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October 10, 2012 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-10

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I

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 The Statement
THE JUNK DRAWER

w

c

A'r

Wednesday October 10, 2012 // The Statement7B

from last week: hook-up & marriage random student interview
What are your opinions on marriage? by kaitlin williams/ illustrations by megan muiholland
I' a woman and I do n a man and l do not Welcome to the Random Stu-
dent Interview. Do I know
not want to get married want to get married you?
13.3% -6.7%

I-Awl, :r

I_ 'm not
sure
20%
I'm a man and I
want to get married I'm a woman and I
20% want to get married
20%
What's your take on hook-up culture?

I think it objectifies
women
21.6%(

I think it means the
end of marriage
30.4%

Hey! How've you been?
(Woman keeps walking)
Hey! Haven't seen you in a
while!
Umm ..
Do you know who I am?
No. That's why I wasn't stopping.
Well, I don't know you either.
Ijust wanted to know if you
wanted to do the Random Stu-
dent Interview.
Maybe. What's that?
It's a really fun thing to do for
three minutes. Like sex.
OK.
Cool. So what's your name?
Mikaela.
Year and school?
Senior.
In LSA?
No. Engineering, actually.

, _ .

Oh cool! Girl in Engineering!
I've stopped a lot of people and
I haven't gotten that yet. Do
you get people freaking out a
lot?
Some people don't believe me.
Good thing? Bad thing?
Both, I guess. When it's in the con-
text of: 'There's no pretty Engi-
neering girls,' then, you know.

And if you would've been a
guy, I could've said something
like: 'Hey, why didn't you ever
- call me back? I thought we had
something special.
Oh gosh.
Yeah, but everyone probably
c1 ' would've just crab walked away
'%elike you wanted to.
t's a good thing, then! #
when people think that I'm
capable, like, 'Oh, you're an
ine?'it's kind of offensive-

OK. OK. I was going to take ita
lot further, butI couldn't follow
through.
What were you going to do?
Well, I could tell you were going
to leave, but I was going to ask
you about someone specific as
if we had a mutual friend or
something and just see how long
you'd talk to me.
Oh.

Being black in Ann Arbor
PERSONAL STATEMENT by Erika Ross

Tha
But
not
en L'

It should not exist
23.2%

I think it's empow-
ering to women
24.8%

Online comments
"I am very saddened at the attitude towards sexual relations, commit-
ment, marriage, and family displayed by the individuals in this article. The
'hook-up' culture and attitude is what has been a main contributor to the
decline in family values in soiety. s firmly believe (and hope that others
would agree and recognize) that sexual relationships are a very satred
thing that actually carry very serious and lasting consequences and should
be used within the bonds of marriage. Men and women may think that sex-
ual intimacy involving no commitment or monogamy makes one freer but it
only provides afalse and temporary sense of happiness."
-Jacob Askeroth
"I hope The Daily will publish more articles like this."
-Alex Brown

Cgi~ :, L5KII U CIIV .
It's a mix. Sometimes more good
than bad.
OK. That's fun. Did you really
think I knew you from some-
where? When I first stopped
you?
I thought that at first you might've
thought that you knew me, butI
was pretty sure that I didn't know
you.

Probably.
Go ahead and do that now.
Mikaela is an Engineering senior.

There I stood. Dumbfounded, heart racing, face red. She
stared at me like I was a joke. I couldn't believe the
comments coming out of her drunken mouth. She was
just so ... ignorant.
Have you ever felt out of place, disconnected from your
surroundings? Have you ever had people stare at you like
you're obviously different? They look at you like they can see
through you. They snicker, stereotype and think they know
you better than you know yourself. If you share the same
feelings, then you're probably black and living in Ann Arbor.
Prior to coming to the University, I had always been com-
fortable in my own skin. Growing up as an Army brat, I had
never thought of my race as a limitation until I started col-
lege. .
My introduction to the University came in the form of
Summer Bridge, an academic program for incoming fresh-
men that serves as a "bridge" into college life. Though I con-
sider my experience at Bridge to be one of the best inmy life,
there's much that comes with the territory. Since the major-
ity of the students in the program are in-state, inner-city
black students, some people see it as nothing but affirmative
action - a way for the University of Michigan to pay its debts
to the black community.
I remember going with some friends to Noodles & Com-
pany on South State Street that summer. While explaining
to them how to order, I noticed the cashier looking at us out
of the corner of her eye. As I stepped up to the register, she
turned to me and said, "You guys must be a part of the Sum-
mer Bridge Program." I nodded, but asked how she knew.
"Well, my old suitemate was in the Summer Bridge Pro-
gram, and she was black," she said.
I could have been a returning student, or a kid here for
orientation. Though I don't think she meant it maliciously, I
wondered if I was theonly one who heard it. But my friends,
a lot of whom had encountered this form, of subtle Tacism

before, were unfazed by her remarks.
I encountered similar situations throughout my first year
at the University. In classes, fellow students would make
insensitive remarks about the black community, forgetting
I was there. When I went to the University Hospital for a
check-up, the nurse asked me what college I went to, despite
my maize-and-blue outfit.
For the most part, I ignored these comments. But on one
particular night, I lost control.
I had gone to visit one of my friends in South Quad Resi-
dence Hall. The two of us were laughing and talking about
guys we knew. My friend repeatedly used the word "nigga"
to describe the guys.
One of her roommates came in, a rich white girl from the
West Coast, asking why was it OK for us to call each other the
N-word when we got so upset if a white person used it.
I explained to her that we used the term as a way to
describe an ignorant person, but she couldn't fathom it.
She turned to me. "Well, if you don't want me to call you
'nigga,' you shouldn't call yourself it."
I tried to ignore the girl. She told me that I was from
Detroit (I wasn't) and the only reason I had been accepted
to the University was because of affirmative action. She
explained to me calmly that she felt that black students used
their "blackness" to get by in life and through college. After
this, she claimed that she wasn't racist.
I felt particularly combative that night. I felt the need to
defend myself. She assumed I had the same background as
other students she had met on the basis of my skin color.
The confrontation continued.
"Well, I'm sure you have financial aid," she said. "It's so
unfair that you get financial aid just because you're black."
The room was quiet. My friend left the room.
The girl started to put her hands on me, trying to force me
to listen to her. I don't consider myself a fighter, but some-
thing in me snapped.
"Don't touch me! You can get as loud as you want in my
-face, but don't touch me,""Isshouted. - - a.

*ILLUSTRATION BY MEGAN MULHOLLAND
My entire body grew warmer and warmer.
"I swear, if you touch me again, I will drop you. Right here,
right now."
"Well, do it, since you think you're black and bad," she
screamed.
I tried to walk away. But the girl decided she wasn't done
with me and pushed me down the stairs twice. People came
out into the hall to see what the commotion was about.
"Get her away from me," I screamed.
She pulled me off the stairs again. But this time, I reacted
quickly. Before I knew it, my hands were around her throat.
She gasped for air.
At that moment, I blacked out. I remember only being
dragged outside by my friends, crying and screaming with
rage. It had to have been the grace of God that saved her life
and mine. She had gotten the best of me, but I had let her.
I find it funny that people categorize the South as a back-
wards-desolate area. I'm from the South, and I've never
experienced as much racism as I have in Ann Arbor. Though
I want to make it clear that the University of Michigan as an
institution isn't racist - I've never been made to feel out of
place by faculty members or by the University itself - the
people I encounter from day to day can make me feel com-
pletely disconnected from the rest of my surroundings.
The girl I fought with represents something more than an
isolated incident. She represents the lurking racism that the
black community in Ann Arbor experiences on a daily basis.
The worrying, the need to prove ourselves wherever we go,
the walls of self-defense we put up - all these are things I've
developed after spending a few years here.
To my friends, I am the oreo: the black-white girl who
never hung out with other African-American students until
she came to college. But to the rest of the University, I'm just
another black person walking the streets.
Erika Ross is an LSA junior.

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