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April 05, 2006 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-04-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 5, 2006


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Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


' ' The Democrats and
the liberal media are target-
ing Tom DeLay for the same
reason that Confederate Gen.
Stonewall Jackson always
ordered his troops to shoot
the brave ones first - because
it will scare the others."
-Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), defend-
ing Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) after
DeLay announced that he would not
seek re-election, as reported yesterday
by the San Antonio Express-News.

l ! I S t , t (
t ' ' \ N
9 VA.

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.

Sign up to save the world


When I was
12, Iwanted
to save the
world. It seemed the
natural career path, hav-
ing already lost interest
in growing up to be a
marine biologist, mime
or astronaut. Though I
knew it was idealistic,
it didn't seem such an
unreasonable aim at the time. I was a bright kid
in one of those fancy, upper-middle class public
schools with dedicated teachers who told me I
could do anything if I put my mind to it. Pho-
tos of starving people halfway across the world
upset me; I figured that I could volunteer my
time and donate my money, without too much
inconvenience to myself, and really get started
on saving the world.
These days, I fight the urge to roll my eyes
at the inordinate praise heaped on well-inten-
tioned service groups like The Detroit Project
and Dance Marathon. I cringe when I read
articles headlines like Detroit Project sweeps
away urban blight (04/03/2006). If the complex
problems Detroit faces could be summed up as
"urban blight" and could be "swept away" by
1,000 college students willing to pick up trash
on one Saturday, don't you think we would
have taken care of that already?
I'm still sorting out why I feel such unease
with Dance Marathon. It is annoying, of course,
to receive constant e-mails imploring me to do
my Saturday-night drinking at this bar night or
that as a way to get plastered for a good cause.
But I suspect it's more the fanfare and constant
back-patting to keep up morale that gets to me.

There's the hierarchy of arbitrary positions and
posts to keep people motivated and distract them
from the fact that at the end of the day, they spend
an entire year putting on a show to convince indi-
viduals and businesses to donate money. At the
end of the day, $300,000 will help, but was gath-
ering it in such a roundabout manner really the
best use of everyone's time?
My own desire to somehow save all the poor,
sick and dying people around the world, to rescue
them from the hell in which they certainly must
live, didn't fade away on its own. First realizing
that my life was pretty privileged brought with it
a lot of guilt, and it still does sometimes. But my
initial reaction - to make up for things by helping
out at soup kitchens when I had time, by "giving
up" a whole week of my life each year to go fix up
houses in the mountains - missed the point.
It took a few of those weeklong service trips
to beat that notion out of my head. The biggest
blow came when the culmination of one week
spent trying to help build a wheelchair ramp
was no more than a dozen three-foot-deep
holes and a broken sewer line. I was not a con-
struction worker; the time it took to show me
how to properly wield a hammer could have
been more effectively spent actually building
things. Working my part-time job for a week
and donating the money would have probably
done more in the sense of tangible benefit,
though I wouldn't have gotten a nifty T-shirt.
But that warm, fuzzy feeling we get from vol-
unteering is intoxicating. It does feel good to do
something - and to know that digging ditches
in Kentucky was more helpful than getting diunk
in Cancun. Combine it with this sense of one's
own privilege, that the time and money needed
to volunteer is a luxury not all have, and you've

got the perfect conditions for a whole lot of self-
Does that mean we shouldn't do what we can,
that we should just worry about ourselves? Of
course not. But just as it's dangerous to let our-
selves shirk away from the pain we feel when we
recognize how fortunate we are, it's important
to be careful of that feeling bordering on conde-
scension that regards those less wealthy than us
as helpless and in dire need of a day or a week of
our precious time.
I'm not saying Dance Marathon and DP Day
are not worthy pursuits - at the very least, the
scale of these projects draw in people and groups
who might not otherwise get involved. But I was
relieved to read the letter in the Daily yesterday
(Daily coverage of DP Day misleading on many lev-
els) revealing that DP leadership does try to con-
textualize DP Day as a time to bring together
members of different communities, not for
University students to "fix" Detroit.
The changes necessary to remedy society's
inequalities and injustices go beyond a lack of
volunteers. It will take alliances between orga-
nizations and communities, not a bunch of
well-meaning college students, to bring about a
significant change. I can raise money, try to edu-
cate others, head off on service trips and learn
about issues I might not encounter otherwise.
But it takes a fair assessment of the impact, both
positive and negative, that volunteers have on the
communities and individuals to fully understand
what service means and what it can do.
Whether a relief or a burden, it's not our
place to save the world.

Beam can be reached at


Sendall letters to the editor to
tothedaily~michigandaily. corn.

Close buildings instead of
holding Friday classes
I am writing in response to Thursday the
new Friday? Not anymore (04/04/2006). I find
it somewhat ridiculous that because of budget
issues the University plans to have more Fri-
day classes to justify powering facilities. The
sensible thing would be to close a few build-
ings on Fridays rather than try to justify the
current power costs. This would actually save
money while keeping both teachers and stu-
dents happy. A positive learning environment
occurs when teacher and student alike have a
desire to be in the classroom. If this does not
occur on Fridays, why force it?
Some students prefer not to have Friday
classes for a variety of reasons. I have had
three semesters without Friday classes, and
I try to use the long weekend to work on
papers and projects. I also enjoy having
more time at home when I choose to leave
campus for a weekend. I am sure there are
many students who use the extra day for
homework, a part-time job or to relax for
their mental health.
I sincerely hope the University does not take
away the flexibility and ease students currently
have in planning a Monday-through-Thursday
class schedule.
Alaina Zombeck
LSA sophomore
Racism is far more than
a series of isolated incidents
In the article Panelists discuss free speech
vs. hate speech (04/04/2006), I was quoted as
saying that "Racism in America is difficult to
pinpoint" and that I could not "identify spe-
cifically how (I) was targeted." I would like to
clarify these statements, because they signifi-
cantly misrepresent the point I was making
and diminish much of what we had discussed
on the panel.
I would first like to go on record saying
it is very clear to see how racism operates
in this country for blacks, Latinos, Asians,
Native Americans, Arab Americans, immi-
grants and members of my own group
- Sonth-A sian A mericans .nSoth Asians

have detrimental byproducts that contribute
to the racial discourse in this country, which
in turn helps foster the oppressive social cli-
mate in which these bills are imagined and
these crimes are perpetuated. Ideologies are
strong and pervasive. Ideologies oppress
under the guise of benevolence and this is
how racism lives, persists and continues to
permeate the fabric of our nation.
Simply and clearly put: Racism is, in fact,
easy to pinpoint. Similarly, students have
every right to voice their concern when a col-
lege newspaper helps contribute to this dan-
gerous climate.
I began my talk with a story about a con-
versation I had with a colleague. My point
in mentioning this story of the friend who
asked if I was a victim of racism was that it
is symptomatic of the way we discuss rac-
ism. If the discourse of racism is localized
to the individual level, then we can just as
easily dismiss racial epithets or hate crimes
as anomalous, or aberrations to the norm
- "just an isolated incident." In fact, these
incidents are increasing - as we have wit-
nessed on this campus - and are part of
the broader way in which racism contin-
ues to operate in this country, both subtly
and overtly. Similarly, these "interpersonal
instances" create a cultural, structural and
institutional environment that feeds mod-
ern racism. Racism is too pervasive, too
real and its implications too far-reaching
for my thoughts about it to be misconstrued
by the Daily.
Manan Desai
The letter writer is a member of the
South Asian Progressive Alliance.

why membership is declining, especially after
several years of steady increases. Under Graf-
ton's direction, the association has seen mem-
bership go from 86,000 in 1996 to 108,000 last
year. A dip of 3,000 in light of a 10-year gain
of more than 20,000 members seems like a
blip on the radar screen.
I can say, however, that Steve's not being an
alum of the University has no bearing on the
decline. I've never met a non-alum with more
allegiance than Grafton. He is a professional
who brings expertise in alumni management
and a voracious love of the University. His
young boys were singing the fight song way
before I ever did - and I came from a Michi-
gan family.
The story also mentioned a concern about
focusing on younger alumni. When I joined
the Alumni Association board in 1996, I
was the youngest member, having gradu-
ated in 1995. I'm proud to say that the num-
ber of younger alums increased during the
seven years I served on the board and that
our programming became more inclusive.
The association needs to focus on provid-
ing services that are attractive to many age
groups, and if you only focus on those who
have been out for more than 30 years, you
don't attract the members who will be the
association's future.
Finally, the article asserts that membership
is dropping because of overall dissatisfaction
with the University, but it provides no basis
for that.
I'm disappointed by the sloppiness of the
article and the negative tone it carried through-
out. I would hope the Daily would continue to
strive for in-depth, well-researched reporting
as its proud tradition requires.


Jessie Halladay

Membership drop is a 'blip'
after years of steady growth Hash Bash not invading,


As a former board member of the Universi-
ty's Alumni Association, I was concerned by
the story the Daily published last week (Alum-
ni association loses members, 03/30/2006) about
declining membership. Of course, part of my
concern is based on the decline itself, as we
would all like to see membership increasing
rather than decreasing.
However, most of my concern was based
on the shallow renorting that was done by

tut eaucaung can4Jus
I read the about Hash Bash invading the
Diag at the University (Hash Bash invades
Diag, 04/03/2006). Hash Bash has been
there 35 years now. What invading has been
done? Maybe Drew Philp, like most people
in the United States, doesn't know what the
Hash Bash is all about. We need to let people
know what they are missing out on - more

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Kevin Bunkley, Gabrielle D'Angelo,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Mark Kuehn,
Frank Manley, Kirsty McNamara, Suhael Momin, Rajiv Prabhakar, Katherine Seid, Gavin
Stern, Ben Taylor, Jessica Teng, Rachel Wagner, Jason Yost.


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