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April 17, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-17

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4A - Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
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.
Keeping it clean
Michigan should invest more money into clean energy research
ntario Power Generation, a government-owned electric company,
recently proposed the development of a nuclear waste facility less
than a mile from Lake Huron. Citizens have raised concerns about
the proposal since some of the waste materials were found to be "hundreds of
times more radioactive" than originally reported to the Canadian government.
Radiation in Lake Huron could harm Michigan lake-based industries such
as tourism and taint the source of drinking water relied upon by millions of
Americans. Though some forms of clean electrical generation such as nuclear
energy are more beneficial to the environment than coal-fired plants, the
negative effects must be addressed first. Michigan should continue to work
closely with the Canadian government and regulatory agencies to prevent the
development of the proposed facility and formulate viable alternatives for the

Dreams from my sister

This is my last week in
Washington, D.C. but my
mind is in only one place:
Beaumont, Royal
Oak's psychiatric
ward, where
my sister, Caity,
has been since
Friday. She
herself that
night for fear JAMES
of her own BRENNAN
safety, having
suicidal thoughts as a result of
her continuing battles against her
own mind.
Some of you may have become
familiar with my sister this year on
campus. You may have read one of
her columns in The Michigan Daily,
been served by her while out at The
Brown Jug or recognized her as the
outspoken 23-year-old sophomore
in class. what you probably
wouldn't have realized, though, is
that since she was a small child, my
sister has been fighting a myriad
of mental health challenges, from
depression to anxiety to bipolar
disorder. You also probably didn't
know of her struggles this semester,
on and off various antipsychotic
drugs in an attempt to control
increasingly perplexing problems
and side effects.
Mental health issues have long
been in the closet, but they no longer
can be. My sister's story is one of
millions that needs to be heard.
I need to make it clear that
Caity is not just any other person.
I'm obviously biased because I'm
her brother, but it's true. This is
a girl who had set her heart on
Columbia University in elementary
school because "Harvard is too
conservative" and who began on the
honors track in middle school. She
had mastered the German language

by 16, was a state championship
contender in mock trial at 17, and
then moved to Europe, alone,
at 19. By age 20, she was able to
communicate in French, Flemish,
Swedish and Spanish with little
formal training, all while working
as a fashion design assistant and a
nanny full time.
But, like many others, my sister's
brilliant mind is at war with itself
every single day, often crippling her
abilities to go to school, work or,
some days, hold a coherent thought.
In my short lifetime, I've seen
far more suffering from mental
health issues than any single person
should. In middle school, I saw
my sister mourn the loss of one of
her best friends, who committed
suicide at 15. Two years later, I was
calling an ambulance after my sister
swallowed three bottles of pills
in an attempt to end her own life.
Shortly after that, one of my older
cousins killed himself while only in
his20s. I've had my share of mental
health issues as well, fighting
suicidal thoughts and spending
countless hours in therapy.
If I've learned anything from
my experience with mental health
problems, it's that it needs to stop
being treated so differently from
every other ailment. A person
suffering from bipolar disorder
is like a person suffering from
cancer or diabetes. This isn't a
matter of choice or control; their
brain chemistry is malfunctioning
and needs treatment to function
properly again. Their body is
physically not working, much like a
sick patient with a failing immune
system. The only difference is that
their symptoms come out in their
thinking and behavior. People are
rarely "crazy" - more often than
not, they're actually very sick.
Like with other health-care
issues, the people who are worst

off in this area are the poor and
the middle class. Since my father's
untimely death in 2011, my family
has been scraping by. My mom's
job provides health care, but there
are numerous gaps, especially for
mental health. I get sick to my
stomach in fear of my sister losing
coverage or running outof money for
medication. She has the potential to
do truly amazing things, impressing
me and countless others everyday
with her intelligence, her charm
and her writing. Without help, she
loses the chance to make the most of
these gifts. I try not to think about
it, but am constantly reminded
of the hundreds of thousands of
homeless and poor without any of
the help Caity and I get.
This is a problem that cannot be
solved by talking. This needs to be
treated like the public-health crisis
it is, and we need to put our money
where our mouths are. Federal,
state and local governments need
to invest more in insurance and
facilities for mental health, while
schools need to provide counselors
and educate students on psychiatric
health like any other public-health
problem. This needs support from
our tax dollars, our charitable giving
and our treatment of individuals
with psychiatric problems.
The mentally ill are not just
patients in hospitals. They're the
untapped potential in our schools
and the silently suffering masses
in homeless shelters. They're the
depressed suburban mom and the
schizophrenic old woman struggling
to maintain sanity. They're our
friends, our neighbors and our
family, and they're very, very sick.
They need help and we have the
means to give it to them.
What are we waiting for?
- James Brennan can be
reached at jmbthree@umich.edu.

disposal of nuclear waste.
Clean energies harness essentially abundant
resources- such asthe sunorwind - to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and improve the
quality of the environment. Nuclear energy is
a unique form of energy generation because
it's almost entirely free of greenhouse gas
emissions and thus can ameliorate air quality
concerns. Additionally, clean energy industries
have the potential to stimulate job growth and
the economy. As of 2010, the state of Michigan
had more than 70,000 "clean"jobs. In Michigan
alone, the nuclear facilities support more
than 2,900 employees and buy more than $117
million worth of materials, supporting related
Michigan companies.
Yet, there are several negative consequences
from these clean energy options. Though
nuclear powertis efficient, nuclearwaste
disposal, like the process that would happen
in the proposed site, is hazardous due to its
radioactivity. These drawbacks,however, aren't
limited to nuclear energy. Wind turbines have
shown to reduce bat populations by more than
600,000 in a given year because of the pressure
changes associated with the blades. Similarly,
solar panel waste is toxic and can pollute water
supplies when improperly disposed of.
Though these problems are detrimental,
there are relatively straightforward solutions

to mitigate the effects. Proposed solutions for
the bat population problem caused by wind
turbines include the incorporation of radar
or ultrasonic acoustics, painting turbines
different colors or taking animal territory
into consideration when placing the turbines.
However, there is still not enough knowledge
to fix all of the drawbacks of clean energy
since the integration of these technologies is
relatively recent. Two years ago, researchers at
Michigan State University studied a bacteria,
Geobacter, which could clean up nuclear waste.
However, the bacteria is not yet able to be used
for large-scale cleanup. For many clean energy
sources, it is still unclear how to preserve the
environmental benefits while reducing the
negative effects associated with them.
Clean energy has the potential to be an
environmentally and financially sound
solution despite its drawbacks. More money
reduce and even eliminate the negative effects
of clean energy. There should also be more
regulation to further ensure the prevention
of environmental mishaps. Initiatives focused
on the environment can reduce the stigma
of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's failing
environmental grade and make Michigan a
frontrunner in environmental policy.

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
When all you do is talk the talk

Giving life to the debate

As an institution, the University constantly
calls for totalinclusivity, diversity and tolerance.
Unfortunately, it fails to ensure such principles
in a number of contexts. One glaring example
can be seen within the conversation around
abortion. As a leader of Students for Life, I
have firsthand experience with the suffocating
chokehold the University has placed on pro-life
viewpoints across campus. I believe that the
way in which the University blatantly supports
abortion has extremely detrimental effects
acrosscampus.The onlywaythisUniversitycan
meet its full potential and live up to itspromises
is to allow its students to think for themselves
in an environment where inclusivity, diversity
and tolerance are genuinely celebrated and
not smothered.
Currently in Lane Hall, the University -
more specifically, the Department of Women's
Studies and the Institute for Research on
Women and Gender - is hosting a pro-abortion
exhibit titled "4,000 Years for Choice" that has
offended and ostracized many pro-life students.
There are some students that are appalled that
the University would use taxpayer dollars
to fund such a one-sided display on such a
contentious issue. Others are horrified by the
exhibit's claim that "abortion is a gift from
God." However, I have come to expect such
things from my University. From hearing it
link pro-life ideology and terrorism together
to discovering that it offers practicum courses
with volunteer time at Planned Parenthood, at
this point, it is hard for the University to shock
me with its sponsored partisanship.
Still, this latest stunt is exceptional for avari-
ety of reasons. "4000 Years for Choice" is not an
event; it is a constant stream of propaganda. It is
on display in Lane Hall for an extensive amount
of time, through the end of this semester and
throughout all of May. Each student who enters
Lane Hall during this time will immediately
be bombarded with messages that we should
"applaud" abortion activists and "praise" the
illegal abortionists of the past. The exhibit even
contains directly political overtones by its call
to "celebrate Roe v. Wade." In addition, it prop-
agates insanely paradoxical statements that
abortion is "life-affirming," "a gift from God"
and that "religious freedom = abortion access."
This exhibit belongs at Pro-Choice America
fundraisers and National Abortion Federation
conferences (where, unsurprisingly, its creator
has had displays in just the past year alone), but
it does not belong in Lane Hall. If it were to be
on campus, students who support it should have

brought it - not paid for with taxpayer dollars
and officially promoted by the University.
The fact is that the University-does not have
the right - and it certainly does not have the
ability - to create a consensus on campus that
abortion is an accepted and moral practice.
In fact, on a national scale, the exact opposite
consensus is gaining traction. Gallup reported
in 2012 that pro-choice Americans were
at record-low numbers and that a majority
of Americans now self-identify as pro-life.
However, Gallup further reported that the
majority of Americans hold the perception that
the majority opinion in the United States is pro-
choice. This misjudgment is directly related to
institutionalized partisanship that can be seen
in University-sponsored exhibits like that of
"4000 Years for Choice."
Looking past this exhibit and into my own
experience at the University, what really
saddens, discourages and frustrates me is that
the disdain the University shows for pro-life
values converts a space thatwas designed for the
flourishing ofintellectual discussion and debate
into an environment of exclusion, stagnancy
and intolerance.
I am tired - as are the thousands of other
pro-life students at the University - of being
force-fed ideology.
Teach us how to think, not what to think.
Let us discuss and debate as students and
faculty in community together, and allow
genuine conversation to take place without
presupposing the conclusion.
I am tired of my fellow students being too
scared to speak up as pro-life in the classroom,
in the Diag and in our social circles.
I am tired of being at parties and having peer
after peer "confessing" to me in a whisper that
they share my pro-life convictions. Students
should not have to draw off some liquid courage
before being able to speak about how they truly
feel about abortion.
Yet the University ensures that pro-life
students know that they and their beliefs are
unwelcome here and I am tired of it. It's time
for the University to stop sponsoring events
like "4,000 Years for Choice" that create a false
sense of pro-choice unanimity on campus. The
University owes it to us, its students and its own
incredible legacy as a place of higher learning to
stop dictating debate and'thereby allow mean-
ingful intellectual discovery and growth to
take place.
Taylor Crookston is an LSA junior.

The first thing that I noticed were
her shoes. Not because of their color
or their style, but because of what
they were doing. As we walked down
4th Ave towards East Liberty, me
about 25 feet behind this stranger,
I watched curiously as her feet
wandered across the sidewalk. Ittwas
clear there was some kind of pattern.
She would start near the center of
the pavement and then slowly drift
outwards towards the curb. After a
few paces with her shoes hugging
the edge of the pavement, she would
gradually shift back towards center
again. Her movement was not jerky,
like a child's when trying to hop
over cracks in the sidewalk. It was
smooth and natural, creating some
sort of wave.
But what was most unusual about
her path was not what it looked like,
but why she was doing it. This way of
walking is somethingI often do when
I see some kind of obstacle in the
distance: a dead animal in the road, a
pothole, a drink someone spilled. But
whenever it came time for me to walk
across a square of sidewalk that she
had just crossed, I didn't see anything
worth avoiding. Maybe she's just an
aimless walker, I thought, or maybe
she's confused about where she is
going. But as I looked up from the
most recent slice of sidewalk I had
been examining to assess where her
shoes were this time, I saw him.
About 60 feet ahead of us a mid-
dle-aged Black man sat to our left on
a bus bench. As we both neared him,
I several paces behind this woman,
I looked on in bewilderment as her
path began to shift right ever so
slightly. The process was so gradual,
I doubt that she noticed it herself.
But I did. In every step she took for-
ward, she shifted a little bit further
away from him, creating a buffer
zone between herself and this man.
As we passed him and continued
down the street, she slowly started
moving back inwards until her shoes
were once again in line the center of
the sidewalk. I tried to make sense of
what I had observed as I witnessed
her repeat the same swerving pattern
with each of the three subsequent
black people we passed as we walked
along the bus station. Although my
gut was telling me her behavior was
motivated by race (or more accurate-
ly, racism), I did what we millenials
are often trained to do and strained

to find and any remote justification
that I could as to why it was not about
race (see: "It's about hip-hop, not
race" a la Theta Xi, and "It's a cele-
brationoftheirculture" saidbyevery
person ever who has worn a "Native-
American" Halloween costume).
I considered that she didn't like
to be near people at all when walk-
ing down the street, regardless of
race. Maybe she was having a private
phone conversation that she didn't
want overheard. She could have
thought that the people waiting for
the bus wanted more space and was
trying to be polite by moving over.
But as I settled on the idea that I had
simply jumped to conclusions and
misjudged her, I witnessed some-
thing that gave me pause. At the cor-
ner of 4th Ave and East Liberty, there
was a white man washing the win-
dows above the Kuroshio Japanese
restaurant. Standing in the middle of
the sidewalk with a sponge attached
to a long metal pole, he was dripping
water down the black awning of the
restaurant and all over passersby. If
there was anyone to avoid, this man
seemed like the one, for no reason
other than he was actually busy doing
something that was messy for anyone
within a few feet of him. When she
approached him, however, she didn't
change her course at all, causing him
to have to stop what he was doing to
move out of her way.
As I turned left down East
Liberty and she continued straight
on 4th, I realized that this is exactly
the kind of subtle, hostile behavior
that I, and people who look like
me, face every day. This girl never
outright said "I would prefer not to
walk near Black people if I can avoid
it because something about them is
distasteful to me," but she didn't
need to: her shoes spelled it out on
the sidewalk. And honestly, I don't
even think she knew what they
were writing. This type of hard-to-
name, often subconscious glimpse
of racial prejudice accounts for the
majority of racism I experience
on campus. Unfortunately, I think
this kind is the hardest to fight,
because even though I know I
am experiencing racism, others
often just see oversensitivity or
When I try to pinpoint for them
exactly what clues me in to the event
being about my race as opposed to

being about my demeanor, my gender,
my verbal intonation, my outfit, or
anything else about me, Iam often at
a loss of words. Trying to do a deep
dive into every social interaction
to carve out and categorize the
nuances of someone's behavior isn't
something Ican or am willing to do.
In the same way thatI, as a straight
person, know that if someone doesn't
like me it has absolutely nothing to
do with who I love, when someone
white on this campus feels left out,
ignored, misrepresented, or unheard
it will never have been because of
their race. And because it is never
about race for you, it makes it that
much more difficult for you to
identify and understand when it is
about race for me.
Sometimes you'll just have to
trust that even though I can't really
describe what every instance of
racism will look like, I always know
it when I see it. I see it in the flash
of surprise that crosses someone's
face when I tell them I am a
chemical engineer, as they try to
reconcile how someone can be both
Black and pursuing STEM. I see it
in the empty bus seats next to Black
people, when people are standing
despite the fact that there is clearly
a seat available. I saw it in this white
woman's shoes, as she layered an
invisible barrier in between herself
and black strangers but didn't do
the same with a white one.
Because the thing is, these days
you don't have to call me a nigger,
wear a white-hooded cape, or burn
a cross on my front lawn to let me
know that who I am, the way that
I am, isn't always welcome here.
From your perspective, you might
just be walking forward carrying
on with your life, but from mine
a few paces back, I can see you
silently inching to the right. My
experience walking behind you
all these years has forced me to be
aware of things that you physically
don't have the perspective to see.
But just because you can't or won't
see them doesn't mean they're not
happening. Maybe one day I'll catch
up to you. Walking side-by-side,
there will be no gap for either of us
to witness. But until then, the first
thing I'll notice is your shoes.
Ryan Moody is an
Engineering senior.

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