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October 06, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-06

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, Ocotober 6, 2005

OPINION

(Tbe Miri Ugat :lativ

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
It just gets
worse and
worse.
-Dick DeGuerin, defense attorney for former
House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-
Texas), commenting on DeLay's second grand
jury indictment in as many weeks, as reported
yesterday by the Austin American-Statesman.

ALEXANDER HONKALA F.D C'iMBucwf

"CULTURE OF LIFE
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Much hue and cry, few answers
SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY AUDI A.TERAM PA TEM
he Univer- campus-wide letter promising more effective display of a lynched human skeleton, I feel a
sity has always reporting mechanisms for hate crimes as well mixture of disbelief and anger."
prided itself as accessible support for students. I haven't personally seen the window dis-
as being an inclusive It is certainly refreshing to see such play in question, but I'm forced to wonder
environment; from its vigor coming from a usually apathetic cam- whether the apoplectic writer is being exces-
admissions protocol pus body. Students are demanding answers sive. If the display is as described, the only
to a general culture of and the administration, at least in writing, people being overtly targeted seem to be
liberalism, the campus espouses implementing change. But after Spartans.
prides itself as a haven all the politically correct rhetoric and play- The problem here is that the malaise at large
for diversity. But sever- ing of the blame game, the final outcome is remains unclear. It is too easy to sacrifice the
al allegedly racist inci- still dubious. Just last week, the "Drew and proverbial scapegoat and censure all white
dents in the past month have cast a doubt on Mike in the Morning" show on 101.1 WRIF people, the Ann Arbor Police Department,
that claim. From vague Department of Public purportedly lampooned the Sept. 15 attack American history, "the Man," self segrega-
Safety reports marking robbery culprits as in an anti-Asian radio skit. Art is protected tion, crime statistics, etc. for the incidents. It
men in "baggy hip-hop clothing" to the very as a form of free speech, but a social cog- would be just as simple to shrug off what is
contentious September 15 episode (in which nizance and level of sensitivity can still be happening with indifference. Neither is right.
an Asian couple was supposedly urinated on expected. As much as I would like to provide a golden
and hit with objects and racial slurs) the Uni- On the opposite side of the gamut is the solution, there isn't one. Ingrained tendencies
versity has become a hotbed of debate over- hypersensitive response, a propensity to and bad habits cannot be erased with affirma-
night. construe any and everything as offensive. A tive action or increasing the Race and Eth-
Understandably there is outrage; some recent letter (Bookstore spirit display insensitive nicity class requirements. If we are to prevent
people are navely shocked that bigotry still to racial past, 09/30/2005), in which a hanging future attacks and make the University a safe
exists in this day and age. Groups like the skeleton in a bookstore wearing an anti-Mich- place for all students, we must recognize that
United Asian American Organizations and igan State outfit is correlated to the lynching hatred and ignorance are complex issues that
the Filipino American Student Association of African Americans. The writer claims, require farsighted, holistic cures. That real-
have rallied, while the Daily's editorial page "Given our nation's history of violence and ization, in itself, is the first step to healing.
continues to be inundated with responses. discrimination against minority groups and
Even University President Mary Sue Coleman the vivid, horrible imagery that can be pow- Krishnamurthy can be reached at
was prompted to make a statement and sent a erfully and instantaneously conjured by the sowmyak@umich.edu.
VIEWPOINT
Criticism and charity begin at home
By JONATHAN CHANG covered the Tawana Brawley case? More it is part of what makes changing the status
than 2,000 local and national media out- quo and racism so difficult. The status quo
On Sept. 15, two University students lets. "Why is that?" one might ask. Well, always points a finger back at the agent of
either committed a hate crime or simply that leads back to point two: The domi- change. To that, I reply, "How about look-
threw a beer can over a balcony in an Asian nant framework in America regarding ing at the last 20 covers of People magazine
couple's direction. All of the events are cur- race, racism and ethnicity is a black-white or the last 20 guests on Oprah?" Regard-
rently under investigation. Since that time, framework which in itself is also a form of less of whether you find 80 percent, 90 per-
the Asian-American community at the Uni- racism. cent or even 100 percent to be exclusively
versity has spoken out about a wide variety Additionally, American media works to black or white, any society that repeatedly
of issues involving racism. reinforce this racist framework. Media is declares to its citizens "democracy, diver-
Although racism and prejudice can rear extremely important because it defines and sity and multiculturalism" as well as "with-
their ugly heads in all kinds of forms, the projects who we think we are as Ameri- out regard to race, religion, color, creed ..."
recent events have led me to some conclu- cans. I would estimate that 90 to 95 percent cannot be a pluralistic society and still rep-
sions: One, most racism and racist actions of all the images in American mainstream resent itself in this manner!
are rationalized. We, as human beings, find media, whether television or print, have Perhaps the true significance of the Sept.
some difference, real or imagined, on which only black and white images as their pri- 15 incident is that it has galvanized the Asian-
to base our hatred. All the diversity talks in mary focus. Primetime American televi- American community to unite and take action
the world do not make a hill of difference sion is America's most racist hour. During against racism while also serving as an alle-
if we do not truly believe or practice what primetime television, we as viewers never gory for the various incidents of subtle, unre-
we preach. see a scene that actually looks like the city ported racism that Asian Americans have
Second, we cannot put a multicultural or place that it purports to be. For exam- faced in their everyday lives. Unfortunately,
perspective into practice if the dominant ple, if we are watching a black show, then we have a long way to go in regards to true
framework for race relations, racism and the majority of actors are black. If a white diversity and multiculturalism. The clich6d
ethnicity in America is still dominated by show, seven to nine out of the 10 actors are use of "multiculturalism" is analogous to a
the desire to put everything into a black- white, two to three are black. Who says song that everyone hums, yet no one knows
white context. This is also a form of racism that this is America? Where are the Arab the words to. Mimicry is easy; practice, exe-
because America does not consist of only Americans, the Persians, the Latinos, the cution and performance require much more
two ethnic groups. For example, Cornel Asians, the Indians, the Pakistanis and the work and conscientiousness. Therefore, a
West in "Race Matters" discusses race only Armenians? Current media representations good first step would be to have American
in terms of black and white and only cites of Asian Americans and others only serve media as well as the representations, atti-
authors and sources who are either black or to marginalize or exoticize the already tudes and societal structures that they project
white throughout the majority of his book. marginalized. How many times have we reflect a true multicultural society. Practice
Third, even among minorities in Ameri- seen an Asian-American actor, with just makes perfect.
ca, there is a hierarchy. If you don't believe two lines, further marginalized by having
me, ask me how many newspapers across to speak with a pidgin accent? Chang is a freelance writer and former
America have covered this alleged hate "I don't believe you - you are the rac- graduate student at the
crime? Three? "Is that all?" How many ist!" Frankly, I expect this reaction because University of California, Los Angeles
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

0

Students should be less
Polarized, more receptive
TO THE DAILY:
I'm sure your inbox is becoming clogged
with e-mails concerning the letter Art Josin
had published (Democrats should stand up for
what they believe, 10/03/2005), so I'll keep
this short. As a person who leans moder-
ately to the left, I, according to this article,
moderately like to pay high taxes and kill
babies. I can assure you that I hate taxes,
the thought of killing babies is something
that never comes across my mind and being
accused of perpetuating and enjoying rac-
ism and bigotry is, well, downright insult-
ing.
Rather than attacking the points of view
expressed, perhaps a better way to refute

servative. Liberals believe the government
should do more with tax money to help
people, thus creating more federal pro-
grams and a bigger government. Conserva-
tives believe that while the people should
be helped, it should be up to the individuals
of society to help those people.
"Control of (American) children" might
be a reference to the recent "Grand Theft
Auto" scandal. Maybe I'm wrong on this, but
let's go with it anyway. After an onslaught of
distressed parents calling for stricter video
game regulations, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-
N.Y.) suggested she'd be willing to support
more stringent government regulations. So,
I guess you can't really fault a senator for
listening to an outcry of Americans.
Promoting racism and bigotry? I can
only take that to mean liberals' support of

fault the Democrats in office for not ini-
tially opposing the Patriot Act, which was
sponsored by Republicans and passed by
a Republican president. For those of you
who don't know, the Patriot Act is aimed
at allowing government law enforcement
and intelligence agencies more authority in
their efforts to prevent terrorism.
Instead of blindly following a left-or
right-wing mentality on this campus, we
should all listen to the intelligent debate
that each side has to offer and form our
opinions from there.
Matthew Lewis
LSA sophomore
HAVE OPINIONS?

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Amanda Burns, Whitney Dibo,
Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Eric Jackson, Brian Kelly, Theresa Kennelly,
Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Dan Skowronski, Brian Slade, Lauren
Slough, John Stiglich, Imran Syed, Ben Taylor

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