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March 23, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-23

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4 - Friday, March 23, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Unite to fight
World TB Day brings attention to an overlooked illness
Countries around the world will come together tomorrow
against tuberculosis, one of humanity's most widespread
and deadliest diseases. While 2007 marks the 25th anni-
versary of World TB Day, there are few reasons for people to cele-
brate. The total number of TB cases continues to grow, even though
the disease is almost completely treatable. About 1.7 million people
died from the disease last year alone.

Let impeachment be the first step toward national
reconciliation - and toward penance for the outrages
committed in our nation's name. "
-Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson at a rally Monday calling for President Bush's impeachment
on the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
Reorien tingdiscrimnination

Although the number of Americans who
contract or die from TB is small, it is alarm-
ing that so few of us are educated about
or support efforts to stop the pandemic.
America must reevaluate its commitment
to fighting the disease and pledge more
funding to stop the spread of TB.
Around the world, about 8.8 million new
cases of TB emerge every year - almost all
of which are in developing countries. For
a disease that has had both a vaccine and
antibiotic treatment since the 1960s, it is
disturbing that so many people continue to
contract the disease and die from it. In fact,
the World Health Organization estimates
that more than one-third of the world pop-
ulation has TB bacterium in their bodies.
And while most people with the bacterium
never get sick or die from it, if left untreated
like it is in third-world countries because of
the lack of medication and money, the bac-
terium progresses into a debilitating and
deadly disease.
Unfortunately, neglect in past decades
has allowed TB to develop a drug-resistant
strain - XDR-TB. According to RESULTS
- a nationwide organization dedicated to
encouraging political mobilization towards
infectious diseases like TB - poor treat-
ment and monitoring of TB has led to the
creation of the all-but untreatable XDR-
TB. What's worse is that XDR-TB cases
continue to pop up around the world, and
the strain is spreading so much that the
World Health Organization declared an

emergency in Africa.
Organizations like RESULTS have peti-
tioned the government to dedicate more
federal funding to fighting the disease in
America and throughout the world. Specifi-
cally, RESULTS wants to add $300 million
for the global TB crusade, which can help to
fund both drugs and prevention programs
around the world. However, funding for the
pandemic cannot stop there. A major reason
why so many people die from TB every year
is because they concurrently suffer from
AIDS, another disease that has long been
neglected by the U.S. government.
However, the government throwing
money at TB and AIDS patients around the
world cannot alone stop the spread of such
devastating diseases. More education-based
support is needed, and further research is
vital to find better treatments and preven-
tions for these diseases destroying commu-
nities and countries around the world.
We at the University may be far removed
geographically from any community suffer-
ing a TB pandemic, but the crisis can never
be averted if people remove themselves
emotionally from it. It is a sad truth that the
afflicted often don't have the power to fight
for their own cure. Take the time tomorrow
to read up on the disease and find ways to
get involved in fighting it.
The deaths of millions at the hands of an
easily treatable disease are a moral stain on
those of us who have the power to do some-
thing, but choose not to.

Asians are blatantly being dis-
criminated against by elite
universities like Harvard
and Princeton - the -same ones that
endlessly harp on the importance of
diversity. Faced with large numbers
of highly qualified Asian applicants,
elite universities are increasingly
holding them to
higher standards
than they hold
everyone else to.
Sound hard
to believe? It "
shouldn't be. Until
50 years ago, Jews
faced the exact
same problem. RAJIV
Concerned about P KAR
Jews becoming a
majority on cam-
pus, top universities brazenly discrim-
inated against them to ensure a strong
gentile presence on campus. Harvard,
for example, literally held applicants
to different standards depending on
"how Jewish" they were.
Eventually anti-Semitism fell out
of favor. The discriminatory prac-
tices didn't - colleges simply found
new targets. Facing fresh concerns
about Asians dominating campus (a
completely baseless worry, of course),
elite universities have again taken to
discrimination apparently to ensure a
strong white majority and culture on
Ever since racial preferences in
California were banned, Asian enroll-
ment at the University of California-
Berkeley has skyrocketed. At Harvard
University, where no such ban exists,
Asians have the lowest admittance
rate among all ethnic groups, despite
being the most academically quali-
fied overall. Perhaps most damn-
ing, Princeton University's own
researchers have found that if racial

preferences were banned at that
university, white enrollment would
barely change and Asians would see
the greatest gains. This is compelling
proof that despite all posturing about
diversity, elite universities are going
to great lengths to preserve a major-
ity white campus.
This discrimination has its home
in the admissions department where
admissions staffers are responsible
for the life-changing evaluation of
applicants. Sadly, these same admis-
sions officers also hold strong stereo-
types about Asians' personality, or
more specifically, their lack of it.
According to a story last November
in The Harvard Crimson, a Korean
student applying to the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology was literally
described as "yet another textureless
math grind." A Vanderbilt University
admissions officer described Asians as
"very good students, but don't provide
the kind of intellectual environment"
that colleges seek. Harvard admis-
sions officers "ranked Asian American
candidates on average below whites in
'personal qualities,' " and considered
them to be "quiet/shy, science/math-
oriented, and hard workers." The
rank-and-file of all admissions offices
have come out and acknowledged that
stereotyping of Asians is common-
place at their jobs.
Imagine prospective female engi-
neers being discriminated against
because they're assumed not to be as
good in math and sciences, regardless
of what their academic scores say.
Imagine male nurses being discrimi-
nated against because females are
This is the reality that all Asians face
in college admissions. Regardless of
what their essays say or what extra-
curricular activities they're involved
in, they're automatically assumed to

be lacking in personality. It is little
wonder that being Asian is consid-
ered equivalent to having SO points
taken off of your SAT score.
If this all sounds surprising and
seems like a relatively modern devel-
opment, it shouldn't. In 1909, when
Jewish enrollment in Harvard was
more than 20 percent, the new Har-
vard president "instituted a quota that
cut the population of Jews at Harvard
down to 15 percent," according to the
Crimson. Harvard justified its dis-
criminatory practices by turning "to
Jewish stereotypes of 'race clannish-
Stereotyping of
Asians widespread
in admissions.
ness' and abilities limited to purely
and these exact same reasons are now
being given to keep Asians out of elite
colleges. The more things change, the
more they stay the same.
Don't get me wrong - I certainly
applaud elite universities' goal to look
for well-rounded applicants with not
justimpressiveresumes butcharacters
to match. It is disappointing, though,
that they're routinely judging people's
character, or their lack of it, based on
their skin. It is saddening that they're
holding Asians to higher standards
just to preserve their college's white
majority and culture. It is unfortunate
that Asians have had to even consider
disguising themselves as white on
college applications just to get a fair
shake in the admissions race.
Rajiv Prabhakar can be
reached at rajivp@umich.edu.


Outrage fatigue


In our 24-hour news cycle, the constant
stream of news stories creates wave after wave
of negative energy that impacts our psyche. An
outrage that should call us to action becomes
just another outrage, another brick in the
negative wall of our psyches. Like the Chinese
water torture, the constant drip of negativ-
ity creates mind-numbing fear and feelings of
being overwhelmed.
The cumulative impact of negativity results
in global, national and individual stress
response when we shut down mentally and
spiritually and lose ourselves in another dis-
traction like Anna Nicole Smith or Jerry
Springer. We turn to work, substances, religion
and relationships as ineffective coping skills.
According to adbusters.org, each day the
average citizen is exposed to about 3,000
advertisements. With that in mind, think of
the psychological impact these promotions
offer. Between the evening news, entertain-
ment and public relations firms we are well on
our way to apost-traumatic stress related, rest-
less, confused, headfirst leap into our graves:
living just long enough to watch life pass us by

but not long enough to truly see life.
There's more coming at a person than one
knows what to do with. A choice is made
by each individual - to accept or to ques-
tion. To question is to self-inform. To accept
is to believe what is thrown at you - cour-
tesy of major news sources - regardless of
how accurate or useful the information is.
Entertainment sources tend to diverge the
thinking of the masses into passive, idea-less
submission. When the television is turned
on, the radio tuned in or a magazine opened
in a Starbucks, one is bombarded with a wide
array of meaningless information. Britney
Spears is not that important.
What happens, as intended by those who
bombard us with the ads, is that we are fitted
with blinders. To accept is to admit defeat; to
be defeated is to submit to the strongly held
bludgeon of the powerful. Lets remove the
bludgeon, shut down the television and open
our minds.
Ian Walker is a sophomore at
Macomb Community College.

What's wrong with Irish I was sober'


est effort to rduce iuci.c.c~cci.ci
WHOA DIVIE SOMEasb" tprntYousree st doing my part to save the
THNG'SATTACKING YOU so n captures the anet
o.w it arndan i sc aa uc s t ontYoure tusc.MGoblWrig
tts # C4 w wt
Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Revin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler,
Ben Caleca, Mike Eber, Brian Flaherty, Mars Gay, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie Huette-
man, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jen-
nifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhysys, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

During my sophomore year I
was enrolled in "English 240: Intro
to Poetry." It was a small class in
which most of the students knew
each other fairly well. I soon got to
know the guys who sat to my left
and right - one was white and one
was Asian. Before class one day, my
Asian friend walked in, sat down
next to me and took off his jacket
to expose a bright green shirt with
white lettering on it. At first, I
didn't think anything of it.
Then I looked at what it said:
"Drink like you're Irish."
With my blazing red hair, fair
skin and freckles, I sat dumb-
founded, wondering if I had the
right to be offended. This student,
who most likely is not Irish, was
wearing a shirt that perpetuates
an incredibly negative stereotype
about my heritage.
Because I'm considered the
white majority, am I somehow not
worth political correctness? Don't I
deserve the same respect and con-
sideration as others?
I began thinking to myself: What
if I wore a shirt that said, "Do math
like you're Asian" or "Eat chicken
like you're black?" The answer was
painfully clear: There would be
a riot, and I would lose a signifi-
cant number of friends. All of that
because I wore a T-shirt, just like

my friend from English 240.
This is the paradox of American
society: it's considered appropriate
to mock some ethnic groups free-
ly, while mocking others remains
completely taboo.
St. Patrick's Day remains a yearly
reminder of one of the most racist
and offensive celebrations in our
society. Last year, I boycotted the
day. I drank; but I drank because it
was Friday. I watched as my friends
got absolutely obliterated, beginning
the festivities at 8 a.m. or earlier.
I walked through the halls of
South Quad Residence Hall, asking
the drunken students who St. Pat-
rick was, what he did and why they
were celebrating the holiday. They
responded with something like: "I
don't know. What does it matter?
It's an excuse to get drunk."
An excuse to get drunk? That's
what St. Patrick is to students on
campus? That's what Irish people
are to students on campus? How is
this fair?
It's not. But because Irish people
are generally white, everyone is
allowed to mock them and perpetu-
ate one of the most vitriolic stereo-
types in our society.
What's interesting is that the
Irish weren't always seen as white.
As Noel Ignatiev notes in his book
"How the Irish Became White,"

both Irish and black slaves during
the 18th and 19th centuries were
essentially equal at the bottom of
the social classes. The Irish were
called "white negroes" and blacks
were called "smoked Irish." The
Irish were not the oppressors or
part of the majority in America and
neither were they in Ireland, where
they lived under British domi-
This brings us back to the pres-
ent. As I sat in my ground level
apartment and watched swarms
of students in green clothing walk
by - another aspect of Irish cul-
ture that I'm sure most students
don't understand - I couldn't help
but be a bit upset. I thought about
the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish. I
thought about paddy wagons. I
thought about Irish car bombs.
And then I thought about all of the
dumb students buying into St. Pat-
rick's Day, just like my ancestors
tricked the Americans into doing
centuries ago.
So keep buying my beer. Keep
wearing green. Hell, keep calling
me a drunk. Those are the people
who look like assholes. As my mom
wrote to me in a St. Patrick's Day
card: "Take it easy. You've got noth-
ing to prove. You're already Irish."
Chris Gaerig is an LSA junior.


Art funding critic's
claims unfounded
I found the stance of Michael
LaFaive, Mackinac Center for Pub-
lic Policy director of fiscal policy,
on the state funding for art very
troubling (Film Fest, ACLU sue
state, 03/21/07). Setting aside the
controversy surrounding the Ann
Arbor FilmFestival, LaFaive's main
point is that art is "subjective" and
thus should not be subsidized by
taxpayers. This should be cause for
In his original testimony,
LaFaive said that no one should

be "forced to subsidize what a tiny
arts elite in Lansing defines as art
and defines as worthy of tax sup-
port." This "arts elite" provides
funding to controversial programs
such as the Portage School System,
the Michigan Youth Arts Festival
and the University Musical Soci-
ety. LaFaive also claims that "the
arts are too important to depend
on politicians for their sustenance,"
and that taking the time to write
grants keeps artists from "honing
their respective crafts."
Not only is LaFaive's view of art
as the work of individual crafts-
men who simply paint or carve
wood incredibly misinformed and
shortsighted, it also ignores the

fact that we live in a world where
money matters. Without funding
from the state, hundreds of muse-
ums, schools, theaters, festivals,
symphonies and local art and cul-
tural agencies would be deprived
of funding that would be difficult
- ifnotimpossible - to obtain else-
where. Without adequate funding,
there can be no "honing of crafts"
of any kind.
If LaFaive were to get his way, I
would hope that the inconsequen-
tial amount of tax dollars he would
save would make up for a state
without ballet, opera, art museums,
concerts, elementary school plays
and children's museums - not
to mention the hundreds of jobs

that accompany these institutions.
Somehow I doubt that it would. I
can only hope, for the sake of art
and all those who appreciate it in
its variety of forms, that people like
LaFaive are a minority.
Tyson Luoma
LSA sophomore
Let the law handle
it, not the courts
Whitney Dibo's column in
Thursday's Daily (Contraception
deception, 03/22/2007) provides a

perfect example of how the Ameri-
can public misunderstands its own
court system. As sad as the 8th
Circuit Court of Appeals's decision
may be, its job is to interpret the
current laws on the books, not to
change them as it sees fit. It is our
elected representatives who are
assigned the task ofsamendinglaws,
not the courts. To quote Supreme
Court Justice Antonin Scalia in his
1996 dissenting opinion in Romer v.
Evans, "This Court has no business
imposing upon all Americans the
resolution favored by the elite class
from which the Members of this
institution are selected."
The court's decision to deny
health care coverage for prescrip-

tion contraception is not discrimi-
natory because it simply follows
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964: The dissenting judge, Kermit
Bye, evennoted that discrimination
is inherent because women are the
only gender that can become preg-
nant. Dibo seems to believe that
the court was in error when decid-
ing this case, but maybe it is the
law that is in error. Maybe the law
needs to change to end the inher-
ent discrimination against women.
Until the law changes, the court is
doing its job by interpreting what is
on the books.
Patrick Zabawa
Engineering sophomore


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