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November 25, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-25

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4A - Monday, November 25, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4e Michigan l 4:)at*lu

Edited and managed by students at
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109


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.
Statewide student safety
School evacuation plans should be comprehensive and accessible
In the past few years, there have been high-profile and deadly school
shootings that often cause Americans to question laws surrounding
emergency evacuations in schools. While there is usually a discussion
on school safety immediately surrounding a tragic shooting, there never
seems to be much preventative action taken at the state level. A recent
report released by Save the Children, a non-governmental disaster relief
organization, found that Michigan is one of four states that fails to meet all
the evacuation and relocation criteria set by the National Commission on
Children and Disasters. Michigan can't wait for a disaster to strike to for-
mulate plans to keep students, teachers and staff safe. Multifaceted school
evacuation plans, which include plans for evacuation/relocation, family-
child reunification, children with special needs and multiple-disaster
scenarios, must become a statewide policy, and legislators need to ensure
lower-income schools can implement these safety measures.

Iam blo
by the
the #1
has galvar
Black stuc
at Michigan
beyond tool
reflect on w
means to a
an overwh
ingly white:
tution. Bec
this cam
clearly fr
and ce
the exper
of Black st
when I cat
news headl
who opt for
ity" to talk
impacts thu
I've seer
that say th
helped me
what mino
face" or he
#BBUM car
minority at
The wor
simplistic a
tized so we
does a wor
- one that
range of ve
why do w
terms like
color" or "n
cussing and
histories an
ular racial a
What is it
hashtag like
sibly drive
ity studen
campaign a
Given the d
of color, we
cannot be u
a place of sp
By the sc
ed in the 3

When 'minority' doesn't work
wn away and inspired pie chart on the Michigan admis- whether I'm here beca
strength and savvy of sions brochures and presentations academic merit. So what'
BBUM campaign that stamped with "minority students," student experience are p
nized a sector that includes every racial, use this word referring t
dents ---- ethnic and national identity that tainly not mine.
and is not solely white American. This The misuse of the wo
penly 30-percent segment may look like ity" has tangible ramific
hat it a lot to many prospective students point to a noticeable tr
ttend thinking about Michigan - it could spaces, groups and
ielm- even be a dealbreaker. It's only once catered around specific
insti- they get here and realize how broad are derailed and diluted
cause ZEINAB the terim's scope is do they recognize of "multiculticultural,""
paign Z ABL that diversity on campus doesn't feel or "people of color." I
ames K L as big as this sizeable shaded sector many groups and space
nters on the brochure. pus co-opted and conv
ience That's because the "minority broader and less-defined
udents, I was confused enrollment" problemonthe tongues the name of multicultur
me across a number of of many administrators, faculty and inclusivity. The Trotter
ines and commentators students these days doesn't affect tural Center was, at its
the vague term "minor- racial, ethnic and national minori- the Black Student Cultu
about #BBUM and its ties in the same way. We need to that emerged by stude
s far. complicate "minority" so that we Black Action Movement
n tweets by observers can come up with specific solutions nized for a Black-cent
ings like, "#BBUM has for problems that target specific on campus. A campus .
learn so much about communities instead of using broad show centered on the e
rity students at UM numerical figures in ways that pro- of South Asian women
adlines that read, "The vide a misleading image of "diver- adopted by the Residenti
mpaign explores being a sity" at the University. framed as a "multicultt
a top American institu Aside from being a tool that cat- and eventually run andi
egorizes a very wide range of peo- mostly by white wom
d "minority" is glaringly ple into a single group to give the homecomings, Latina/
id should be problema- impression of wide racial diversity graduation ceremonies,
can end its misuse. Who of underrepresented students, the events that center and si
d like racial "minority" "minority" term erases the spe- tinct racial identities h
lumps together a wide- cific narratives of different com- explained and justified
ry diverse and distinct munities of color. The word cannot year because many don'
s- serve and benefit? be used interchsangeably with the value or necessity.
e fall back on hesitant names of certain racial or ethnic Why does it make s
"minority," "person of groups when discussing the lived uncomfortable to name t
nulticultural" when dis- experiences, stories or struggles of es for what they are? Why
f describing the specific specific identity groups. Doing so like we have to water the
d experiences of partic- suggests that people of color expe- make them less identity-
nd ethnic communities? rience racism and other obstacles repeatedly assert that the
about a very defined in similar ways, when in fact, these to everyone" in order t
#BBUM that could pos- issues are often manifest different- mate? For many student
anyone to use "minor- ly across different contexts. spaces of survivabilityo
ts" instead of "Black As a non-Black person of color, While collective "mul
while referring to the racism and ignorance are a real spaces for people of col
nd the issues it raises? part of my own college experience. term itself may be useful
Differences and complex But when it comes to the diverse contexts to promote into
s between communities responses of the #BBUM campaign, nity solidarity, we should
ords such as "minority" I do not and cannot try to co-opt or to dismiss the particular
sed synonymously or in relate to these experiences that are ing needs and challenge
'ecific group names. not mine. As a "minority," no one on ent racial communities.
hool's definition, I ama campus has ever assumed that I'm
at Michigan. I am includ- from Detroit. No one has ever asked -Zeinab]
t-percent sector of the to touch my hair. No one questions reached at zkhai

use of my
people who
o? It's cer-
rd "minor-
ations that
end where
with hints
have seen
s on cam-
erted into
d spaces in
ralism and
ral Center
nts in the
who orga-
ered space
was later
ial College,
ural show"
en. Black
o student
and other
upport dis-
ave to be
year after
't see their
ome of us
these spac-
y do we feel
em down or
specific or
ey're "open
o be legiti-
s, these are
on campus.
or and the
i in certain
n't allow it
and press-
s of differ-
Khalil can be


Though Michigan doesn't meet the stan-
dards created by the National Commission on
Children and Disasters, the state does require
schools to practice six fire drills, two tornado
drills, and two other safety drills -- one of
which must be a lockdown drill. Some school
districts have gone even further, creating
their own emergency evacuation plans.
The lack of the policy's uniformity across
Michigan's school districts, however, is cause
for concern. By leaving these plans up to the
discretion of local districts, affluent com-
munities have access to better precautionary
plans. Schools that don't have the resources
to fully consider and implement plans are

putting students at greater risk than their
peers in wealthier districts. Legislators must
take into consideration economic solutions
for districts who are unable to afford proper
emergency evacuations plans.
In the meantime, school districts should
look for gaps in their current emergency haz-
ard plans that are easy and affordable to rem-
edy. Having one entry point into the building
and putting locks on the inside of classrooms
are simple solutions educators could imple-
ment immediately. Parents must understand
and explain to their children their school's
emergency hazard plan to help create a more
prepared environment if disaster does occur.

We can't give up on the ACA

Have you ever had the perfect chocolate
chip cookie? One that's just soft enough, has
the perfect amount of chocolate chips and
sugar, and is flawlessly
complimented by a glass
of milk? Growing up, I
was lucky to experience *
the sensation of eating just
this type of cookie many
The Jones' house was \
always my favorite to go to
when I was younger. Cole PATRICK
Jones, one of my child- MAILLET
hood best friends, was one - ---n s
of seven children raised by
Sam and Patty Jones. Although the kids each
added a particular element to the house, Sam
and Patty were really the two that gave the
house the character that I loved. Above all
else, Patty added the single most important
characteristic of all: her famed recipe for
chocolate chip cookies.
No matter what was going on, I knew that
I could always go to the Jones' house and
receive a great meal, usually a cookie, and a
warm welcome. It was my home away from
Last month I received a phone call from
my mom. Her voice cracked as it always does
right before she delivers bad news. Patty
Jones had had a seizure the night before and
was taken to the hospital where they found
a sizable tumor in her brain. Patty was diag-
nosed with advanced-stage brain cancer.
My heart dropped when I heard the news.
Patty was the epitome of a healthy and active
woman. Famous for riding her bike dozens
of miles a day, Patty was in great shape and
seemed like the last person who could get
sick. But as it always does, cancer showed me
once again that its victims were those who
you would least expect.
While dealing with the initial shock of
hearing that a mother figure from my child-
hood was facing a fatal diagnosis, my mom
gave me possibly worse news: Patty doesn't
have health insurance. Suddenly my emo-
tions were overcome with the practical asser-
tions that come with that statement. I knew
that medical bills are the number one cause
for bankruptcy in the United States. Worst of
all, I knew that instead of focusing on beat-
ing cancer like she should, Patty was going to
have to figure out how to pay for her skyrock-
eting health costs.
Last week I talked to Patty's oldest daugh-
ter, Gina, who has taken the lead in caring for
her mother. Although Gina sounded strong
and confident in her mother's ability to beat
cancer, I could tell that she was frustrated
with the endless loops that she had gone
through in the past couple weeks. Like mil-
lions of Americans, Gina and her mom have

repeatedly gone onto healthcare.gov only to
be led to a dead end.
They've tried callingthe help line and they
were told that there is a plan that Patty quali-
fies for, but that it wouldn't go into effect until
January 1. When Gina tried looking into pri-
vate insurers, all of them were uninterested
in Patty's preexisting condition and resound-
ingly rejected her plan. Until January 1, Patty
will have to pay for everything out of pocket.
So far, Patty has received a brainbiopsy and
a craniotomy to reduce the size of the tumor.
These procedures cost $51,000 and $49,000
respectively. In four weeks, Patty will begin
a radiation and chemotherapy treatment plan
in which each round of treatment will cost
anywhere between $20,000 and $65,000.
These numbers are staggering, but luckily
Patty has the love and support of her fam-
ily and friends. In fact, Gina and her siblings
have started an account on giveforward.com
for their mother and have raised $53,000 and
What about those who aren't fortunate
enough to have a team behind them for their
battle against cancer? Who makes the phone
calls to every neurosurgeon on the East Coast
for these people? Who has their back?
The Affordable Care Act was a giant step in
trying to help millions of uninsured Ameri-
cans while also lowering costs for those
already insured. Unfortunately, the rollout
for the ACA has been an absolute nightmare.
Healthcare.gov has countless bugs that are
leaving millions of people without answers as
to how they are supposed to meet the March
31, 2014 deadline of signing up for health
The ACA undeniably has its flaws, but the
need for reform is still very much alive. There
are approximately 48-million uninsured
Americans. These people aren't bottom-
feeders or slackers -- they're our family mem-
bers, our neighbors and, in some cases, our
favorite cookie bakers. To simply forget these
people amongst all of the political banter that
has, and will, continue to be thrown around
would be a travesty.
Health care is a right, not a privilege. The
ACA needs some serious work, but giving up
on healthcare reform now would be a massive
step backward in fixing our broken system.
The political back-and-forth surrounding the
healthcare bill overlooks people like Patty
Jones - people who can't wait for the Repub-
lican answer to what they call an "insidious"
law. They need coverage, coverage that's not
hinging on legislative plays.
If anyone is going to beat cancer, it's Patty.
But we need to make sure asa country that we
have Patty's back.
- Patrick Maillet cars be reached
at mailletlumich.edu

Kaan Avdan, Shank Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Rima Fadlallah,
Eric Ferguson, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Aarica Marsh,
Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Adrienne Roberts,
Matthew Seligman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
'Why do you care ? You're not even Black!'

The title of this article echoes the
exact words that were yelled at me
in my Arabic class just this week by
a fellow Arab-American student.
Prior to presenting on Jamal 'Abd
al-Nasser, my colleague opened his
University e-mail in front of the class
to access his project. The title of the
email he sent to himself was "My
N****' Nasser." While I didn't initial-
ly notice or say anything, I was sworn
to secrecy by a friend in the class not
to say anything after I was informed.
I complied until I was eventually
forced to choose between complicity
and moral obligation.
In between snickers and giggles
- as if this was a light-hearted mat-
ter - that same friend who swore
me to secrecy commented on her
disbelief to the presenter that he
would have written and, at the
very least, displayed such words
in front of the class. Perhaps over-
come by guilt, shame or challenge,
my colleague waved his arms in
the air and assured loudly that no
one in the class cared, and it was
fine. While entitled to his freedom
of expression, he's not entitled to
make assumptions about mine. I
cared. I interjected simply to tell
him so, and that's all it took for him
to condemn me with: "Why do you
care? You're not even Black!" This
was then followed by "So what if
I'm racist? I'm a racist, so what?"
In the midst of campus climate
and the ongoing Theta Xi disgrace,
there are so many things I could
have, and should have, said. But
what seemed more personal was
that my colleague was not only a
fellow classmate, but also a fellow
Arab American. The explicit racism
in his use of the "N" word and his
misunderstanding of its history are
appalling and wrong. But he, and
seemingly the other silent students
in my class, didn't find fault enough
to speak up about this, nor about his
implication that I surely should not
care about race, as I'm not Black.
I cannot speak on behalf of other
cultures, races and ethnicities,
but I can speak on my own expe-
riences - my experiences as an
Arab American whose culture has

been informed by anti-Black ideals.
Our culture is beautiful and proud,
but the ugly truth behind my col-
league's comments and e-mail sub-
ject line isn't a reflection of what we
as Arab Americans and peripheral
communities want to stand for, and
it is certainly not a reflection of my
own beliefs. Of course, I cared. And
I didn't have to be Black to do so - I
only had to be human.
Again, I can only comment on my
own experiences, and those experi-
ences included multiple occasions
of my aforementioned classmate
using the "N" word to casually refer
to friends. Others and I corrected
him, but he missed the point. To
clarify to him and other bigoted
individuals, there is no "cool" way
to use this word as you suggest.
You sound ignorant, elitist, rac-
ist and foolish when you use it to
refer to your friends or classmates,
and neither you nor the person you
are addressing is Black or African
The "N word" has an incredible
history of injustice and oppression
that cannot be ignored, and that's
perpetuated every time you appro-
priate it. Again, while it's not mine
to claim, what I have observed
and learned is that the Black com-
munities who were originally held
in contempt by the "N" word have
redefined it to empower them-
selves and define their history of
struggle. You have no right to it,
and neither do I. As the use of the
"N" word spreads and becomes
more common, you infringe on yet
another right of Black and African
Americans - as if the institutional-
ized racism in this country has not
been thorough enough. And now,
because you use the "N" word and
carry the same brand that I have
been labeled with in America, oth-
ers assume that I stand for this, too.
Please stop.
As a community that has over-
all been quite successful in Amer-
ica socioeconomically, we as Arab
Americans have empowered our-
selves materially and forgotten the
richness of our past. When we appro-
priate words that we have no right to,

we become the colonizers, the impe-
rialists and the neoliberals who tore
apart our countries because we were
not 'fit' or 'civil' enough for self-rule
and self-determination. When we
are passive about these daily occur-
rences, we play into the power struc-
ture in America that is systematically
influenced by its racist past - and
We have simultaneously helped
create and played into a hierar-
chy of races, the highest of which
is the white male that we strive
to become. We distance ourselves
from blackness with lighthearted
comments affirming our neither
white nor Black status - "Oh, I'm
sun-kissed" or "I'm olive-skinned"
are among my favorites. Why do we
do this? Why do we strive tobecome
what we should rightfully despise?
Why is it acceptable that the root of
empowerment in America for Arab-
Americans and other marginalized
groups is anti-blackness?
I can't even deny this reality
in my own life. Growing up, I was
told not to stay outside for too long.
What would the neighbors or our
relatives say if I was too dark? And
not to mention the way that Arab
American communities refer to
Black and African Americans as
'abd or 'abeed, meaning slave. Have
we forgotten the Arab slave trade
and the systematic discrimination
likened to apartheid that exists in
our beloved Palestine?
It's logical and right that we are
therefore the natural allies in this
intra-campus struggle that has
thankfully found its way into the
national spotlight. The race and
diversity issues that we face at the
University of Michigan are merely
a microcosm of greater issues in
America and elsewhere. From an
Arab American's view, our cultural
ideals are in need of re-evaluation.
We are not alone in needing to reex-
amine and amend our thinking,
traditions and statements when it
comes to allying with the Black
struggle. These events are our call
for mutual solidarity.
Samia Ayyash is an LSA senior.

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