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October 28, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 28,'2005

OPINION

Clbe #ibigrn I Q a~l

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
In a month, who
will remember the
name of Harriet
Miers?"
- Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), on Miers's with-
drawal as a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, as
reported yesterday by the Associated Press.

MICH ELLE B IEN .-m BEAN A R~c~i E S >
/z
Li4
c~ H jWHAT D ES$ THIS T ICKERMEAN? TTOh#TI1

Michigan needs tech skills
Higher ed funding should target state's goals

'That girl is such a JAP'
WHITNEY DIBO ENTER STACE LEFT
T he speaker's stereotype from the religion itself - if Xerox Judaism's social labels than its actual history.
voiceresonates can mean copy, then it's not hard to see how Why read the Torah when you can get the cliff
with a natural JAP can mean Jewish. I hear the phrase more notes? The actual religion is being lost behind
blend of familiarity and more lately; it is picking up steam - and this cloud of physical and social stereotypes.
and animosity typical I can feel it bulldozing over the true meaning The loss here is two-fold. For students whohave
of this casual observa- of Judaism. not had much interaction with Jews before com-
tion. Her friends peer For people fortunate enough to be unfamiliar ing to the University, they lose incentive to learn
down State Street with the term, JAP it is an acronym for Jewish more. Why dig deeper when the religion is neatly
at the girl's soror- American Princess - a term associated with boxed in a tangible stereotype? And on a larger
ity sweat pants, UGG affluence, homogeneity and exclusivity. The scale, we are doing a disservice to our religion by
boots and straight word predates black yoga pants and straighten- passively allowing JAP to epitomize Judaism on
brown hair. They all ing irons. It has its roots in early immigration, campus. I remember back in high school when
nod in agreement. "There are so many JAPs as Jews found new purchasing power in their it gradually became offensive to use the phrase
on this campus," one chimes in. She empha- adopted country. Who better to show their par- "That's so gay." The gay/straight alliance took
sizes the consonants, making the word sound ents how to spend money in this strange new the initiative to actively reject the phrase - and
slightly harsher. land than their rapidly assimilating daughters? while it took time, the student body eventually
I tend to shrug off the JAP reference, but This trend gave rise to a distinctly negative caught on. Peeling away labels and offensive lan-
this day the label reverberates off the pave- nickname - one synonymous with material- guage ingrained in American culture is not easy,
ment and sticks to me with an uncomfortable ism, entitlement and superficiality. but we are all better for trying.
sting. But I don't have time to dwell on it. I am The stereotype originated during an era What if we as Jewish women decided that
rushing back to my apartment, trying to catch when no matter how smart or ambitious women Judaism is too rich in tradition and culture to
a plane home for Yom Kippur. It is the Jewish were, they were sill considered dependent. be ensconced in a superficial cultural label?
Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jew- JAP does not describe the headstrong Jewish What if we educated people on what it means
ish calendar. women I know exist on campus. The term cen- to be Jewish instead of perpetuating a stereo-
Trying to beat the sundown - the tradi- ters on deprecating sexism - but despite its type? This does not mean dressing differently
tional end to any Jewish holiday, I squeeze into detrimental overtones, very few people in the or hanging out at a different bar. It means stop-
my middle seat on Northwest Airlines. I see a Jewish community object to its use. It's a con- ping our own perpetuation of the JAP jargon,
few other girls I know to be Jewish board the ventional part of campus vernacular - Jewish and in turn the non-Jewish community will
plane and maneuver their bags into the crowd- girls call each other JA PS, bars and restaurants likely follow suit. We can set a standard that
ed overhead bins and start to wonder - are we are tagged as "JAPpy" - we continue to insti- JAP is not an acceptable description of Jewish
the JAPs? I am a Jewish girl from the north tutionalize its use and diminish our own iden- woman and just in being open about it we can
suburbs of Chicago - does the term apply to tities. The term is used so liberally it has lost start to debunk the stereotype.
me? And what does it mean that this stereo- the harshness of an ethnic slur. JAP is really no different than all other
type has persisted so strongly on campus, even The Jewish calendar now reads 5766. It is ethnic labels. They all serve the same pur-
in this era of hyper political correctness? one of the oldest, most influential religions in pose: to mask the individual. And this, I
As we take off, I have an unsettling feel- the world. To me, Judaism is about the value assure you, is everyone's loss.
ing that this label is chipping away at the per- of family, the importance of charity and the
ception of Judaism on campus more than we beauty of ancient tradition. Unfortunately, Dibo can be reached at
readily admit. We need to separate this social many people on campus are better versed on wdibo@umich.edu.
Doha: stuck in the middle
BRIAN SLADE GLOBAL CURRENTS
W ith the start been a cornerstone in geopolitics. Imag- highlights the more fundamental problem
of another ine the power that a country can wield by of sovereignty of member nations that may
meeting holding food as its bargaining chip. Look at continue to plague the European Union.
of the World Trade what Saudi Arabia gets away with for being Dismantling the CAP and trade barriers
Organization's Doha America's gas station. to agricultural goods will inevitably affect
round slightly more According to some studies, the European some EU nations more than others. This ten-
than a month away, Union provides an average of $17,000 to its sion manifested itself this week in a clash
drama is building. The farmers, while the United States doles out between France and EU Trade Commis-
trade round that began $16,000 to its growers. In fact, European sioner Peter Mandelson. France claims that
in 2001 with the goal subsidies are so large that Europe's Common Mandelson exceeded his mandate at the
of opening the world's Agricultural Policy rivals the GDP of Spain. negotiating table by offering 70-percent sub-
agriculture and manu- Worldwide, subsidies are greater than four sidy cuts, up 5 percent from the figure the
facturing markets is in what many observers times as much as foreign aid to poor countries. European Union agreed upon. In response
call its most critical stage. Negotiators from Some individual farm animals in Western to the U.S. offer, Mandelson made clear his
the European Union, the United States, Brazil, countries make more money from subsidies broad interpretation of his mandate. While
India and Australia met in Geneva this week in than do people in sub-Saharan Africa. Poli- addressing ministers recently, he expressed
an attempt to build a framework for the minis- cymakers claim that the subsidies produce his strategy "to be pro-jobs in Europe and to
terial summit in Hong Kong slated for Decem- huge surpluses of grain that is sold cheaply to be pro-poor in the world."
ber. The stumbling block so far, though, has developing countries. But that's like selling oil Indeed, these two goals may not be contra-
been the controversial issue of agricultural "cheaply" to the Middle East. Farming is the dictory. In return for an opening of agricultural
protection. Farm subsidies and tariffs artifi- most basic of human industries, and the global markets in developed countries, poor countries
cially increase the world price of farm goods South is interested in moving beyond farming, would open their markets in the service indus-
and make it difficult for the poorer countries to as developed countries did a few centuries ago try, allowing for greater imports from rich coun-
compete in the global market. An offer from during the industrial revolution. Third-World tries. Thus, there is a strong push from Europe's
the U.S. delegation to increase its cuts of sub- farmers want the opportunity to compete with service sector to gain access to these markets.
sidies and tariffs has so far gone unanswered First-World farmers in a fair arena. Free trade negotiations are in many ways simi-
by an increasingly divided Europe. During earlier ministerial meetings of the lar to arms control talks. Convincing everyone
Though the WTO and its predecessor, the Doha round, the United States and the Euro- to give up their weapons is difficult, but the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, pean Union agreed to lower their subsidies, world becomes a much better place once every-
have helped to foster one of the most expan- but have so far been reluctant to agree on con- body begins cooperating. It is past time for the
sive periods of world trade, agricultural crete numbers. Europe fears losing its status developed world to dismantle their inefficient
subsidies remain one of the last major hold- as an agricultural powerhouse, even though and harmful agricultural protections. However,
outs to free trade. As long as governments the proportion of farmers in Europe has the longer Mandelson is caught between the
feel that feeding their populations is a high greatly lessened during the past century due powerful farm lobby and his broader goals for
priority, they fear exposing their farmers to increased productivity. In both the United trade policy, the harder it becomes to envision a
to competition with cheaper goods on the States and Europe, large tracts of farmland successful end to Doha.
world market. Food is the ultimate strategic have consolidated into the hands of a very
resource (yes, even more than oil), and the few exceedingly wealthy farmers. Slade can be reached at
ability of a nation to feed itself has always This dispute over agricultural policy also bslade@umich.edu.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

a
6

The Daily's editorial board and
I have long been firm believers
in the idea that higher education
holds the key to Michigan's economic
success. It is for this very reason that I
am dissenting against last week's editori-
al, Reinventing Michigan (10/24/2005).
The editorial contains, in my opinion,
numerous inconsistencies that contradict
and undermine the Daily's own stance
on the economic importance of higher
education. To be fair, it raised a number
of good points. Unfortunately, it argued
that the state should only give general
funding to the University - that it should
not earmark additional funding for tech
departments.
The main argument put forward was
that investing in a liberal arts education
is equally as important as investing in
technological fields. The Daily argued
against the state directing a portion of
its higher education funding toward
universities' technological departments
because "while many of today's well-
paid jobs are in scientific and techno-
logical fields, the intangible benefits
of a strong liberal arts program cannot
be discounted." This argument already
starts to fall apart when you consider
that the same editorial supported former
University President James Duderstadt's
recommendations in his report, "A road-
map to Michigan's future." This was the
same report that also emphasized that
the state's manufacturing-based econ-
omy should be overhauled into a more
technological and knowledge-based one
- an economy in which the majority of
new jobs would be in the information
technology and engineering sectors. The
report suggests raising higher education
funding by 30 percent to achieve these
goals. Unfortunately, given the sorry
state of Michigan's economy and financ-
es, this is not a practical idea.
Eventhose who agreewithDuderstadt's
report, such as K-16 Coalition spokes-
person Ken MacGregor, acknowledge
this; the coalition is presently lobbying
for a ballot initiative to increase higher

education funding by only a fraction of
Duderstadt's recommendation. Until the
state gets out of its financial rut and is
capable of significantly increasing high-
er education funding, the only practical
way to' realize Duderstadt's recommen-
dation of building a technology-based
economy is through earmarked funding
for departments that can help make this
goal a reality.
The Daily's editorial board suggested
that Michigan should emulate Massa-
chusetts and California. These states
have thriving tech-based economies that
are fueled by the research done in the
nation's finest engineering universities.
These economies are successful, to a
large degree, because of the cutting edge
research done at, and the skilled gradu-
ates produced by, the universities' tech
departments. If Michigan is to emulate
these states, it would have to do so by
upgrading the quality of the technologi-
cal programs offered at the University. I
am not suggesting that the state should
neglect the University's liberal arts pro-
gram. The state has a responsibility to
fund the University sufficiently so as to
at least maintain the present quality of
its liberal arts program. However, if the
state would like to further invest in higher
education through the University's tech
departments, it should be allowed - and
even encouraged - to do so.
In an ideal world, the state's finances
would be healthy enough for it to increase
higher education funding across the
board. Unfortunately, we are not living in
an ideal world - one can hardly blame
lawmakers for not being able to increase
higher education funding by 30 percent
and balance the budget at the same time.
Given the state's bleak finances, the best
option available to the state may be to
invest specifically in the programs that
can help to transform Michigan's econo-
my into one based on technology.
Rajiv Prabhakar is an engineering sopho-
more. Reach him at rajivp@umich.edu.

6

Civil rights advocates
lacked civility on Diag
TO THE DAILY:
Affirmative action is one of the major
hot topics concerning students in the state
of Michigan due to the proposed Michigan
Civil Rights Initiative that may be included

don't believe that race-based affirmativel
action reaches all disadvantaged individu-1
als, I moved toward the group protestingj
race-based affirmative action.I
I did not attend the speech in affiliation
with any group, and I was not holding a
sign. However, because I was in the group
protesting affirmative action, I was assault-
ed verbally and physically. Members toting

Movement are not all that old. While I
believe that the nation has made some prog-
ress toward eliminating racism, I believe
that it will take many more generations to
eradicate this problem. Yet I believe that
using race as the basis for affirmative action
emphasizes the idea that individuals are dis-
advantaged only for the color of their skin
and, in my opinion, does not promote prog-

"In Dissent" opinions do not reflect the views of the Daily's editorial board. They
are solely the views of the author.

L

,J

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