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February 14, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 14, 2006

OPINION

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DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

ASHLEY DINGES
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
44 I would shoot
with Dick Cheney
everywhere,
anywhere, and
not think twice
about it."
- Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns
the ranch where Vice President Dick Cheney
accidentally shot a 78-year-old Texas lawyer on
Saturday, defending Cheney as a "very conscien-
tious hunter," as reported yesterday by CNN.com.

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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

11- JT

The dialogue of dating
DAVID BETTS PONTIIFICATIONS

01

I'm sure the real
world does this
too, but people
at the University go
a little crazy around
Valentine's Day.
There are flowers for
sale and speed-dating
events and date auc-
tions and something
called the Kappa tuck-
ins for all the ladies who want the honor
of doing whatever the hell happens when
Kappa Alpha Psi tucks them in. There are
"The Vagina Monologues" and "Yoni Ki
Baat: South Asian Vaginas Speak" and the
poetry slam that features the Penis Mono-
logues. And, as always, there is a favorite
pastime of the University community: dia-
logue. I think there have been and will be
as many events in the two weeks surround-
ing Valentine's Day as there will be drunk
people skipping class on St. Patrick's Day.
I can't criticize the hysteria too much.
I did get a date with my first choice in a
speed-dating event last Friday, and I can
only hope she's as intrigued as I am. But
I can say that I will never again partici-
pate in a discussion about relationships and
expect to gain something from it. (Unless,
of course, that something is the phone num-
ber of the best-looking girl in the room, but
that's beside the point.)
Relationship conversations are just some-
thing single people do to pass time. What

do women really want? Do men really
think about sex that much? Why are girls
orguys at the University so stuck-up? Sadly
enough, during my four years at this uni-
versity, I've been involved in my fair share
of these discussions. Usually, I end up get-
ting sucked into representing men at large,
which is something I should not do. I can
only speak for myself.
Last week, I attended a dialogue on inter-
racial dating, which is like a normal con-
versation about relationships except a little
more venomous. Race and gender issues are
combustible enough on their own; imagine
what happens when the two are mixed. I
didn't expect to learn much from the dis-
cussion and I didn't.
Why don't I expect to gain anything from
an interracial dating dialogue? Well, because
I already have my dating preferences and
barring an unparalleled societal shift, they
will stay the same. I'm not alone in this sen-
timent. Because of various social forces, I'm
more likely to date black women than those
of any other race, ethnicity or whatever
other category there is, unless someone else
is compelling enough for me to put up with
the hell I'll catch for being with her. That's
an open-minded, yet realistic perspective.
What more can the world ask for?
Eventually the conversation turned into
a small-scale shouting match. Women in
the room got increasingly heated over male
behavior. I completely ignored the people
who had already raised their hands to com-

ment so I could make my points and coun-
terpoints immediately. Women of color, the
majority of the crowd in the room, started
attacking - with some justification - the
overwhelmingly white standards of beauty
in the country. I decided that the few white
women in the crowd shouldn't be alienated
and said, "If a woman is good-looking, a
woman is good-looking regardless of color."
That's tantamount to saying "I like white
women," which for a black man in front of
mostly black women is tantamount to saying
"I'm a white-woman-loving traitor." People
were starting to get angry. It was kind of fun
- just not very productive. Just imagine if
we'd thrown issues of sexuality in there, too.
The moral of the story is that I like who
I like, and if you don't like it, you can kick
rocks. Assuming you make an effort to get
to know individuals, and not just stereo-
types of people, you should feel the same
way about your relationship preferences. If
I can leave you with one piece of advice on
this holiday - which is nothing more than
a red and pink, lace-veiled, economic stim-
ulant - it is this: Don't listen to all of the
crap that other people tell you about women,
or men, or black people, or white people or
Asian people - get to know individuals. If
you do that, then you are justified in shar-
ing my disdain for generic relationship con-
versations.
Betts can be reached
at djmbetts@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Send all letters to the editor to
tothedaily@michigandaily. com.

Love, not English, will
unify Michigan's residents
TO THE DAILY:
Contrary to Rep. Jack Hoogendyk's (R-
Kalamazoo) views, I don't see making Eng-
lish the official language of Michigan as a
unifying measure, but rather as encourag-
ing separation.
Instead, how about considering making
love our state's official language? When our
governmental officials meet, we could hold
them accountable to use that language.
Who knows what miracles could occur?
Now that I would find unifying, not only
for our state, but our country and world.
Come on, Michigan - we can be the light
house that shows others how to use lan-
guage that unifies.
Mary Hayhoe
In fact, campus should not
relax over uwireless Internet
TO THE DAILY:
Hans Kuder's sarcastic remark that "the sky
is falling" in a letter to the editor yesterday
(Campus should relax over wireless Internet
issues, 02/13/2006) attempted to shield the
administration from its failures to provide
wireless. Yet Kuder fails to understand the
importance of a global education and how
the University fails to provide one. From my
wireless connection at the American Uni-
versity in Cairo in developing Egypt, I have
concluded that the sky - the world and its
changing needs - is indeed collapsing on
the University. Since starting my classes in
Cairo, I have harshly learned the Univer-
sity failed to provide me with the tools to
understand emerging international studies.
like globalization, international relations
and political economy.
The University trumpets a "leaders and
the best" mantra, yet in international stud-
ies, the University can't even be compared
with its peer institutions. The University of
Michigan is the only Big Ten university that
does not offer an IR program. Northwest-
ern University, the school where the highest
number of students who are accepted here
but choose not to attend Michigan matricu-
late, maintains an outstanding IR program
that caters to any concentration, regard-
,no _ f n ,lla m Whil . t a :_.i :.rity ..nd

founded the International Relations focus
group under LSA Student Government in
September 2004. This focus group was
responsible for lobbying the University to
create an IR program. In December 2004,
my group presented the Executive Com-
mittee with findings indicating the Univer-
sity had been completely left behind by its
peer institutions in IR. We provided a list
of courses which could be integrated into
multiple IR minors and suggested two core
IR classes be included with the minors. It
is now February 2006, and only last month
did the curriculum committee approve an
international studies minor, which may be
available in Fall 2006. This is too little, too
late!
The University's failure to stay cur-
rent with new studies of the world should
be attributed to the administration and its
financial priorities. When universities.and
random hookah bars in the developing
world provide better ways to access infor-
mation than a top American public institu-
tion, it becomes obvious that the University
has fallen behind. U.S. News and World
Report, are you listening?
Stuart Wagner
LSA junior
Wagner is a former LSA-SG and MSA
representative who is studying in Cairo.
A blog post does not a
legitimate source make
TO THE DAILY:
While it is true that a blog is public and may
be accessible to anyone willing to retrieve the
information, it still does not make it right to
use this source of information as the base for
the main ideas of an article. Almost any Uni-
versity student can speak about "credible"
sources, meaning first-hand information that
reports fact and not merely thought or opin-
ion. How likely is it for a student to submit
any type of paper using a blog as a source?
Also, to address the letter writer's claim
that the Daily did indeed include positives
regarding Moffett's stint as vice president
of the campus NAACP (Everyone, including
Daily, can read a public blog, 02/09/2006),
nowhere in the article (Amid controversy,
NAACP VP resigns, 01/30/2006) does it
speak about her actual actions; it merely
makes mention of her frequent attendance at
cn-rifi. Pv..t

Students vulnerable to
crime, even in Ann Arbor
TO THE DAILY:
On Feb. 8, The Ann Arbor News printed a
story about a violent assault. A University nurs-
ing student was walking to his car from Taub-
man Library. The student was approached by
an assailant who asked him the time and then
struck him multiple times with a socket wrench.
The student's wallet and cell phone were stolen.
The student sustained multiple hematomas on
his limbs. The student may have been perma-
nently disabled or killed. The student was me.
As I was coming from Taubman, I dis-
tinctly recall thinking that what I was doing
- walking alone in the city after dark - was
not safe. I rationalized it several ways. I was
not near main campus and specifically South
University Avenue, where there has been
an increase in violent assaults. I was walk-
ing past Main Street - a busy, well-lit area.
I was headed to% a residential neighborhood,
which I thought would be less likely to harbor
violence.
Then a man stopped to ask me the time,
and I was suddenly on my back in a snow
bank, using my arms to deflect the blows
from my face.
Students are a particularly vulnerable popu-
lation in Ann Arbor. We usually walk where
we need to go because parking is impossible
or expensive. Our classes and studying keep us
out late at night and drag us out of bed early in
the morning. We walk in the dark. And many
of us are young and don't stop to consider our
vulnerability; Ann Arbor seems like such a
safe place.
I'm writing to ask every reader of this letter to
take a moment and think about what you have done
to protect yourself from violent crime. Protecting
yourself takes time and money. It can mean taking
a taxi instead of walking or waiting for a shuttle
when all you want to do is go home. It can mean
investing in pepper spray and self-defense classes.
And it's not comfortable. We don't want to think
of ourselves as targets, and we don't want to think
of our environment as dangerous. But victims of
crime know that the effort is absolutely worth it
and that nothing is worth jeopardizing your health
and safety.
I am also writing this letter to a particular per-
son. On Wednesday, I was driving home from the
Ann Arbor Police Department, where a detective
had me strip so he could photograph my bruises. I
was stonned on State Street, near Yost Ice Arena,

A

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley,
Gabrielle D'Angelo, John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara
Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashwin Jagannathan, Eric Karna,, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank
Manlev. Kirstv McNamara. Raiiv Prabhakar, Katherine Seid, Brian Slade, Gavin Stern, Ben

I

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