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October 03, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-03

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 3, 2005

OPINION

cibr 3trbl~igan 31tai1g

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
You could abort
every black baby in
this country, and
your crime rate
would go down."
- Former Secretary of Education
William J. Bennett, as reported
Friday by The New York Times.

MICHELLE BIEN Ti-i E BEAN ACIE
~~ ON, WH~AT A BEAMTfUL
(..OLLE GE sIawe- co~ws R N8, ThOSE
CiRRDENS AT EVERY - Pit-S OF I-RPL-
CO RN R!

The hush phenomenon
MARA GAY C'OMMON SENSE

ichigan's
M football
season is
OK too, but there's
nothing quite like a
series of racist and
l4homophobic inci-
dents to kick off the
start of the school
year and get your
blood flowing.
First to make headlines was that still
murky episode in which an Asian couple
alleged they were urinated on and verbally
assaulted with racial epithets. The Asian
community's response to this bizarre and
disturbing event has been loud and visible,
and rightly so.
Next, a shooting took place at a black
fraternity house, and the description of the
perpetrator given by police aroused anger
throughout much of the campus's black com-
munity, inspiring the Black Student Union to
hold a "town hall meeting" to discuss ways
to fight racial profiling and devise more pre-
cise methods of identifying suspects.
Finally there was Conservative Coming
Out Day, that miserable analogy that had the
audacity to suggest that conservative stu-
dents face as much discrimination express-
ing their views at Michigan as gay, lesbian
or transgender students do "coming out of
the closet." The sentiment was neither cor-
rect nor clever - students whose sexual ori-
entations fly in the face of traditional values
face discrimination that is unparalleled in
our modern times - those who write off the
event as a simple joke should ask themselves
if there is indeed anyone laughing.
Sadly, these incidents are nowhere near
out of the ordinary - a few conversations
with students who belong to a minority or
marginalized group will convince anyone
that incidents of bias and intolerance are as
frequent as they are underreported. Michigan

is, after all, a school that trumpets diversity
but festers with unresolved tensions of racial
and other bigoted origins. Among those who
pay attention, these events failed to arouse
much astonishment at all.
What is shocking is the silence. What is
shocking is that in the midst of a monster
they know all too well, not one minority
group has taken it upon itself to stand up
and condemn intolerance, no matter who
its target may be. Instead, they have sat by
complacently, content to watch their fellow
students suffer from the same ignorance,
the same bigotry, the same hatred that
makes discrimination an everyday reality
at the University.
This hush phenomenon, this refusal to
denounce that which we know is inherently
unjust, is perhaps our greatest missed oppor-
tunity. By standing together in solidarity
students of marginalized groups can offer
the greater community a valuable piece of
wisdom: the understanding that intolerance
is not an Asian problem or a gay problem or
a black problem, but a University problem.
Coalition building is, of course, easier
said than done. Different minority groups
face different challenges at the University.
Black students, for instance, whose academ-
ic competency is constantly under attack,
may have difficulty understanding why the
"model minority" stereotype that all Asians
are intellectual powerhouses is a problem at
all. Gay, lesbian and transgender students
may find it hard to relate to the experience
of people of color at the University. It is
only when we see, however, that these ste-
reotypes and misconceptions are derived
out of the same well of ignorance that we
can begin to build coalitions.
For minorities, each day brings with it a
fresh battle for acceptance at the University.
But there can be no progress until an attack
against one is seen as an attack against all.
There can be no victory declared, for example,

in the black community, as long as its Asian
peers are forced to walk the streets of Ann
Arbor wondering if they too will be urinated
on and verbally assaulted.
The student minority groups that watch
their peers suffer from bigotry and do and
say nothing are guilty of a callous coward-
ice. But equally disturbing is the vast num-
ber of socially and politically active student
groups at the University unaffiliated with a
specific minority group that remain silent in
the face of the discrimination against oth-
ers. The Michigan Student Assembly must
do more to encourage these groups to take
on an active role in the fight against intol-
erance. It must be understood that these
issues affect every student at the University,
regardless of skin color or sexual orienta-
tion, religion or political persuasion.
It is time to make some noise, rock some
boats and get this show on the road. As stu-
dents at the University, it is within our power
to create a new definition of "minority" for
tomorrow, drawing on our collective strengths
and making a united front against ignorance
and racism, homophobia and intolerance,
wherever they may be found.
The hush phenomenon gnaws at the
humanity of those who subscribe to its
unapologetic indifference. Dante once wrote,
"The hottest places in hell are reserved for
those who, in a time of great moral crisis,
maintain their own neutrality."
What happened in September was shame-
ful. But October can be the month students
take a stand against wrong; it can be that
decisive moment when we sat down at the
table and made a commitment to make the
University a better place. And if we believe
even a little in the school we love, the
change must start today.

Gay can be reached
at maracl@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Racial debate leaves out
other side of the story
TO THE DAILY:
While you have done a great job writing arti-
cles about the community awareness of racial
injustices against Asians and other minorities,
you haven't portrayed the other side. I'm obvi-
ously not white, but I bet you haven't heard this
side of the story. 1) Probably half of the Asians
I have met on this campus are predominantly
friends with Asians or very involved in Asian
extracurricular groups. I call this self-segrega-
tion, as Haosi Wu did in his letter to the editor
(Asian Americans need more productive activ-
ism, 09/29/2005). 2) When I first arrived on
campus, I was told by another Asian that I was
weird because most of my friends were white
and questioned why I thought whites were bet-
ter than my "own people." 3) I saw an Asian
friend at Necto one night while waiting in the
coat check line at the end of the night. He was
with a group of Asian males. He asked me who
I was with and I vaguely pointed behind me,
saying I was with my girlfriends. There was a
group of white girls behind me, and a group of
Asian girls farther ahead. He told me I better
hurry because they were leaving, but I turned
and saw that he thought I meant the Asian girls.
He instantly assumed that I was with them. I
corrected him and then he scoffed at me, asking
me if I thought I was too cool for "them" and
why.he never sees me with my "own."
I have experienced racism in my life - try
growing up in Grosse Pointe. I'm not saying that
the response to the incident from last week is
wrong, but I think everyone needs to take it with
a grain of salt. Racial prejudice exists in many
forms. The film "Crash" was a great portrayal
of discrimination in many forms, but often times
people only focus on one leg of the issue. My
point here is, I guess, that Asians may be victims
of prejudice at times, but I've heard Asians con-
demn whites more than I've heard whites utter
slurs. Why must the pigment of our skin or the

of racial intimidation against two Asian stu-
dents (Suspects dispute hate crime, 09/26/2005).
First, if convicted in a court of law, the offend-
ing students should be expelled from the Uni-
versity. Students should be expected to uphold
certain ethical and legal standards, regardless
of whether they are on or off campus.
With that said, these students need to be
afforded the same rights as anyone else until
they are convicted.
It would be hypocritical to punish or casti-
gate these students until they are found guilty.
Second, I do not quite see the connection
between the increasingly mystifying liberal
shibboleth, "diversity," and the heinous act that
allegedly occurred. Much as University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman and her cohorts may
try, no number of consortiums, curriculum
changes or forums will eliminate stupid people
from this planet.
Coleman recently speculated that a lack of
cultural knowledge or education may be the
cause for such incidents. I doubt it. Last time
I checked, urinating on someone, regardless of
race or ethnicity, isn't on any map of common
sense or probity. I don't doubt that education
and exposure are necessary in combating racial
bias. However, if what has been alleged actually
happened, let's see it for what it was: an isolated
incident of idiocy by soon-to-be former Univer-
sity students.
Brent Dupay
Ann Arbor resident
Officiating crew should go
back to the rulebook
To THE DAILY:
Dear Dennis Lipski, Carl Britt, Bob Bas-
sett, Tom Krispinsky, Dino Paganelli, Henry
Zaborniak and Joe Duncan (otherwise known
as the officiating crew for the Michigan vs.
Michigan State game on Saturday):
I would like to bring to your attention a cer-
t ,, rli- t,'Wo n11.a 4l y-"Innrc N('A A

ruled regardless of where the ball strikes the
ground or a player."
If you are still in doubt, let me further
convince you with paragraph c: "When in
question, the ball is passed and not fumbled
during an attempted forward pass."
Although we managed to get the win
despite that call, in the future, we the fans
would greatly appreciate it if you could get
the calls right. I'm sure the players would
like that too.
David Han
Engineering Senior
Student loan program cuts
could slip under the radar
To THE DAILY:
I am writing concerning legislation, House
Resolution 609 - which is set to be voted on
as part of the Budget Reconciliation Act by the
U.S. House of Representatives in early Novem-
ber. This bill will cut $9 billion out of loan pro-
grams for college students, consequently raising
the average debt for students with loans by about
$5,800. Alarmingly, H.R.609 has slipped under
the radar of most on college campuses who will
be drastically and detrimentally impacted. As
a student, I believe these cuts should be more
widely publicized, both on and off campus, so
that Americans can communicate to their rep-
resentatives in Congress whether they believe
higher education should be shortchanged in our
national budget. Legislation concerning edu-
cation has implications too great to simply be
snuck past, hidden in a larger, more complex
budget bill.
Sebastien Lounis
LSA junior
Democrats should stand up
for what they believe
'1Tn -urnTATI !7

*1

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