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December 01, 2005 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-12-01

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 1, 2005

OPINION

ctbe A9lkbtiguu 3 i1dl

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
See, it's one
thing to add agents,
but if you look at
hthe size of this
border, you can't,
add enough agents."
- President Bush, explaining the need
for a fleet of unmanned flying drones
to patrol the US-Mexican border, as
reported yesterday by Reuters.

John
and Jane
Doe

Two anonymous University of Pennsylva-
nia students rock the boat in a dorm room
- clearly worthy of praise.
They did it with their window open. Now
they're on the Internet and NBC. Sure you
have to finish before the roomate returns,
but take a second to draw the curtains.

THE THUMBS HAVE IT

4
I

John and
Jane Doe
(again)

Sam
Butler

Four years and no near
you, Sammy.

boycotts. We miss

Support this year's 'Vagina Monologues'
JEFF CRAVENS JAYHAWK BLUES

T he decision
to focus this
year's "Vagi-
na Monologues" on
women of color has
upset a lot of people.
They have said that
this year's production
is betraying the inten-
tion of the play, that
it is drawing a line in
the sand, that it will segregate and divide
women. Absent from this debate, how-
ever, has been input from the directors of
this year's show. After interviewing Molly
Raynor, one of the directors, I gained some
valuable insight that has solidified my sup-
port for this year's production.
First, Raynor told me that the main focus
of the play is still ending violence against
women; this year's production, however, is
going to put a special spotlight on women
of color. The goal is not to exclude white
women, as many people have claimed.
Raynor offered this definition of women
of color: "any woman that feels she comes
from a historically oppressed or underrep-
resented community who feels that oppres-
sion in a tangible way on a daily basis." Far
from sticking to skin tone, this definition
expands the traditional views of race, class
and color. The casting process is still under-
way, but Raynor told me that 59 women of
color have auditioned for the play.
One of the reasons for all the controversy
surrounding the play is that the directors
haven't made a public appearance yet, Raynor

said. Some people think that the directors'
decision was random or irrational, but in fact
it was based on a background in feminist
history and theory on women of color. I can
back Raynor up on this. Last winter, I took
a class with her on black women's captivity
and sexuality. In the class, we learned about
the unique challenges facing black women,
largely stemming from a history of oppres-
sion and exploitation. Other than this class,
I don't know the background of the play's
directors and producers, but I'm confident
they have good reasons to spotlight women
of color this year.
In order to better inform people on these
issues, the producers and the directors are
teaming up with four University professors
to stage a teach-in next week. They will pro-
vide some background information, but there
will also be an open dialogue for individu-
als to express their opinions and concerns.
The time and location has not been set, but
Raynor said this information would be cir-
culated on e-mail lists.
Before learning about this teach-in, one
of my classmates scheduled a similar group
dialogue on Friday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. in
Room 2239 A and B of Lane Hall. The plan-
ning of this dialogue resulted from a class
discussion in which students disagreed on
whether this year's production will unite or
divide women. What we seemed to agree on
was that we had the opportunity to make
this year's "Vagina Monologues" a unify-
ing event. The event is not just about who's
on stage - it's also about the people who
put the show on and the people who come to

support it. In short, it's a community effort.
Even if we were not women of color - or
even women - we could support the show
and stand in solidarity with all women.
The fact that half of the directors and
producers of the play are white reaffirms
this point. White women and men have a
huge role in this year's event, as well as
the underlying struggle to promote wom-
en's rights and end violence against them,
Raynor said. If individuals are angry about
this year's production, they should try to
understand that anger. If white women are
feeling excluded, they should ask them-
selves why they are feeling that way. If they
truly believe in what "The Vagina Mono-
logues" stands for, they should invest their
anger in the movement.
After speaking to Raynor, I became
convinced that women and men of all
backgrounds should support this year's pro-
duction. Along with attending the show,
everyone should come to the teach-in and the
dialogue next week, especially those people
who have written articles, columns and let-
ters to the Daily. These people, including
myself, have already taken a public stake in
this issue, and may have inadvertently wid-
ened the divisions we hope to bridge. In the
end, the outcome of this year's productions
will not rely on the creators of the show or
the individuals on stage - it will rely on
those of us who choose to stand in solidarity
with them.

a
40

Cravens can be reached
at jjcrave@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Safety threats warrant
attention, more security
To THE DAILY:
I never thought I'd feel compelled to walk home
clutching my laptop so close to my chest, but then
again, I never imagined that one of my friends
would be mugged outside my house. Ann Arbor
has always struck me as a safe college town. How-
ever, I am frequently hearing about more dan-
gerous incidents. I've always heard stories about
people who were robbed or assaulted, but they
never quite hit home.
In recent months, I've heard multiple stories
from friends about dangerous incidents on campus.
One friend ran from a man trying to assault her
on Oxford Road, another fled after being mugged
on Washtenaw Avenue. This year I notice myself
walking a bit faster in the evenings down South
University Avenue. Jokingly, we've incorporated
a buddy system for late-night library goers, but
the issue remains a serious one. Just last night, a
homeless man grabbed two guys walking home in
front of me, demanding money. The incidents are
moving closer to home.
My point is not to rant about the dangers of the
city, but to provide some sort of warning. Many of
the people I've talked with have not reported their
incidents to the Department of Public Safety or the
Ann Arbor Police Department. If these incidents
are occurring, it is important the police are aware
so that they can be attentive to the problem. There
are two main streets surrounding campus. If I

walk home from the library, I'd like to see some
sort of protection. I've walked past men looking
into cars in my house parking lot, people shouting
profanities and I'm worried things may get worse.
For those of you who haven't browsed through
the 38-page brochure on campus security, there
are several ways to make the walk home safer.
Realistically, I'm unsure of how many people
take advantage of the opportunities the campus
offers. However, it may be time to take a closer
look into security options. Campus Security offers
S.A.FE Walk, a campus accompaniment service
designed so students do not have to walk alone
at night. It also offers Emergency Ride Home, a
free ride home 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
However, you may only use this ride six times a
year. Ride Home, a service where students can
share a free taxi home, is offered from the Shapiro
Library and the Duderstadt Center. The brochure
fails to mention that Ride Home does not begin
until 2 a.m.
There are blue light phones at several building
locations, though few on the two principle cam-
pus roads; on State Street, there is only one at the
Union, and on South University, once you walk
past the School of Social Work, you're on your
own. Unfortunately, the problems my friends and
I have run into are further along South University
Avenue.
The number of forced rapes and aggravated
assaults on campus have increased during the past
couple years. It is important to take proper safety
measures to prevent such crimes. People are buy-
ing mace and locking their doors more frequently

for good reason. Safety in Ann Arbor is not guar-
anteed.
Laurie Segall
LSA sophomore 0

LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes
letters from all of its readers. Letters from
University students, faculty, staff and
administrators will be given priority over
others. Letters should include the writer's
name, college and school year or other Uni-
versity affiliation. The Daily will not print
any letter containing statements that can-
not be verified.
Letters should be kept to approxi-
mately 300 words. The Michigan Daily
reserves the right to edit for length, clarity
and accuracy. Longer "viewpoints" may be
arranged with an editor. Letters will be run
according to order received and the amount
of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
tothedaily@michigandaily.com or mailed to the
Daily at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached
via e-mail at edit page .editors umich.edu. Letters
e-mailed to the Daily will be given priority over
those dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
Postal Service.

0

0

CARTOON TO THE EDITOR

Cartoon misinformed, new
cartoon more accurate
To THE DAILY:
I could write about how the cartoon on Nov.
28 (The Bean Archives) was from an uneducated
and misinformed viewpoint about affirmative
action. I could write about how because I am
black and female, I will still earn less than the
average white male who only has an high school
degree after I graduate from this prestigious
institution. I could write about how in a class full
of people who look nothing like me when I ask a
question I have to worry about being seen as the
dumb black girl who doesn't deserve to be here

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Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle D'Angelo, John Davis,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashwin
Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Manley, Kirsty McNa-
mara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Katherine Seid, Brian Slade, John Stiglich,

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