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October 16, 2008 - Image 4

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4A - Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


74i1E ichian 4Eaithj
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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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 oftheir authors.
Takig some initiative
'U' must educate voters about affirmative action ban's effect

They know that she's a role model to women
and other reformers all over America.
-John McCain, speaking about Americans' feelings toward his running mate,
Sarah Palin, during yesterday's presidential debate.
Oh fun! Are you going to Even Top Gun?
What are you doing ride The Maverick?
over fall break?
NThe C o TleX male bo


Two years ago, University President Mary Sue Coleman
spoke on the Diag and promised a loud and noble fight to
defend diversity from the ban on race- and gender-based
affirmative action that passed the day before. Since then, our lead-
ership has grown quiet. But with November fast approaching, and
Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action tour hitting two more state
ballots, other universities could be faced with the same struggles as
ours. If these voters hope to make an informed decision, the admin-
istration needs to abandon its caution. Now is the time to talk about
how we are defending diversity, for the benefit of other threatened
campuses and our own.

Mimicking the blueprint fromhis success-
ful campaigns in Michigan, California and
Washington, Ward Connerly's anti-affirma-
tive action group, the American Civil Rights
Institute, began the year hoping to get five
more anti-affirmative action ballot initia-
tives passed. After initiatives in Oklahoma
and Arizoni got booted from the ballot for
fraudulent campaign tactics and Missouri
organizers failed to get the required number
of signatures in time, only two campaigns
remain. In Nebraska and Colorado, enough
voters signed petitions to put anti-affirma-
tive action initiatives up for popular vote
this fall.
Like Michigan voters two years ago, vot-
ers in Nebraska and Colorado need to know
what they are getting into. And who better
to tell them than us?
Since 2006, the University has had a
unique experience in its battle to maintain
diversity. Minority enrollment has declined,
but not as drastically as it did at universities
in California and Washington. Though dif-
ficult to discern, much of that success can
probably be attributed to the University's
patchwork of outreach programs, comput-
er demographics software and expanded
streams of targeted financial aid.
Other campuses and voters need our open-
ness about what has happened here. What
has been the real effect of the ban on race-
and gender-based affirmative action at the
University? What efforts have been made
to mitigate its impact? How exactly do they
work? How successful has each been? How
much more expensive have these efforts

been than affirmative action? How has the
ban changed the way it feels to be a mem-
ber of the black, Latino or Native American
communities on campus?
The University's hesitancy to answer
these questions is most likely driven by self-
defense: It wants to avoid the polarization
and legal drama this campus has endured
throughout its defense of campus diversity.
The more open the University is, the more
open it is to criticism. And when it comes
to diversity, no one will be pleased with the
University's answers. Opponents of affirma-
tive action are waiting for the first sign the
University might be breaking the law. Pro-
ponents are worried minority enrollment is
still falling. {
But the University's silence right now is
selfish. With November approaching, vot-
ers need answers to these questions, and
the University has an obligation to educate
them. After all, that is the reason the Uni-
versity exists. It seems a bit hypocritical that
the University feels obligated to "educate"
Michigan voters about the potential benefits
of stem cell research when our state has an
initiative on the ballot about the issue, but
not be just as vocal in an effort to help voters
in Nebraska and Colorado.
Diversity is still on the minds of Univer-
sity administrators, even though they aren't
talking about it. Until they do, their silence
flies in the face of the fights of the last decade
and leaves the national higher education
community uninformed about legislation
that could dramatically change the face of
our campuses.

We need an affirmation.
We live in a society where
tion is discussed_
in the framework
of prevention
and, by extension,
negation. In other
words, we are
bombarded with
messages about
what we shouldn't
do with respect to ROSE
sexual intercourse.
First, we're told not AFRIYIE
to have intercourse,
and then, not to getS ki th
caught. Then, we Speaking wit
graduate to new Tongues
goals: not getting
pregnant and not getting sexually
transmitted infections.
Don't get me wrong: A prevention
framework is essential to establishing
good sexual health and sexual deci-
sion-making. But when this frame-
work doesn't indicate what we should
do, it can stifle one of the main rea-
sons we engage in sexual relations in
the first place: pleasure.
Yes folks, believe it or not, the "p"
in prevention can also stand for the
self-affirming concept of pleasure.
This immense joy occurs when every
now and again we breach bodies with
sexualintent or engage in alittle guid-
ed self-exploration. Nestled firmly in
the yoke of pleasure are practices that
help us maximize not only our sex life
but also our quality of life.
In an effort to pay pleasure some
attention, this week we'll unpack
female sexual pleasure by looking at
statistics on the orgasm deficit, tips
for female sexual pleasure-givers and
general recommendations on female
sexual pleasure for everyday life.
When it comes to female orgasm,
the word "depressing" is an under-
statement. According to an article
in the June 2008 Obstetrics and
Gynecology Clinics Journal, only 30
percent of women "almost always"
or "always" achieve orgasm during
sexual activity. Compare that to the

75 percent of men who "always" or
"almost always" do.
While I'm tempted to declare a
national state of emergency, I'm
encouraged by the article's other
offerings. Apparently, out of this 30
percent, 80 percent of women climax
before or after vaginal intercourse
when stimulated manually, orally or
with a vibrator or other device. Only
20 percent, meanwhile, climax exclu-
sively during intercourse.
It comes as no surprise then that
doctors who studied orgasm in Tudor
and Stuart England identified "the
clitoris as the principle locus of sex-
ual pleasure," seconding Eve Ensler's
happy fact that the "clitoris has 8,000
nerve endings ... more than any other
part of the body."
Yet 70 percent of partners engag-
ing in sexual activity with women are
either asleep at the wheel or unin-
formed. And our social context isn't
helping much. When we say the word
"sex," it instinctively calls to mind
the act of male-female penetration.
When the many different acts that
are likely to get a woman closest to
orgasm don't even qualify as real sex,
women already enter the bedroom
door at a disadvantage. The reality
we should strive for is a more authen-
tic image. As French feminist author
Julia Kristeva notes in "The Sex
Which is Not One," female sexuality
"is far more diversified, more multi-
ple in its differences, more complex."
Thus, to incite female sexual plea-
sure in your partner, you must re-
imagine it outside societal confines.
You must be eager to take direction
from your partner and educational
sources on pleasure with an under-
standing thatwomen mustbe engaged
on a multi-dimensional level.
Dr. Susan Ernst, director of gyne-
cology at University Health Service
sums it up well: "The latest theories
on female sexual function are much
more complex than just numbers of
nerve endings in certain tissues, but
state that female sexual function has
a huge component which is psycho-
logical, social and emotional."

But the practical is always helpful.
Kristeva also offers some specifics
on bringing about pleasure. "Evok-
ing only a few," she writes, "fondling
the breasts, touching the vulva (vagi-
nal opening), stroking the posterior
wall of the vagina, brushing against
the mouth of the uterus are ... female
Now for three general recommen-
dations for women:
Know thyself. Self-exploration
really shouldn't be a recommenda-
tion, but a mandate. Invest in a hand
mirror and take a look. The sight of
your cervix will impress you and
give you an empowering perspective
about your body. Purchase a vibrator
and set aside time in your schedule to
have a one-on-one. You can't educate
anyone on your preferences if you
don't know what they are.
Pleasuring women
requires more than
Err on the side of conversation.
Even if you have to call a "time out"
during a sexual act, you shouldn't
endure anything sexual that doesn't
give you pleasure. A friend of mine
always says, "If you are going to
be a passive participant, don't par-
ticipate!" Just remember to be
incremental about disclosing your
sexual preferences and use positive
reinforcements if your partner gets
it right.
Lastly, you don't have to choose.
And by that, I mean between vaginal
penetration and clitoral stimulation
or pleasure and prevention. For the
best results, combine all methods.
Next time, we'll talk about the men.
Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex and
relationships columnist. She can be
reached at sariyie@umich~edu.

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman,
Edward McPhee, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Matthew Shutler, Robert Soave, Eileen Stahl,.
Jennifer Sussex, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young
Not exactly a riot

Talking with the Taliban

As a Seattle native, I love my city, appreci-
ate it for its diversity and know how lucky I
am to be from such an unparalleled place. So I
was pleasantly surprised to find my city in the
spotlight recently. Seattle was featured in Stu-
art Townsend's directorial debut, "Battle in
Seattle." Documenting the World Trade Orga-
nization protests on Nov. 30, 1999, the film is an
intense narrative that combines many different
vantage points to form a debatably cohesive, yet
undeniably controversial, film about capitalistic
greed, constitutional rights and how one city
was changed forever.
When I first heard about this film, I was
ecstatic that some national attention, and per-
haps national praise, would finally be given to
my hometown for its handling of the full-scale
riots that ensued during the WTO protests.
Much to my dismay, the film portrays Seattle,
and specifically the Seattle government, as an
oppressive hub. Rather than showingthe blatant
and disgusting disregard that some protesters
had for public and civic decency, the film sym-
pathizes with violent vigilantes and demonizes
the police force for protecting people's safety.
That's not to say the city of Seattle was inno-
cent. The executive and judicial powers took
unconstitutional measures to quell what even-
tually became an irrepressible riot. Excessive
and sometimes unnecessary use of tear gas, pep-
per spray, rubber bullets and physical force left
many peaceful and well-intentioned protesters
injured. In 2007, a federal jury concluded that,
duringthe WTO protests, the city arrested pro-
testers without evidence or probable cause, a
clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.
While the city grossly mishandled the back-
lash, accounts of the protests often neglect to
show the unprovoked violence that the riot-
ers unleashed on the city. I remember being

11 years old, watching the local news and see-
ing mailboxes thrown through the windows of
businesses and stores. Dumpsters and cars were
lit on fire, and almost every building wall was
defaced by hateful and obscene graffiti. As the
media demonized the police force, callous rebels
tore the city apart.
Three days after the protests ended, I walked
the streets downtown. The burning trash cans
and tear gas were noticeably absent, but rem-
nants of the destructive chaos remained. The
city, once romantic and liberating, was ravaged
into a skeleton of dejection and emptiness.
The most unfortunate thing is that there
were protesters there who had something admi-
rable to say. While some peacefully advocated
for humane working conditions and corporate
accountability, others created chaos for the
sake of causing uproar. Messages of justice were
drowned out by actions of anarchy.
Seattle eventually recovered from the dev-
astation that the riots left in their wake. The
streets were cleaned, the buildings renewed and
the city was made whole again. Responding to
public and governmental pressures, the Seattle
police chief resigned, and the incumbent mayor
lost his seat two years later. But now, just as
Seattle citizens were beginning to forgive, "Bat-
tle in Seattle" is making sure that no one forgets.
It is one of many arguably biased media releases
that paint the violence as a necessary evil to
preach a message of good. In the end, the film is
a romanticized account of protesters' attempts
to overthrow government and police control in
an effort to mass publicize their cause.
Having lived through it, though, I see things a
little bit differently.
Emily Michels is an LSA sophomore and
a Daily associate editorial page editor.

Coming almost exactly seven
years after the Taliban's ouster
fromAfghanistan,Defense Sec-
retary Robert Gates _
did something this
weekend you think
would have hap-
pened long ago: He
acknowledged the
possibility of talks
with Taliban leader-
ship in Afghanistan. _A
Given that attacks IBRAHIM
have increased by
40 percent over the KAKWAN
previous year, and -
that this war has
already swallowed around $200 bil-
lion (excluding costs to our NATO
allies) without accomplishing its main
objectives, this change would seem
like a wise, albeit belated, change that
will be in the best interests of the ter-
rorism-wary West and Afghanistan.
To begin with, what exactly are we
supporting by maintaining the cur-
rent government?
Answering this question requires
a brief look back to 2001, when the
Taliban had unified approximately
90 percent of Afghanistan. Following
Sept. 11, we turned to the remainingl10
percent, a collection of warlords and
tribal chiefs on the verge of defeat,
to help us unseat the Taliban. This
group, the Northern Alliance, suc-
ceeded because of U.S. support, and
has since required constant financial
and military backing just to maintain
its hold on the largest cities and main
roads. Even then, it has failed to pro-
vide most basic services, including
general security.
Coincidentally, the one area in
which this government has excelled is
the enrichment of its members. Under
the Taliban, corruption was rare.
But the current government is turn-
ing out millionaires, and the damage
from this corruption and the associ-
ated drug trade is not just limited to
The Taliban outlawed opium pro-

duction during its years in power,
but since its departure each passing
year has brought another bumper
opium crop. Afghanistan's poppies
now produce roughly 90 percent of
the world's heroin, and members of
the current government are cash-
ing in. The ex-governor of Kandahar
Province admitted to receiving $1 mil-
lion a week in kickbacks. (After being
removed, the'United States gave him
control of another province.) And a
recent New York Times article impli-
cates the brother of President Hamid
Karzai in the opium trade.
The Taliban was not nearly as cor-
rupt, but how would a greater future
role for the group affect the Afghan
people? The Taliban is famous for
its alleged disregard for the rights of
women, homosexuals and minorities,
but that's not the complete picture.
Sure, gay people were persecuted in
Afghanistan under the Taliban, but in
traditional Afghan society (particu-
larly among ethnic Pashtuns), do you
really think the absence of the Taliban
would have changed that?
Some people may also remember a
widely circulated video of a burqa-clad
woman being executed in a soccer sta-
dium. This was passed on as evidence
of Taliban brutality, and more broadly
its disregard for women's rights. It
was grotesque, buta closer look tells a
different story. The woman was tried
and convicted of murdering her hus-
band. An eyewitness told the Associ-
ated Press that, "This is the first time
a woman has been killed." And if you
lookatthe executioners,youwillnotice
that some are women. Female police
officers, inthe employment of the Tali-
ban. Who would have thought?
This is not to say that the Taliban
is good, but it is better than the weak
U.S.-backed Karzai government.
Practically speaking, the progressive
Afghanistan died with the 1979 Sovi-
et invasion. Since then there has just
been war - first against the Soviets,
then among themselves, followed by a
brief hiatus during the Taliban years,

and then again after 2001. If nothing
else, the Taliban offers relative stabili-
ty - fulfilling a basic function that the
Karzai governmenthasn't. Despite the
Taliban's faults, it creates a starting
point for future progress and reform.
And there is one last looming ques-
tion about the Taliban: What about
its ties to Al-Qaeda, the reason for its
ouster in the first place? Following the
2001 Tora Bora campaign, the major-
ity of foreign Al-Qaeda fighters left
Afghanistan for Pakistan and else-
where. Attacks over the last couple
years have mainly been the work of
Afghan Taliban - and theyare willing
to negotiate, potentially reducing the
financial and human costs to the Unit-
ed States. Over the last few months,
How the United
States overlooked
the Taliban's good.
however;reports indicate that increas-
ing numbers of foreign fighters are
moving to Afghanistan, as opposed to
Iraq. American troops attract foreign
Al-Qaeda fighters like ants to sugar. If
an agreement is not reached with the
Taliban soon, this trend will only con-
tinue and possibly lead to a rebirth of
Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, along with 6
the associated violence.
The United States and NATO have
already spent many lives and hun-
dreds of billions of dollars trying to
help the Karzai government stand on
its feet. In seven years it has failed to .
accomplish much of anything, except
create a healthy drug trade. Forget
what you may have read in "The Kite
Runner." Maybe it's time to rethink
our commitments.
IbrahimKakwan can be reached
at ijameel@umich.edu.

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