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November 10, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-10

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 10, 2005

OPINION

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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
Some of y'all
just plain crazy.
- Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick,
chiding doubters during his Tuesday night
victory speech at the Rennaissance Center, as
reported yesterday by the Detroit Free Press.

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ALEXANDER HONKALA T r" - ) i-, C , Mvt f;K ;T

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Some things never end
ERIC JACKSON LET REVIEW THE FACTs
W hen I was A similar letter from the Latina/o Studies impossible. There will always been a niche,
research- and Native American Studies contained a however small, in which even heinous and
ing the nearly identical phrase. widely discredited ideas can gain currency
column I wrote four It bothers me that a well-educated group and support.
weeks ago (Combating of individuals would make such an unreal- In the end, statements like those made
discrimination effec- istic request. I am certainly not the first to by the APIA do not trouble me simply
tively, 10/27/2005), I say this, but racism and ethnic discrimina- because I believe they are factually inaccu-
searched through the tion surely fall into the category of human rate. Although, that is no small part of it. In
online archives of the problems that cannot ever be solved, along- fact, on the face of it is probably one of the
Daily to find any old side other familiar opponents like terror- least abrasive factual inaccuracies I could
news stories covering ism. I suppose that this position could be dream up, right up there with telling kids
racism and discrimi- called defeatist, but I think realistic is a bet- that Santa Claus really exists. The rub, of
nation on campus. I found a fair number. A ter label. course, is finding out that neither of these
few examples: racial slurs scrawled on the A large part of what makes racism intrac- statements is true.
Diag in early 2002 (Racist message left in chalk table is related to something called niche So what happens two or three years later,
on Diag, 03/19/2002), a Jewish student alleg- exploitation, a term that will be familiar to when, as inevitably as death and taxes, anoth-
edly assaulted at a bowling alley because ecologists and business/economics students. er race/ethnicity/religion/gender-motivated
of his faith in mid-2003 (Student: attack Within any given landscape (whether it be incident occurs? If individuals and organiza-
motivated by anti-Semitism, 05/27/2003) and a forest or the Internet), there are a million tions continue to make bold and unrealistic
plenty of Crime Notes about discriminatory possible ways that an agent in that environ- statements about ending discrimination, the
messages on chalk boards. ment can survive. One of the best ways is to same energy that was wasted in September
The chain of events surrounding the 2002 carve out a specific niche for yourself, a spe- wondering how such events could transpire
incident mimicked those following the cialized little area of that landscape that you will be squandered yet again.
alleged misconduct toward a pair of Asian enter because of its low competition and/or The redeeming factor in this entire discus-
students on South Forest this past Septem- abundant resources. In both business and eco- sion is that whether impassioned statements
ber. A discriminatory incident sparked logical landscapes, the number of available are made calling for the end of discrimina-
broad campus media coverage, a fair num- niches is enormous, and as a result there are tion or, more realistically, the reduction of
ber of people expressed surprise that "these millions of different companies and organ- discrimination, the actions that result are
kinds of incidents" can happen on a campus isms, each appealing to their own particular. largely similar. Awareness about intolerance
that values diversity and groups rallied to facet of the landscape. is generally raised (if only for a little while),
make strong statements about preventing or Ideologies (from racism to pacifism and and in the short-term, additional discrimina-
ending racism and discrimination. everything in between) occupy a similar land- tory actions are probably prevented. Both of
Take the following comment from an scape, and compete for resources in much the these causes would be bolstered, however,
open letter by faculty of the Asian/Pacific same way. Some have broad appeal and occu- by redirecting the effort spent foolishly but-
Islander American: "We call on the univer- py a lot of the landscape, while others are tressing the false notion that racial and ethnic
sity leadership ... to marshal the necessary very small and localized. Ideologies shift in intolerance can ever be eradicated.
resources to ensure that the wider university both their size and location over time, but due
community can collaborate collectively to to the sheer magnitude of the landscape, the Jackson can be reached at
end such race-based bias and intimidation." total eradication of any ideology is virtually edjacks@umich.edu.
VIEWPOINT
The unbearable whiteness of V-Day
BY EMILY SQUIREs year, they aspire to create a show with a cast to reclaim agency and voice for women of color
of women of color. Many white women are within a movement that usually settles for tokeni-
For those of you who missed or ignored the immediately crying out that we are excluded, zation (I, for one, am tired of seeing a woman of
'70s Second Wave Feminism, allow me to fill that we are silenced, that we have no role. For color only performing "My Angry Vagina," and
you in briefly. I'm not exaggerating history the white women out there that are upset, I not just because my white vagina can be pissed
when I say that the movement was run by white, would like to outline a few reasons why I, as off as well.)
middle-class, heterosexual women; their poli- a white woman, I support the vision of this Despite the marginalization of women of color
tics were steeped in privilege. Although really year's V-Day organizers. in the theory and practice of feminism, leaders
well meaning and passionate, my mom and her I am disturbed by the hypocrisy lacing on this campus are still willing to engage with
friends didn't do such a great job of making these accusations of exclusion. I hear white the V-Day feminist movement; for this, white
space - either literally or politically - for women ask, "How will I be able to identify women should be grateful. Some of our most
those who knew different experiences of what with the performers if all of them are women brilliant and vocal feminist leaders are women
it meant to be a woman in the United States. If of color?" And yet, women of color are of color. "Colorblind" feminism asks women of
you look around our campus, it feels like not expected to identify with white women as the color to choose between being women and being
much has changed. Most student groups that predominant representation of womanhood of color. We can never ask this. We should instead
work with broadly defined "women's issues" every day. Recognizing and taking respon- be asking ourselves why we would so badly like
are as white as those mythic consciousness- sibility for the invisibility and privilege of to be women without color.
raising groups. our whiteness is hard, and I know as well as I also want to make it clear that white women
And then there is V-Day. Organized around any other white person that it can be painful. are NOT excluded. V-Day is not just the pro-
Eve Ensler's popular "The Vagina Monologues," However, as white women, it's crucial that duction that everyone buys a ticket for and goes
the V-Day College Campaign is a "global move- we struggle through our initial reactions and to see; it is a week-long series of activities that
ment to stop violence against women and girls" honestly examine the entitlement we've had address violence against women. Anyone who
that allows students free access to the play's script in "The Vagina Monologues." Asking white has ever done any organizing knows that every
if they commit to raising awareness and money women to explore women's issues through an visible high-profile event is supported by cru-
through productions of "The Vagina Mono- all-women-of-color cast will force us to listen cial behind-the-scenes commitment. There is
logues." On our campus, the V-Day movement to the monologues and engage with feminism no shortage of work to do in order to make V-
has been just as predominantly white - I'm talk- in ways we haven't done before. Day happen.
ing about the organizers, cast, community and Furthermore, this year's goal isn't just about On the V-Day website, Ensler asks that stu-
audience - as any other feminist agenda within reversing the paradigm. Within the larger con- dents organizing productions "strive for diver-
the last 30 years. I like to think of V-Day as Sec- text of U.S. feminism, producing a show with an sity" within their casting. Striving isn't good
ond Wave feminism for the 21st century. all-women-of-color cast is as political as it is per- enough anymore. This year's production team
This year, I hope it will be different. The sonal. I'm not even going to get into the statistics is demanding change. It's about time.
student directors and producers of "The Vagi- that demonstrate that communities of color are
na Monologues" are trying to confront the far more vulnerable to violence than their white Squires is an Art and Design senior and a
deeply rooted whitewashing of V-Day. This counterparts. This year represents a challenge former producer of "The Vagina Monologues."
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Despite protests, the real
problem goes beyond Coke
TO THE DAILY:
Ambrose Bierce wrote, "Corporation, n., An
ingenious device for obtaining profit without
individual responsibility." Social activists have
often targeted corporations when assigning blame
for the ills of the world. The current anti-Coke
campaign is a prominent example. While abuses

India has an incredibly stressed water system, with
more than 80 percent of available water being con-
sumed. Its water problems are not caused by Coke;
Coke's footprint is just another symptom.
Contrary to what an optimist might hope,
a corporation exists to generate profits. With
few exceptions (which are usually market-
ing related), a corporation will take whatever
steps it can legally take to maximize profits. It
is naive to hope that a few protests and web-
sites will stop this sort of behavior. Even if
(-nrP hnna~oit- , nrnititc- -h ic old he

balization is a reality and the opening of trade
won't always have immediately positive effects.
Nobody is forced to work for Coke and nobody
has to allow it to build plants, but for many people,
it is a better alternative than the jobs otherwise
available (or not available). If a tangible difference
is to be made, it must come from the leadership of
other countries, as well as the U.S. government.
Eliminating delicious beverages from our resi-
dence hall cafeterias will not be sufficient.
Sean Germaine
LSA senior

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, John Davis, Whitney Dibo,
Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Eric Jackson, Ashwin Jagannathan,
Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Kirsty McNamara Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt
Rose, David Russell, Brian Slade, John Stiglich, Imran Syed, Ben Taylor

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