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December 04, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-12-04

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4A - Thursday, December 4, 2008

Opinion

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

L74C M

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

Plainly put, the soldiers are too fat,
exercise too little, and take little care
of their diet."
-Reinhold Robbe, Germany's parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, on the overweight condition of
German soldiers in Afghanistan, as reported yesterday by The Daily Mail.

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
MANAGING EDITOR

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.
F ROM T HE DA ILY
Cutting power
Proposed regulation changes infringe upon EPA's power
When some Clinton administration officials left their
offices in 2001, they pulled the "W" keys off of the key-
boards in the White House. Their way of taunting the
incoming Bush administration may have been childish, but at least
it didn't have lasting repercussions. Now, as the current adminis-
tration prepares to hand the reins over to Obama, its final attempt
to downgrade the power of the Environmental Protection Agency
poses a much more serious threat than a few missing keys.

More than skin

The Bush administration's latest insult
to the EPA comes in the form of policy
changes that are expected to be finalized
within the next couple of weeks. The new
guidelines would significantly change the
Clean Air Act and curtail the EPA's power
to control emissions. The law caps the
annual emissions of power plants, which
forces them to operate restricted hours
to prevent exceeding the cap. But the new
rule measures emissions on an hourly basis
rather than a yearly total. The change cre-
ates a loophole: plants will be able to work
longer hours as long as each hour's emis-
sions fit the average hourly rate. That
means that emissions can - and probably
will - increase.
The regulation change is both a danger to
the environment and an attack on the power
of the EPA. While Americans are realizing
the importance of environmentally friend-
ly policy, the administration is moving in
the opposite direction. If the regulatory
changes are implemented, the EPA willlose
a significant amount of its already limited
power to control emissions.
What is also troubling about the move
is the Bush administration's apparent dis-
regard for all parties affected by the poli-
cy change. The administration is forcing

changes that a multitude of groups oppose,
including doctors, environmentalists and
governmental officials. Furthermore,
changes made to the Clean Air Act will be
difficult for the Obama administration to
undo. In its last months in office, the Bush
administration seems focused on adding
a few more problems to President-elect
Barack Obama's list of things he will have
to clean up.
Despite well-reasoned opposition, how-
ever, chances are that the new regulations
will be implemented. Luckily, Obama's top
contenders for EPA administrator include
Mary Nichols, who chairs the Califor-
nia Air Resources Board and Lisa Jack-
son, who previously headed New Jersey's
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion. Both candidates have the experience
and social inclination to improve the
system. But there will be more work for
Obama than just appointing an adminis-
trator. Changing the rules again will take
time and it won't be easy, but the Obama
administration must give the EPA back the
power it needs to combat dangerous emis-
sions levels.
And maybe, when it comes time for
Obama's team to leave office, they'll just
stick with vandalizing keyboards.

Because racism is no longer an
accepted American value, it's
become much more subtle than
it was in years past, _
making whether
something is "rac-
ist" or not a subject
of heated debate.
Complex issues,
like the proper way
to portray minori- '
ties in the media or
whether affirma- EILEEN
tive action is fair, EIL
give rise to infuri- sTAHL
ated parties and the
occasional ludicrous
accusation (Kwame Kilpatrick, the
people of Michigan wanted you out of
office because you have a high concen-
tration of douchebag, not melanin.) But
these are necessary debates, because
racism is alive and well today even in
nations that claim to have turned over
a new leaf - you just have to look more
carefully.
For example, you may not have
heard of skin whiteners, but unfortu-
nately they're exactly whatthey sound
like. With names like Fair and Lovely
and Flawless White, these creams
claim to make darker complexions
lighter and "lovelier." They are all the
rage among young women in places
like India, China and Malaysia.
At first glance, the popularity of
skin whiteners in Asian countries
doesn'tseemat allsubtle,justinfuriat-
ing. But the root of their popularity is
more complex than it at first appears,
and reveals an important lesson about
standards of beauty in the West as
well. In fact, it's part of a big problem
affecting not only dark-skinned peo-
ple, but women everywhere.
With that in mind, let's take a
closer look at an Indian commercial
for the Fair and Lovely whitening
cream. In it, a dark-skinned daughter
and father wearing traditional Indian
garb enter a beauty shop. However,
the pale sales clerk smiles conde-

scendingly and informs the poor girl
that this is a "modern beauty store."
She's understandably heartbroken, at
least until Daddy steps in and procures
... Fair and Lovely! Our heroine's ela-
tion at this development confused me,
because if my father flat-out told me
that I wasn't as pretty as some bitch
in Sephora's, my reaction would be
to pour the damn face bleach into his
eyes until he bought me no fewer than
seven ponies by way of apology.
Yet what makes this commercial
disturbing is not only that it implies
dark skin isn't attractive, but that it's
somehowprimitive.As soonas Bleach-
ella gets her face whitewashed, she's
wearing European clothes and flirt-
ing with a European-looking man. So
the commercial takes on an even more
offensive dimension: Everyone wants
to be like those super cool white peo-
ple, because they're somehow better.
Though it's an easy conclusion to
come to, there's more beneath the
surface. The history of skin whiten-
ers reaches back long before Euro-
peans arrived in Asia; they've been
popular in cultures the world over for
millennia, from Ancient Rome to feu-
dal Japan. Historically, the poor had
to toil under the sun, while the rich
spent their days indoors. Thus, pale
skin was considered beautiful because
it was a symbol of wealth and status.
Does this mean that Asia's infatuation
with skin whiteners is nothing more
offensive than the West's preoccupa-
tion with tanning booths?
No, because while it may not be
based on Eurocentricism, it still cre-
ates a standard of beauty along a class
divide. In India to this day, people
with naturally darker skin are often
marginalized to the "lower" classes
and kept out of the spotlight. The
standard of pale beauty that was once
used to identify the lower and upper
classes now defines them.
It's hard to say if similar class
divides are formed like this in the
United States, but we have more in

dee
common with Asia here than we
might care to admit. We, too, have a
very specific definition of "perfect 0
beauty" presented by the media and
advertising, and it looks like Barbie
on a starvation diet. Looking at Sev-
enteen magazine's covers from 2006,
11 of those had a white model, of
which nine were blonde, seven with
blue eyes on top. In 2007, it didn't get
much better; 10 out of 12 models were
white, seven of which were blue-eyed
blondes. This Paris Hilton style of
beauty is promoted everywhere, from
make-up ads to pornography, and
even models of color try to approxi-
mate it with lightish skin, small noses
and straight hair.
Skin whiteners
show racism is still
prominent.
In places where dark-skinned
people are marginalized, skin whit-
eners definitely contribute to -rac-
ism. But even in places with relative
racial homogeneity, they're not just
offensive to dark-skinned people but
to women everywhere. Like Ameri-
can advertising's obsession with the
Aryan Princess, they purport that
you're incapable of being beautiful if
you don't have a very specific set of
characteristics, but I've yet to meet a
man who refuses to date anyone who
isn't a strawberry blonde white girl
between 5'81" and 5'91". Real peo-
ple know beauty comes ina variety of
flavors, and it's time popular culture
realizes it, too.
So ladies, look in the mirror and
smile. You're a hottie.
Eileen Stahl can be reached
at efstahl@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
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, Imran Syed, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young
MIKE MIKHO|VIEWPOINT
Telefund's true colors

The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed writers to be columnists next
semester. Columnists write 750 words on atopic of their choice every other week.
E-MAIL ROBERT SOAVE AT RSOAVE@UMICH.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION.

0

LE T TERS TO T HE EDITOR
MSA and LSA-SG should do
more to deserve student support

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
just a month, but years and even decades..
We can all learn from this and make littledifferenc-
es in our daily habits by not wasting food, contributing
food and money to the less fortunate and volunteering in
the community through organizations like the Salvation

It amazes me what a bad reputation my job
gets. Wouldn't you be a little concerned if every
time you told people where you work you saw
this look in their eye that almost said, "I'm
sorry" or a less empathetic "sucks to be you"?
Wouldn't you wonder why your school paper
would warn the student body not to apply to
work at the same place unless they are thick-
skinned? Well, that's the sad reality for employ-
ees of the Michigan Telefund. And as a manager
and trainer, I'm a little disgusted by it and,
most recently, the Daily's article perpetuating
this sad reality (About Campus: Taking abuse at
Telefund, 11/18/2008).
I've worked at Michigan Telefund, the Uni-
versity's telemarketing fundraising company,
for two and a half years. I've met so many peo-
ple that I can't walk on campus for five minutes
without seeing at least three or four friends who
I've met either at work or through a coworker.
I've gained enough experience raising money,
managing and training employees and working
in a team environment that I have the utmost
confidence in my resuma anytime I apply for an
internship. I've been lucky enough to have a job
that brings new challenges, new successes and
new laughs every day.
And more importantly, I've seen hundreds
of dedicated employees raise nearly $8 million
for the University. I've seen history made as we
raised more than $100,000 in a single night and
$1 million dollars in a single month. I've trained
dozens of employees on the importance of what
we do because we lay the foundation for future
donors who will keep the University highly
ranked. And I've seen the look of excitement
on a coworker's face when that person gets a

$5,000 pledge that they know will change a
future student's life.
Now, I know I'm biased. I realize that this
job, like any other, is not necessarily for every-
one. I've talked to my share of angry alumni,
but the vast majority of them are personable.
And I know it can get a little monotonous, but
is any job as exciting after a few months as it
is the first day? At least at Telefund, you're
constantly surrounded by different people and
new challenges. I know I'm not the only one
who feels that way because current or former
employees recommend the majority of people
who apply. To me this means that our staff
thinks enough about the work we do to get our
friends involved.
The general animosity towards the Telefund
is appalling. We raise money for students who,
in many cases, are not able to afford a Univer-
sity education. While doing this we have to
making sure our alumni think highly of what
the University is doing. Yes, we are persistent,
but we also realize that different alumni have
different priorities - for example, if an alum
has other financial commitments, we respect
those. What we do at Telefund is done with the
best interest of the University, the alumni and,
most importantly, the students in mind.
All in all, I ask thatstudents to keep things in
perspective. Telefund pays more than almost
any other campus job I know, we work in a laid
back atmosphere with our friends and we raise
millions of dollars to help students all over
campus. So if you need a job, thin-skinned or
not, check us out.
Mike Mikho is an LSA sophomore.

TO THE DAILY: Army and Circle
In response to Megan Madison's recent letter to the edi- pleasant one fore'
tor encouraging students and the Daily to take more seri-
ously student government elections (Daily should play part Nikiil Kalothia
in informing student voters, 11/25/2008), as a senior, here LSA sophomore
are the things about our student government that I can
remember over the past three and a half years:
First, a Michigan Student Assembly representative, who
was a member of Students 4 Michigan and then the Michi- M aking q
gan Action Party, stepped down from office after plead-
ing guilty to two felony charges. Later, an MSA president,
who was also a member of MAP, was ousted from office for
mocking another student's disability. Then, LSA Student TO THE DAILY:
Government representatives made front-page news in the I agreed with I
Daily after proposing changes to intramural sports scoring universal healthca
rules. And finally, the MSA president signed off on giving auto companies) n
registration priority to student-athletes over the rest of the 11/24/2008).
studentbody. - Kolk was corr
I understand that MSA and LSA-SG are two separate before the recessi
entities, but honestly, I couldn't care less. Most of the were on the rise
student body, including myself, lumps these two groups that had high ini
together into what we view as one large student govern- financial and cred
ment unit. tant to note that th
If Madison would like the Daily to provide some election all auto companie
coverage, perhaps the student government should actu- booming Chinese
ally do something newsworthy besides breaking the law, for loans.
mocking another student's disability, focusing on irrel- Second, I agree
evant issues and deciding that the needs of one group are companies to go b
more important than those of the rest of the student body. industry becausec
Madison is right in saying that "student governments can't ing to the Nation
get anything done without student support behind them." percent of car buy
But the fact is that our student government - or should I Chapter 11 bankru
say, Madison's very own Michigan Action Party - has left company is dead).
us very little to support or be proud of. Finally, Kolk cla
"more efficient, hi
Alexander Whang In many cases, he:
LSA senior cars are generally
offer. The Chevro
for mid-size cars.I
We can learn from inspirational mileage than the
Honda Accord.
students who live on $1 a day This exemplifie
Three is lagging t
TO THE DAILY: closing the quality
The Daily's recent article about students living on only alternative to a $3
$1 per day for food for an entire month was very inspira- which would bea
tional (Cheap eats: students set $1 food budget for charity, beyond the auto in
11/24/2008). It takes a lot of courage and dedication to set People who car
out on a difficult and very demanding task like these stu- sentatives in Cong
dents did. While their month has been very difficult (for
example, difficulty staying awake), one can only imagine Eric Sauck
what people facing poverty go through every day for not Engineeringsenior

K that will make the holiday season a
everyone.
uality products is the
industry success
Bryan Kolk's recent column about how
are would make U.S. companies (not just
more competitive (Healing the Big Three,
ect in saying, "Detroit was ailing long
on began." However, the Detroit Three
again, with massive turnaround plans
itial costs and were viable before the
it markets fell in September. It is impor-
he current economic crisis has impacted
s, with Japanese, German and even the
automakers asking their governments
that Mitt Romney's plan to allow these
ankrupt would never work for the auto
of customers as fickle as we are. Accord-
al Automobile Dealers Association, 80
yers would not buy from a company in
ptcy (even though that doesn't mean the
aimed that the foreign competitors offer
gher quality, and more affordable cars."
is wrong on all three counts - American
more affordable for the equipment they
let Malibu ranked first in initial quality
The Malibu also generally gets better gas
Toyota Camry and is cheaper than the
es how the perception of the Detroit
behind reality. The cure is to continue
gap and making desirable products. The
4 billion government loan is liquidation,
a catastrophe with effects reaching far
dustry.
e about this should contact their repre-
ress to make sure this loan gets passed.
Pr

CHRIS KOSLOWSKI I OUT TO PASTURE
E-MAIL CHRIS AT CSKOSLOW@UMICH.EDU

-I

Mathis economy is o
a tellsme.
a o
8 *

I

Thjb market7i
!bo,,ded right na,. Ijut feel
so uder-ualiied

I

If143 daysinthe Senate c
qualiyes you to be President
and being married to Bill
Clinton qualifies you to be
Secretary of State, you should
h s e.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and
accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.

'"Milopoloop- - -- -ftvw- -.J- plwvmpm

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