs the pageants in order to open up the schiruma@umich.edu.
Commencement won't showcase diversity of ideas
D.C. LEE 2L CooL J
hen it comes to of consistent and deliberate blackballing of to blacks is close to 10 to 1, and the
selecting a conservative scholars at commencement allegedly discriminatory hiring practices of
g r a d u a t i o n podiums? No, of course not. But, it is possi- the NFL led to the hiring of three black
speaker for Spring Com- ble these numbers tend to prove the exis- head coaches out of thirty teams, a 10 to 1
mencement, there is a tence of consistent and deliberate ratio. Thus, in the case of the NFL, the
disturbing trend that blackballing of conservative scholars at allegations of racial discrimination are
afflicts not just the Uni- commencement podiums? Absolutely. weak. On the other hand, the ratio of con-
versity, but also a majori- Just recently, the National Football servatives to liberals is close to 1 to 1, but
ty of colleges and League instituted the "Rooney Rule," a rule the numbers indicate a 15 to 1 discrepancy
universities - the consis- requiring teams with head coaching vacan- in the selection process of commencement
tent and deliberate black- cies to-make a good faith effort to interview speakers. Thus, in the case of the consistent
balling of conservative scholars at and hire minority coaches. The NFL imple- and deliberate blackballing of conservative
commencement podiums. mented the rule after a group of civil rights scholars, the allegations of discrimination
Almost every school in the country advocates threatened to sue the NFL if it are very strong.
selects commencement speakers from the didn't hire more black coaches. So, is the Of course, it's important to keep in mind
political Left. Take a minute to think about fact that there are only three black coaches that the Constitution and various federal
some liberal political figures and media per- out of 30 in the NFL conclusive proof of statutes protect against racially discrimina-
sonalities who have recently delivered com- racially discriminatory hiring practices? tory hiring practices, whereas colleges and
mencement addresses. Names that might No, of course not. But, it is possible that universities are self-regulated when it
come to mind are Walter Mondale, these numbers tend to prove the existence comes to the selection of commencement
Madeleine Albright, Tim Russert, Chris of racially discriminatory hiring practices? speakers. Nevertheless, in a society in
Matthews and Jonathon Kozol. Here at the Absolutely. The civil rights advocates are which colleges and universities claim to be
University, our last two Spring Commence- right, at least in part, and the evidence sug- bastions of intellectual debate, wouldn't it
ment speakers have been Democratic Gov. gests the possibility of discriminatory prac- make sense to have a proportionate num-
Jennifer Granholm and William H. Gray III tices on the part of the NFL. ber, or even a "critical mass," of conserva-
of the United Negro College Fund. Moreover, a further comparison of the tive scholars on campuses? I'm no
This year's speaker, David E. Davis, Jr., is universities' and NFL's practices shows that constitutional law scholar, but I'm pretty
the founder and editor emeritus of Automo- it's even more likely that there is consistent sure 0.066 would not be an acceptable
bile Magazine, a decidedly nonpartisan jour- and deliberate blackballing of conservative "critical mass" of minority students
nal. That Davis's political views are not scholars in the commencement speaker enrolled at the University if its admissions
transparent, however, does not undermine the selection process than there is racially dis- policies were challenged as unconstitution-
contention that conservative scholars are criminatory hiring practices in the NFL. al, so why should it be an acceptable per-
severely unrepresented in university com- There are just as many conservative schol- centage of conservative scholars giving
mencements. According to the Center for the ars as there are liberal scholars, but the commencement speeches when the selec-
Study of Popular Culture, the ratio of com- percentage of whites and blacks who want tion process has been called into question?
mencement speakers on the Left and Right is to be head coaches in the NFL is much
226 to 15. That's a 15 to 1 ratio. That's 0.066. closer to the perceived discriminatory dif- Lee can be reached at
Now, are these numbers conclusive proof ference. In other words, the ratio of whites leedc@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

01

01

0

Coverage of Michiganensian
inconsistent, unprofessional
To THE DAILY:
I am writing to you on behalf of the
Michiganensian yearbook staff. From April
14 to April 16 we camped out in the Diag
for 53 straight hours promoting and distrib-
utinis our book. As you published earlier in

took photographs that were not used, and
another asked us numerous questions inform-
ing us that she was assigned the feature pho-
tograph. As a sister publication of the Ensian
who knows our current 'situation nearly as
well as we do, we would hope that you would
support us in our fight to save our book. To
not consider us for even a photograph was
insulting to us as both a staff and fellow stu-
dent nublication

recognized by this widely celebrated, noted
automotive journalist. Thankfully, I am not
graduating from Michigan State University,
where graduates will be bored by Condoleez-
za Rice, the relatively unknown first woman
to occupy the key post of national security
advisor to the president of the United States.
JOHN HIDDEMA
Engineering senior

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