4 - Fridlay, April 18, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4- Friday, April 18, 2014 The Michigan Daily - nichigandailycom
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS 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.
Fighting Molly (and other drugs)
Education and treatment are the best way to combat drug use on campus
According to recent reports, the use of hard drugs on campus
may be on the rise. While the popularity of marijuana is a well-
known cultural trait of Ann Arbor, harder drugs and misused
prescription medication pose a real threat to the safety and well-being of
students. In a recent news report by the The Michigan Daily, not only is
illegal usage of prescription drugs on the rise, but students who took the
Student Life Survey reported an increase in use of other hard drugs such
as Molly. The University can address this troubling trend by supporting
students who may be suffering from drug dependence or abuse by better
advertising the extensive resources for students.
ffyou've ever felt white guilt--.
S top. Stop right now and
reflect on the power of your
guilt. See the privilege that
is embedded in
despite your ,
the impact of
All of these MAJA
white guilt burns
rampantly among our vast white
student population. The emotion
is infiltrating individual minds,
but this is not an isolated incident.
White guilt is a socially constructed
reaction to socially constructed
racial divisions. It is a purposely
instilled emotion that is taught to
be regarded as an appropriate and
beneficial reaction. But who is it
appropriate and beneficial for?
By gathering several accounts
from my white peers at the
University on the inner workings
of their white guilt, the list of what
situations bring out guilt is endless.
Here on campus, some mentioned
that white guilt crawls up when
they go out to a party and see one
person of color among a sea of
whiteness. For others, guilt wiggles
in when a person of color is serving
them in a restaurant. Some stated
that it sneaks out when they notice
themselves as one of the few white
people in a space. These situations
and many more cause white guilt,
because in that moment individuals
are attaching misconceptions
and wrongful perspectives onto
students of color. In these many
moments, people of color are seen
as perpetual victims.
As students of color live and
learn alongside their white peers,
they're seen as unfortunate and
victims. Their very presence
ignites white guilt in some folks.
People of color are regarded as
victims even in situations that don't
directly place them in the hands of
victimization. As students of color
enjoy their time going out, working
and attending classes, some white
people regard their experiences
as lacking and tragic. Yet, some
white students who feel guilt
believe they're being good white
people by recognizing racism in
As a collective, we're m
to believe that solely rec
the victimization of people
is anti-racist and progres
reality, personifying "vict
a body of color is dehum
It attaches a suffocating n
and ignores the beau
wonder that comes with a
identities. Believing people
are perpetual victims is
perpetuation of white su
Those moments that eli,
don't signal instances of
Instead, they're mome
which white individuals 1
power to reduce an indiv
the oppression that they
white guilt rises, so does th
that people of color are
tragedies that cannot be jo
take pride in their identity.
In today's society, t
lie white people are col
to believe is
oppression and whit
white privilege it
no longer choke
our nation. W
But as some
rise above this t(
notion and learn
that, in fact, C
very being, white guilt
scurries to the top. The se
we learn implicitly is th,
guilt is a good and usefulf
A powerful narrative exi
aligns white guilt with
awareness and empathy. F
white guilt functionst
individuals crippled from
real empathy and enact
change. The goal of white g
absolve white guilt. It's not
meaningful and selfless
And perhaps the most F
aspect about white guilt is
able to blind people into 1
that the change they're t
create is dismantling st
of racism. Ultimately, wh
aims to inflict change that
in preserving white p
dissolving the accom
the beliefthatwe are "good
In addition, white gui
our interactions. When
guilt creeps into conve
it turns the focus away f
experiences of people of color
isguided and onto the emotions of the
ognizing privileged. Instead of listening
of color and empowering people of color,
sive. In the space becomes dominated by
im" into the need to comfort white people.
anizing. Once again, whiteness expands to
larrative assume control.
ty and Dangerously tied to the feelings
ll racial of white guilt is the amount of
of color power and agency that's being used
another as the emotion arises. White guilt
premacy. shows its face when an individual
cit guilt independently regards a situation as
racism. racist or an individual as oppressed.
nts in This means that white people
have the ultimately assess which facades
idual to of our society and existence are
face. As problematic and racist. Even if a
e notion person of color were to state that
walking something is oppressive, it takes
yful and white individuals to decide if their
words are true. This sounds an awful
he first lot like the workings of a corrupted
lectively police force. Whiteguiltgives agency
to white people
to act as moral
e guilt is harmful. saviors. It gives
does not allow white people the
power to turn on
hite individuals their sirens and
see people of as they push
their way into
olor as equals. communities.
quickly the power to decide what is
cond lie defined as a crime and who
at white needsoto be saved.
emotion. White guilt is harmful. It does
ists that not allow white individuals to see
h racial people of color as equals. It detracts
lowever, from the conversations and actions
to keep that need to happen. It's a display of
feeling power, not empathy. The emotion
ing real comes from classifying people of-
;uilt is to color as less than and as doomed
to create victims. This is very problematic, yet
change. it remains hushed and unchallenged.
powerful We need to question the existence
that it's of white guilt, because its aim only
believing further blinds us and keeps racist
rying to structures in operation.
ructures Go back to the top of this article
ite guilt and revisit my commands. Revisit
's rooted them again and again until they
rivilege, sink in. Until they challenge your
npanying definition of justice and humanity.
restoring Until they dispel you of your
"people. intoxicating guilt. Until you too
lt stifles reach a place beyond guilt.
The University should work to ensure that
students who are suffering or fear they may
be suffering from drug abuse or dependence
have a place to go. The University Health
System has a program for substance abuse
called the University of Michigan Addiction
Treatment Services that students can utilize.
However, the existence of the program needs
to be made more visible and more accessible.
CAPS also provides some counseling on drug
abuse and diagnostic screening, called the
Assessment of Substance Abuse Patterns. In
order to promote the use of these services, the
University needs to make sure students know
they exist, and provide information on how to
best utilize them. Furthermore, students who
have used illegal substances maybe reluctant
to seek help for fear of self-criminalization. It
needs to be made clear through standardized
and frequent statements to patients,
prospective patients and in literature about
the programs that patient confidentiality
will be maintained with the utmost care and
to the highest degree allowed by the law.
Information about available resources should
also be provided in orientation materials and
activities, and be prominently featured in
the AlcoholEduonline educationprogram
- or a similar substitute - to be completed
by incoming freshmen. Proper publicity
and education may allow more students to
recognize the signs of dependence and utilize
University resources to seek treatment.
Though it may be hard to track the degree
at which these prescription drugs - such as
Adderall and Ritalin - are being used illegally,
the main problem lies in the fact that students
aren't aware of the various harmful effects that
such drugs can have. In order to help students
avoid potential dependency on prescription
drugs, the University needs to educate students
about the health problems that arise from
their usage as well as the resources available
to students for help with any drug-related
problems, such as UMATS and ASAP at
CAPS. However, this information could be
more meaningful if it came from a network of
students. This would create an environment of
community awareness, as opposed to the one of
ambiguity and danger currently surrounding
the issue. Most students may not be aware
of the effects these drugs have on the body,
and informing them of these effects through
a network of fellow students could spread
awareness in a relatable way.
The current state and federal drug policies,
created to discourage druguse, exacerbate the
problemofaddictionand abuse insome,though
certainly not all, cases. It is important that the
University makes student wellness a priority
when crafting its own drug policies. In some
cases, programs and warning systems that
work with students to reach the source of the
drug problem might be better than
taking a hard line against all drugs in all
circumstances. Administrators should
work with law enforcement authorities and
addiction and abuse specialists to ensure a
way to legally handle violations of the drug
policy on a case-by-case basis. Because illegal
drug abuse cannot be consistently caught by
law enforcement, when a student is caught it
is important to provide them with the help
they may need. Doing so will help create
a safer campus for all students. Forty-one
percent of violent crimes against college
students were committed by perpetrators
perceived to be under the influence of
drugs. Further, there is a strong correlation
between drug use and incarceration for not
only possession of illegal substances, but
for other crimes as well. Of all inmates, 82.2
percent self-reported using illegal drugs. In
order to help students lead healthy and safe
lives, the University has a responsibility to
not simply punish drug use, but also work
with students by providing support and
pathways to recovery.
- Maja Tosic can be reached
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Barry Belmont, Edvinas Berzanskis, David Harris, Rachel John,
Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh,
Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Linh Vu,
Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
ZANIB SAREINI I
LAYAN CHARARA I
Learning to see color
When I check off "white" on applications, I
think of the woman who taught me English. She
immigrated to the United States 22 years ago,
leavingbehind a country torn apart by civil strife.
When I ask if she ever wants to return to Leba-
non, she says she can't. I ask this ofmy mother on
a regular basis, and her answer never changes.
That doesn't make it any less painful to hear.
Taghreed. The song of birds. When birds
chirp, I hear my mother's laughter. I replay
the memories she's recounted to me hundreds
of times in her voice that is my only solace -
memories of a childhood stolen by war. My
mother changed her name when she received
her U.S. citizenship. She grew weary of hearing
it mangled by American tongues.
Don't forgetcwho taught you how to use those
words. My mother is an educated woman. She
holds degrees in journalism and business. She
read, wrote, and spoke English years before
moving to America. And yet, when the slightest
hint of her accent surfaces, she's immediately
dismissed as inferior. Demeanors shift upon
encountering "the other." My mother is not
worthy of attention and respect because she's not
"from here" - whatever that means. We've been
given white status and denied white privilege.
Please specify your race/ethnicity. I struggle
with race and identity politics daily. Not a day
passeswithout reflecting on my position among
my peers and questioning my attachment to a
land I have not stepped foot on inover 10years. I
am only beginning to understand what it means
to be a woman of color. As a white-passing
person of color, I have privileges my darker-
skinned and veiled counterparts will never
possess, and for a very longtime, I despised this
about myself. In the Arab World, my fair skin
and light eyes are coveted. Here in the United
States, I find myself desperately longing to look
the part of an Arab woman, brokenhearted by
the global obsession with Western standards of
beauty and perturbed by the surge in whitening
cream sales in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf
If I peel off the topmost layers of my skin, will
I find color? Convincing myself that passing
as white does not strip me of my identity is an
everyday task. When my friends question why
I hold onto the Arabic language and culture for
dear life, I want them to understand that they
are my life. I often find myself envious of the
lives my parents once led, even though the very
reason we are here is that they would never
wish them for my siblings and me. It's hard to
appreciate the freedoms and opportunities
America boasts when I don't always feel
Oh, I went clubbing in Beirut once! Non-
PoCs, my ears will not be your audience in this
matter. This is not about you (read: personal).
This is about the systemic racism that subjects
my people to "random" screenings and reduces
them to collateral damage. This is about the
anti-blackness that has rooted itself in my
community. This is about the struggle to love
oneself when confronted with so much hate.
Before you tell a person he/she doesn't look
**insertrace/ethnicityhere*,be mindful of the
feelings that may invoke. Don'tusethatline as a
method of tokenization. We're not here for that.
Color is not binary. Identities are fluid. Peo-
ple come in many shades, and it's important to
understand that they are all difficult to navigate.
It's not a matter of white versus non-white. It's
a matter of giving people the space they require
to negotiate their feelings and experiences.
I no longer seek others' validation and
affirmation of my thoughts and feelings. When
I say I am a woman of color, it has nothing to
do with my skin and everything to do with
the plight of my people. Refugee camps are
dispersed across the terrains of my heart,
tearing at its seams - this gives me color.
The call to prayer is recited as an explosion
is heard blocks away - this gives me color.
People who dream of returning to their home
one day - they give me color. I am a woman of
color, and I have every right to identify as such.
Layan Charara is an LSA junior.
I thought it would be cool to
reflect on the past four and a half
years of my life.
Then I laughed.
Ilaughedbecause thatwould take
much more out of me than I could
even imagine. I found myself at this
university. I found my passion at
this university. I found my future
at this university. I loved at this
university. I lived at this university.
I learned at this university. And
most importantly, I laughed. Some
laughs so entertaining they would
cause rib pains. Other laughs
so conflicting they stemmed
They say laughter is the best
medicine. I'm the girl laughing
three days in a row at the same old
joke. Laughter is my medicine. It
cures all. It cures my bad days. It
cures my discomfort. A day without
laughter is a day without coffee
and I need my coffee. I need my
I have been challenged. My
laughter has been challenged.
For how exactly does one laugh in
moments of discomfort? Though
my moments of great comfort are
plenty, my moments of discomfort
will forever be more prominent and
vivid in my mind. My identity has
been questioned, my values have
been challenged, and my actual
being has been discriminated
against: all within the same space
that I found myself, that I found my
passion, that I found my future, that
I loved, that I lived, that I learned
and that I laughed in.
I still laugh. I laugh because
being able to find humor in
discomfort is my equivalence to a
diamond in the rough.
My name is Zanib and I am an
ally of the #UMDivest movement.
I am a senior at this university, a
senior. Sometimes I am unsure
whether to cringe or smile over
this. A senior, I cringe as I wish I
had been involved earlier.
This is the first time I was
involved in a movement that SAFE
has pushed forward. Why now? I
witnessed my fellow students be
silenced. I watched as a crowd filled
with my best friends, my peers and
my allies were silenced. This was a
huge reality check for my previous
conceptions and perceptions of the
dynamics of my own campus.
I am no longer able to laugh.
I cannot find humor in such
Smiles turned to uncomfortable
looks. Open arms were closed
tight. Polite gestures became
discriminating screams. My
favorite t-shirt that reads "I feel
home" is now one I can barely look
at, let alone wear.
Home is a safe space. Home is
a comfortable space. I have never
felt so uncomfortable in my 21
years of living. I no longer "feel
home." I no longer feel safe. The
#UmDivestSitin was such an
empowering peaceful movement.
And I say that with confidence
and am allowed to make this
statement because I got to see it
for myself, every day. It was safe.
It was comforting. It felt like home.
The only "violent" part of any of
this was the horrible words from
outside forces that cut like knives
through the hearts of every single
member of this movement.
And so I wish I was involved
earlier. And so I wish I was more
informed earlier. But I am involved
now and will forever stand in
support of these courageous
A senior, I smile as I look to
those who will continue to inspire.
The students and allies involved in
SAFE are truly the most inspiring
group of people I have had the
pleasure of being a part of. There
is nothing that can break the bonds
formed in the Edward Said Lounge.
There is nothing that can break a
movement with members as strong
as this one. So I smile. I smile that I
had the opportunity to be a part of
this as my last semester comes to a
close. I smile at my fellow peers who
will continue to work and stand
for what they believe in. I smile as
everyone who came together for
this cause did it with pure love. I
continue to smile at strangers the
same way I've done all my life; only
they no longer smile back.
I am no longer able to laugh.
I cannot find humor in such
We lost our safe space when
that sit-in ended. Confusion and
uneasiness swept us all, as we no
longer knew where to turn. We
could no longerleaveclass and make
our way directly to the Edward Said
Lounge; where we laughed, smiled
and cringed: together.
But I will continue to smile
because our safe space has been
recreated in each of our hearts; a
connection of love that can never
Zanib Sareini is an LSA senior.