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October 12, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 12, 2005

OPINION

Gabe Slirbigan iuiI

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
There are a
couple of rotten apples
that need to be dealt
with."
-Robert Davis, who was beaten by New
Orleans police officers, commenting on
how he holds no grudges against the
department, as reported yesterday
by CNN.com.

KIM LEUNG 1 LK~4Tla
VEX
~x
} A~T
o r~ ~

Authentically American
DAVID BETTS PCNTIF(ATINS

onday night
I watched
a screening
of "Hotel Rwanda"
put on by the minori-
ty peer advisors from
all of the residence
halls. It's the kind of
movie that leaves me
disgusted that I'm an
American. I was dis-
gusted at the Western
world for so often leaving the continent of
Africa to deal with the leftovers of colo-
nialism, even all these years after actual
European occupation of the continent. The
movie hit me hard; at times, I didn't want
to watch. Throughout the movie I cringed
as I saw the suffering children and piles of
dead bodies - God forbid I ever see that in
person and not just cinematic form.
After the movie ended, I left the Natural
Science Building and stepped onto the Diag
in all its tree-framed glory - the contrast
was bizarre. I had just gone through about
two hours of genuine disappointment, sad-
ness, laughter and more sadness. I couldn't
move for a moment when I got outside
because I was so struck by the peaceful secu-
rity that the Diag gave me. I almost felt like I
didn't have a reason to complain about being
an American. I didn't think I was justified in
hating America given how comfortable I am
on this campus.
Every once in a while I hate the Unit-
ed States. The racist cultural legacy, the
increasing gap in wealth and my own per-
sonal sense of helplessness in regard to hav-
ing a say in the political process all make
me want to scream at the top of my lungs

at whoever will listen to me. When I watch
a movie, or hear stories of atrocities on the
African continent, I get particularly infuri-
ated. It's actually a bit peculiar; I only know
a handful of people who have ever set foot
on the continent, yet I feel a certain con-
nection there. It's because I am a man of the
Diaspora. I know that my genealogy began
somewhere on that huge continent, at some
point in history. I know that the people, to
a certain extent, are dealing with the same
cultural and historical remnants that force
me to periodically reconcile my existence.
I've met a fairly significant number of
black Americans who only begrudgingly
admit to their Americanness. It's understand-
able because most black Americans do not
exactly fit the role of stereotypical Ameri-
can. Probably the best approximation of the
truth is that we occupy a subculture that is
American in the sense that it originates in the
United States and can't be authentically rep-
licated abroad. What people the world over
fail to realize is that American culture is just
an amalgamation of multiple subcultures,
some of which have been assimilated into
mainstream consciousness more than others.
I know I'm not the first person to say
this, but I'm under the impression that black
Americans occupy a subculture because
we've been searching for a self-determined
identity for so long. We tend to run away
from things that are labeled as white because
for some reason one of the worst ways to
insult a black person is to question his
authentic blackness. Why do you think the
20th century saw black Americans invent
so many new genres of music? Others keep
co-opting the stuff black Americans create,
thus undermining the desire for self-deter-

mination. That leaves us black Americans
with an incredibly interesting, still evolving
culture. What frightens me is that a perverse
percentage of America thinks that Black
Entertainment Television represents black-
ness well. Trust me, it doesn't.
Admittedly, the ever-changing state that
is African-Americanness has some issues to
deal with. That's why we still need the black
press. It also explains why I'm going to the
Millions More March this coming weekend.
Aside from the cultural significance of try-
ing to get at least a million people to come
out and celebrate the 10th anniversary of
the Million Man March, I'm hoping that the
movement will compel more people to help
resolve the constant reconciliation that is
being black in America. There are multiple
injustices and inequities faced by nonwhites
across the country that stem solely from
them not being white. Theoretically, the
march is an opportunity for black Ameri-
cans to call attention to and work to resolve
these issues.
As much as it pains me to occasionally
accept it, I'm an American and there's no
getting around it. I have lived in Ann Arbor
and Ypsilanti my entire life; my parents have
lived in Michigan their entire lives. No mat-
ter how many times I am disappointed with
current political affairs, I know I don't want
to be anyone else, in any other time or place.
The issues facing black Americans are too
complex to fit into this space, but, I sort of
relish the opportunity to force the United
States to live up to its mythical standards of
equality and freedom.
Betts can be reached at
djmbetts@umich.odu.

VIEWPOINT
Don't fly Northwest Airlines

ii

BY ANDRES RAMOS
For the past seven weeks, Northwest Air-
lines has been doing its level best to break
the spirit of its mechanics, as well as the
mechanics union. The airline's demands of
pay cuts between 25 and 50 percent have
forced the Northwest mechanics to strike
for the past seven weeks, shifting their
willing and skilled hands from the tools of
their trade to, in defense of their livelihood,
picket signs. This reprehensible action by
Northwest Airlines is not only unjust, but
also a threat to the safety of the students
who must fly this fall.
Northwest is striving for a nonunion
business model similar to JetBlue, and in
order to achieve this goal, it is demanding
the layoff of more than half its maintenance
workforce - leaving almost 5,000 mainte-
nance workers no choice but to go on strike.
Northwest Airlines is trying to slash labor
costs in an attempt to increase profits, all at
the expense of the dedicated maintenance
workers and their families. The strikers are
fighting a massive pay cut, layoffs for more
than half the unit's workforce, reduced
sick pay, reduced vacation and holidays,
increased health care costs, pension freez-

es and increased outsourcing to nonunion
shops. The union has even agreed to a 16-
percent pay cut, which management refuses
to accept. Who has ever heard of workers
going on strike for a pay cut?
Although Northwest cancelled 25 percent
of its flights on the first day of the strike, the
Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association,
which represents the mechanics, has a long
journey ahead. Northwest Airlines spent
more than $100 million on preparations for
the strike, 16 months ahead of time, even
though it is demanding $176 million from
the union. This crisis has clearly been man-
ufactured in an attempt to break the union.
Due to the post-Sept. 11 state of the airline
industry, all airline unions alike have suf-
fered from cuts in wages, benefits, pensions,
etc. Northwest, in particular, has outsourced
most of its maintenance crew - it brought in
about 1,400 scabs to complete maintenance
work immediately after the strike began.
The replacement of dedicated and well-
trained maintenance workers is not only
unethical but dangerous. Northwest has
hired replacement workers - scabs - who
do not all have airline mechanic certifica-
tions. Unlike airline mechanics, these new
scabs are not required to take tests for drug

and alcohol use and - because they have
only rudimentary training - are not even
legally permitted to certify their own main-
tenance work. Does this seem like a problem
to you? Would you board a plane knowing
that the men in control of your safety may
not even be qualified? I wouldn't. Addition-
ally, in the wake of Northwest's dangerous
decision, there have been reported incidents
where Northwest flights have made emer-
gency landings due to mechanical problems.
The use of nonunion, uncertified labor for
airline maintenance has drastically reduced
passenger safety.
Many University students must rely on
commercial airlines to go home for the hol-
idays and for special occasions. Many of us
are frequent flyers, and we want to be safe.
In light of our concerns for passenger safety
and the struggle of the workers at Northwest
Airlines, the Michigan Student Assembly's
Peace and Justice Commission urges stu-
dents not to fly Northwest Airlines.
Ramos is an LSA sophomore and
member of the Peace and Justice
Commission of the Michigan Student
Assembly. His opinion reflects the official
position of the commission.

0
0
0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Transitive property belongs
on Math 105 syllabus, not
in The Michigan Daily
TO THE DAILY:
Ian Herbert was completely off base in
his column, According to the math, Varsity
may be in a bit of trouble (10/10/2005). Using
the "transitive property of football," as he
calls it, Herbert argues that the Michigan
football team will lose all of its remaining
games. I ask how the "transitive property
of football" exolains the first month of the

Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas). While the
Big Ten Championship is all but gone, the
season can still be salvaged - starting
with a victory this Saturday against an 8th-
ranked Penn State team and ending with a
win over Ohio State. GO BLUE!
Eric Farkas
LSA senior
What will it take for Lloyd
Carr to lose his position?
TO THE DAILY:

before Oct. 13. Also under Carr, we had the
worst defense ever, statistically speaking, in
2004. Also in 2001, Carr led us to such great
feats as most offense ever allowed (against
Northwestern) and second most offense ever
allowed (against Purdue). Oh yeah, not only
that, but we lost against Wisconsin's Barry
Alvarez, who had never previously beaten us
as a coach. This is the first time that Minnesota
has seen the Little Brown Jug, in ... 19 years?
Now let's look at what happened Saturday:
Carr called a time out on second-and-five. Why
do you call a time out on second-and-five? I'm
sure that Minnesota would have been content

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns,
John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg,
Eric Jackson, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Will Kerridge,
n l-11 1 .---a( « _ l_ a _.....11 TN- 1 T2..- - Q -

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