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September 28, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 28, 2005

OPINION

GWet £irbigan ady

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
We have been
living like
cavemen,
sleeping in cars,
doing bodily
functions outside."
- John Owens, emergency management
coordinator and deputy police chief of Port
Arthur, Texas, describing how people are living
in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, as reported
yesterday at CNN.com.

KIM LEUNG ThE TAKE-uT Box

AN s Z k ~
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I'm tired of being a suspect
DAVID BETTS PONTIFICATIONS
was really psyched media outlets. So are all of my black male people in the black community were up in
up to write my col- friends - it's been something we've talked arms about the suspect being described as a
umn for this week. about my entire time at this university. It's black man, 5'9" wearing a white Tee and a
I was going to blast the been discussed on blogs, in The Spectrum and dark baseball cap. Apparently that could have
Department of Public in countless other settings. We're concerned been any number of people at the party. Blame
Safety for the vague that these descriptions just perpetuate the for this description is being thrown all over the
suspect descriptions and stereotypes that black men are violent, dan- place - at this newspaper for example. The
general emphasis on gerous criminals. I hate to disappoint people, thing we forget to realize is that - barring
making sure black people but almost all of the black men I have come some conspiracy - a black person gave this
don't act up while white across at this university are concerned with description. And unless someone knows some-
members of the campus getting degrees and making it in a world where thing I don't, the shooter was actually a black
community are allowed to run relatively free. I it so often feels as though the odds are stacked male, about 5'9" and was wearing a white Tee
was going to complain about how sick I am of against them. and a dark hat.
being a suspect in the unarmed robbery spree I'm angry that in the liberal, progressive I was going to dedicate the column solely to
that started in the summer and continued into city of Ann Arbor, so many law enforce- venting about always being a suspect, but that
this fall. But somewhere between Friday night ment officials are so quick to assume that isn't going to serve any purpose. Harassing this
and Monday night I lost some of my fervor. at a black event there's going to be trouble. publication is not going to do the black com-
I'm still angry that I'm always a suspect, but Every year at the Icebreaker, an event thrown munity much good. Instead, what we need to be
simply throwing blame at campus publications by the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the doing is going to DPS and the AAPD and asking
isn't really going to solve anything. police stand on the front steps of the Union them, "What goes into a suspect description?"
To a certain extent, I'm still going to get and essentially wait for someone to act up so We need to explain to them why "baggy, hip-hop
on DPS for listing one suspect of a Sept. 15 they can take them around the corner to the clothes" is an ineffective, racist remark. We need
unarmed robbery as wearing "baggy hip-hop police vans waiting between West Quadrangle to ask them, "Why there is so much emphasis
clothes." Exactly what are baggy hip-hop Residence Hall and the Fleming Administra- on having a presence at every black function?"
clothes? Are they Kanye West-style preppy tion Building. I have been told numerous sto- We need to dedicate a lot of the energy spent on
sweaters in loud colors? Are they 1992 MC ries of black people being questioned by both complaining to making sure the gentleman that
Hammer-style Genie Pants? Are they baggy the Ann Arbor Police Department and DPS was accidentally shot is OK. We need to dedicate
versions of Run-DMC-style jean outfits that Dr. while white people engaging in various illegal the incredible intelligence we possess to figur-
Dre wore in the late 1990s and early 2000s? Or and/or destructive activities go unconfronted. ing out how to prevent non-students from Ann
are they just anything resembling loose-fitting I have seen four police cars swarm the scene Arbor, Detroit and Ypsilanti from infringing on
jeans and a T-shirt/hooded sweatshirt/jersey? when a lone black man accosted several white what little black party scene we have. There are
Unfortunately, my guess is the latter of the males walking through the Diag. I have also no easy answers to the problems facing the black
four. Nevertheless, the question remains, what seen somewhat disorderly behavior at predom- campus community. That's why I've made so
are "baggy hip-hop clothes?" Theoretically, inantly white fraternity parties get ignored by few suggestions. But just because real change is
this university is a very progressive, diverse, the police. These claims may seem unsubstan- so difficult doesn't mean we can settle for mak-
tolerant place, but somehow the suspect tiated, as the racial profiling by the AAPD and ing misguided complaints that suggest cosmetic
descriptions disseminated by the University's DPS has probably never been written about. solutions to huge cultural problems. There is
law enforcement agency are stuck somewhere But I guarantee that a large proportion of the unparalleled intelligence in the black community
in a place where all black people are criminals black people on campus know exactly what I at this university. It's time we began to use it to
and we should all be feared. am talking about. make real change.
Let it be known: I'm angry about being both In the aftermath of Friday's shooting and
a potential victim and suspect of the crime Monday's front-page Daily article (Frat Party Betts can be reached at
spree that made it all the way to several Detroit Shooting Injures Freshman, 09/26/2005), many djmbetts@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0I

Daily drops the ball on
Trotter House event
TO THE DAILY:
I have to admit that I nearly skipped Mon-
day's town hall meeting at Trotter House about
the recent incident involving students of Asian
descent. I'd spilt some coffee on my sweatshirt
and, I was afraid I'd look like Pigpen. In the end,
I did attend.
I wasn't disappointed. There was general agree-
ment that the details of the incident were murky. It
provided an opportunity to talk about a pattern of
quiet racism, though. Students, alumni and faculty
had the chance to come together and talk about
ways to celebrate diversity and strengthen net-
works. It was inspiring to see how an ugly incident
could mobilize students into positive action.
I'm especially glad I attended, now, because
nary a mention of the meeting made it into Tues-
day's Daily.
Don't get me wrong - topics like the extrava-
gance of grass (The clover's greener on the other
side, 09/27/2005) and the aerodynamics of the Big
House (Researchers, students test wind currents in
stadium, 09/27/2005) are newsworthy, I guess. I'd
like to believe that campus responses to important
recent events are also worth noting.
The feeling exists among many that the
University turns a blind eye to issues involv-
ing Asian-Americans. The Daily's omission
of Monday's town hall meeting only adds to
that impression.
Kurt Christensen
School of Public Health
Fraternity shooting coverage
propagates stereotypes of
black community
TO THE DAILY:
I am deeply troubled by the article printed
on Monday entitled Frat Party Shooting Injures
Freshman (09/26/2005). There are some things
that admittedly took place - the shooting

DPS crime alerts with loosely scripted
depictions of "hip-hop, baggy clothes wear-
ing" blacks only further perpetuate the con-
cept of our black citizens being criminals. It
is indeed necessary to report on incidents to
prevent further attacks, but there is a dispro-
portionate way in which blacks are reported
and described for crimes.
The story printed on Monday noted the
shooter "as being a 5'9" black man wearing a
white T-shirt and a dark hat." I'm not denying
nor confirming the identity of the shooter as
anything other than that. This depiction does,
however, give rise to many black men not only
on this campus, but in our community. Addi-
tionally, nowhere in the article was it men-
tioned that, more than likely, this person was
NOT a student at the University.
Though that does not negate the fact that
this person is still at large, there is indeed a bit
of relief when you know that this person may
not be sitting next to you in class, passing you
at night or God forbid, sleeping across from
you in your residence hall.
This article also skips the part where an Ann
Arbor Police Department riot van was sitting
outside of the Michigan Union, several armed
police officers were inside the Union and video
surveillance took place during a dance-party
that Friday night in the Michigan Union Ball-
room, several hours before the shooting off
campus. There are double standards occurring
on this campus all the time. It is upsetting to
know that people expect members of our com-
munity to act violently, and dehumanizing to
see the measures that are in-place "in case"
this happens. The efforts taken to protect the
students inside of our union were followed,
being a guest list and checking student IDs, yet
we were treated like suspects all along.
When violence did occur, furthermore, it
was at an off-campus house by a nonstudent,
though this piece of information was not
included. The organizations in our commu-
nity have been working together to make this
a more safe environment for all students, but
that can't happen if nondescriptive articles like

Asians face discrimination
on a daily basis on campus
TO THE DAILY:
I have been closely following the Daily's
coverage of the racist incident that occurred
two weeks ago, and as an member of the Asian
Pacific Islander American community on cam-
pus, I am concerned that it took an incident of
this nature to mobilize the APIA community
and its allies to action.
Having said that, a catalyst is sometimes need-
ed, but I feel that the more the Daily and others
on campus focus on this particular episode, the
more disappointed I am. It is true that there is
controversy regarding the exact details of that
Thursday evening, and although it is important
for the sake of justice that the investigation exam-
ines all sides of the story, this has transformed
into more than just one evening. Underneath it
all, APIAs - and perhaps people in other com-
munities as well - have gotten stuck in this state
of complacency. This movement on campus is not
solely in reaction to Thursday, but also for every
single time APIAs are stopped on the street and
complimented on their English, asked if they can
show off kung fu moves or my personal favorite,
if I am related to Jackie Chan.
The fact that the Daily gets so caught up in
the details of this one incident speaks to the
insensitivity the Daily has regarding issues
of multiculturalism and race in its reporting.
Perhaps the Daily should report more on the
growing campus response and mobilization,
instead of the tiny details of one incident.
Unfortunately, some details may not be as
important as others; In Suspects dispute hate
crime (09/26/2005), Stephanie Kao is misiden-
tified as president of United Asian American
Organizations when she actually serves as co-
chair. (Editor's Note: Please see "Corrections,"
09/27/2005.)
Mobilization of the APIA community is
not enough to fight the ignorance that prevails
everyday. The administration must join us on
this journey; issuing an e-mail without any clear
timetabhles or courses of action is not enoih.I

0l

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Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns, Whitney
Dibo, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Eric Jackson, Theresa Kennelly, Rajiv
PrbhA-irMArr RnP ngidRi,Pll VVRi lkrronski. Brian SladeLau 1ren Sog.

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