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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Page 3A -Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Page 3A -Thursday, September18, 2014

be *idian 0atv
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
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.
Defining the Michigan man

n the wake of the Michigan men's
basketball team's successful season last
year, the news of both Mitch McGary's
failed drug test and
subsequent decision to
leave for the NBA was
startling. Failing they
NCAA-administered drug
test left McGary with a
one-year suspension from
play, and reportedly forced
his hand in his decision
to begin preparing for LAUREN
a career in the NBA. MCCARTHY
The University Athletic
Department attempted
to appeal the decision in
early April, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
Acornerstone ofthe Michiganbasketballteam,
prominent leader and enormous personality was
leaving campus - and the stpdents responded.
Many defended McGary, claiming that the
punishment did not fit the crime. It was argued
that McGary had only smoked "just this once,"
and countless students and fans maintained that,
nonetheless, McGary would forever in their eyes
be considered a "Michigan Man".
The definition of a "Michigan Man" is
generally understood to be an upstanding, loyal
and passionate individual; someone who is not
only dedicated to the values of the University but
who also embodies those virtues in his everyday
actions. Bo Schembechler, the legendary
Michigan football coach of 21 remarkable
seasons, is universally regarded as a "Michigan
Man" and remembered for his superior ethics.
However, there are more "Michigan Men" out
there who do not coach a sports team, and (sorry
Bo)they hail from alloverthe country and planet.
Too often is this term used to describe or
commemorate the obvious candidates: the
athletes who herald championships or the select
few campus leaders who run Central Student
Government. The University of Michigan has
nea , 0,00 undergraduate students, more,
than 15,000 graduate students, and yet for years
on end those who often lead the discussion about
who deserves to be categorized as a "Michigan
Man" select from only a small pool of students
when crowning whom they believe deserve to be
categorized as "MichiganMen".
I can't comfortably justify Mitch McGary
as the epitome of a "Michigan Man", not when
there are countless other students, alumni

and faculty who are far more dedicated to
the embodiment of true Michigan values.
This campus is littered with unsung heroes
and passionate leaders who deserve the
recognition of the student body as well as
student publications. They may not be lead
scorers or team captains, and nonetheless the
contributions they make to the University are
oftentimes significantly more pertinent than
almost winning a national championship.
With a trend of personality journalism on the
rise, many writers, publishers and producers are
all too concerned with their own public image -
trolling their social media sites and shamelessly
promoting their articles or on-air appearances
via their personal, online platforms. This
industry is sliding into a worrisome environment
of ownership, neglecting to focus on their
subjects and their stories and too often inserting
themselves into the discourse.
In a community as expansively rich as this
campus, I view it as wildly irresponsible not to
invest the time and energy into seeking out the
"Michigan Men"(and women) who I have heard
of time and time again:the friend of a friend who
has impacted many through his or her unfailing
kindness and grace, the boyfriend of a sorority
sister who started a revolutionary new student
organization or the quiet classmate who subtly
mentionstheir involvementin andutter devotion
to social justice on campus.
A "Michigan Man" (or woman) is an
individual who is rooted in tradition, yet seeks
innovation and strives for constant progress.
He works within the rules, while also making
the rules work for him. A "Michigan Man" takes
full advantage of the opportunities provided by
the Michigan community, while also lending
a hand to those who may be less advantaged. A
"Michigan Man" is intent on being a successful,
well-educated and fair citizen who invests his
time back into the betterment of the University.
He takes pride in the institution as a whole, as
well as his own personal accomplishments. A
"Michigan Man" is a loyal, steadfast and true
leader, who rises to the occasion and inspires
others to do the same.
Please assist me in finding these Michigan
men and women on campus (students and
faculty alike), and please e-mail me at laurmc@
umich.edu with suggestions.
- LaurenMcCarthy can be
reached at laurmc@umich.edu.

HEMA KARUNAKARAM I
T,
There's half a tube of Fair and
Lovely in the bottom drawer of my
bathroom. I haven't used it in years,
but I can't bring myself to throw it
out. Scattered elsewhere among the
drawersaretubesofFaireverMantra,
Vicco Turmeric Fairness Cream, and
Himalaya Fairness Cream, all in
various states of usage. Part of me
hates that I've used these products. I
should be above all these superficial
notions about ideal complexion by
now. But part of me clings to them
- clings to the insecurity I've had
since I was a little girl about the color
of my skin, clings to my subsequent
obsession with lightening my skin
and changing people's perceptions
of me.
I am Indian-American, and I am
dark-skinned. To be specific, I'm
closest to HTML color #A0522D, or
what I call a "dull mocha." They say
it's genetic; but save for my maternal
grandfather, I'm the darkest person
on both sides of my family. So? It's
just the color of my skin - it's not
who Iam.
Or at least it shouldn't be.
The societal preference for light
skin is no new phenomenon in
India. Billboards promoting fair
skin are embellished with the face
of actress Katrina Kaif - who is in
fact half white. Commercials feature
girls who've used fairness creams
getting movie offers from the likes
of noted director Rakesh Roshan.
Matrimonial ads ubiquitously seek
women who are not just smart and
talented, but, more importantly,
fair-skinned. These unrealistic
expectations and their effects on
the self-esteem of women in India
has been well documented and
frequently discussed. But the bias
toward light skin isn't confined to
India. It's traveled across the world
to Indian-Americans as well, and has
followed me for the 19 years I've lived
in the U.S.
This isn't a subject I generally feel
comfortable discussing because it
seems ridiculous that such notions
persist in a country as diverse as
the U.S. For all the education and
awareness about equality found
in America, Indian-Americans
seem, too often, to still harbor this
preference for the fair-skinned.,
Indians in America are proud to

treat other races with respect, but
they often overlook - or in fact
perpetuate - the bias that occurs in
our own community. Sure, there are
plenty of Indian-American youths
who proudly decry Fair and Lovely
ads and eagerly support looking past
skin color. But there are also obvious,
unforgettable instances in which
I'm reminded of how being dark is a
bad thing.
I have been told to my face, here
in America, that some people will
never find me attractive because my
skin is too dark.,I have heard with
my own ears, here in America, that
character is the most important
factor in assessing a potential Indian
groom, but a potential Indian bride
must first and foremost be fair-
skinned, and therefore beautiful. I
have seen people right in front of me,
here in America, judge afair-skinned
Indian as likely more intelligent and
successful than a dark-skinned one.
All the self-esteem promotion out
there is great to see, to hear, to nod
at - but it's not helpful in a world
where people are still judged by
their complexion.
Young girls are repeatedly told
not to idolize what they see in the
media, because "no one actually
looks like that." To that end, I don't
think I've ever wanted to look like
Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor or
any other fair-skinned Bollywood
celebrity. My insecurity comes from
frequently, being surrounded by
Indian-Americans who are lighter
than me and keenly being made
aware of that fact. And thus I keep
wishing I look more like my fairer
peers. Because my skin isn't glowing
against the lights like everyone else's
when I'm on stage. Because I'm the
least visible person in that picture
taken outside at night. Because I
can't borrow my friend's makeup,
whose colors wouldn't suit me. These
are simply facts that naturally arise
from differences in complexion, but
I've been brainwashed to repeatedly
look at them in a negative light.
When someone calls me "dark," I
take it as an insult. The problem, I tell
myself, isn't what they've said - it's
my reaction. I reassure myself with
the copious amounts of research
I've done, almost obsessively, on, the
science of complexion (jn short: you,

Jncomfortable

can darken your skin, but you can't
lightenit). Ilookinthemirrorandtry
to accept myself for who I am. And
then I hear a joke the next day about
me looking "dull" or "invisible." Cue
the incessant water consumption,
the herbal remedies, the salon face
bleaching, and the use of one of those
tubes from my drawers for another
week or two. I know I'm so much
more than the color of my skin, but
somehow that one trait has become
one of my primary identifying
features over the years - and it's
stuck as something wrong with
myself that I can never change.
I have dark brown eyes, black
hair, long fingers, a birthmark
above my left knee, and, medium-
dark brown skin. That's what I
look like, but it doesn't define me.
I'm a student, a leader, a dancer,
a writer, a musician, a daughter
and a friend. That's what defines
me, and that's who I hope people
accept me as. But reality is not
so simple. No amount of writing,
discussing, or convincing will
likely make me truly comfortable
in my own skin. So for now I turn
to the new Himalaya Clarifying
Fairness Face Wash on my desk I
bought yesterday, knowing fully
well that it won't do anything for
my complexion, but hoping anyway.
Author's note: This piece has
been nearly three years in the
making, but it still rings just as true
today as it was when I first wrote it.
I had the opportunity to present a
version of this piece at this year's
Yoni Ki Baat monologue show - a
big step in the long journey toward
my self-acceptance. Finally, I am
ready to take a giant leap, to be
vulnerable in front of the largest
audience in the world: the Internet.
Although emotions may evolve over
time, these words have an impact
on me every time I read over them
- reminding me that no matter
where we go and no matter how we
change, we carry our experiences
forever in our back pockets.
Michigan in Color is the Daily's
opinion section designated asa space
for and by students of color at the
University of Michigan. To contribute
your voice or find out more about MiC,
e-mail michiganincolor@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Barry Belmont, 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
The power of place

LINDSEY LAIRD I
Arts as a means for womens issues

In my opinion, art can be an extremely
accessible, sensitive and diverse medium. If
we are looking in the right places, we can find
voices in art that are not typically included in
mainstream discussions. One of these is the
voice one of women, specifically women from
other parts of the world that are operating
under different cultural and social norms.
The first artistI'mbringingto the forefront
is Amanda Heng. Heng is a contemporary
artist currently living in Singapore. Her
exhibit seen above is entitled "Missing."
The picture isn't incredibly clear, but the
work is a collection of white paper mkch6
dresses in a black room. Heng created this
piece as a memorial for the female victims of
infanticide. Female infanticide is the killing
of a female child before her first birthday.
Selective female fetus abortion is considered
female infanticide since it represents the
same desire. Currently, female infanticide is
a prominent phenomenon in places such as
China, India, Taiwan, Korea, Bangladesh,
Nepal and Pakistan.
Though sex-selective abortion is illegal in
most places worldwide, it remains a significant
issue in countries where the rejection of
females and desire for male children is deeply
rooted in the cultural fabric. One source of
this desire for male children is patrilocality,
which is practiced in many of these countries.
Patrilocality is the custom by which a woman
leaves her birth family to join her husband's
upon marriage. This allows sons to care for
their aging parents while daughters aren't able
to offer this security net to their family. Dowry
payments upon a daughter's marriage are
another custom that causes strain (though this
time economic) on families with daughters.
Additionally, the one child policy announced
. in 1978 in China has drastically increased the
number of female infanticide victims. With the
possibility, nowadays, to determine the sex of a
fetus prior to birth, sex-selective abortion is the
most common form of female infanticide.
Female infanticide offers us another lens
through which to view the common Western
and American feminist debate on abortion
rights. If one were to enter into a discussion with
a feminist living in one of the aforementioned
societies,theirstanceonabortionwould probably
be influenced by the prevalence of female

infanticide. While notwantingto speak forthese
women, I speculate that they wouldn't be as
fervent in their advocacy for cheap, widespread
access to abortion. Obviously, I'm not suggesting
a regression of the progress the pro-choice
movement has (or hasn't...) made in America
and other countries. I'm simply suggesting that
Western pro-choice movements are limited to
their own cultural circumstances. Because of
this, I'm advocating for us to incorporate into
our stance on abortion the very real, yet different
realitiesofwomenlivinginsocietiesandcultures
thatplace greater importance onmale children
You may be wondering why it is important
for us to have these cultural sensitivities when
thinking about issues such as abortion in the
United States. For one, we need to recognize
that our (America's/the West's) actions often
have far-reaching consequences throughout
the global realm. This, in and of itself, may be
a problembut is often still the case nonetheless.
As anexample, one can clearlyseethe influence
of the West even in the origins of feminism in
China in the late 19th and early 20th.
Liang Qichao's 1897 essay entitled "On
Women's Education" makes it very clear that
much of the early thoughts on and progress
made for women in China had to do with the
West's approach to similar issues. An excerpt
from his essay states, "If we were to have a small
schoolboy from the West walk side by side with
our majestic and aged official-scholars, the
boy's varied knowledge and ambitions would
certainly exhibit features with which our
scholars could not compete" (Liu 194).
This quote shows how Chinese scholars of this
erawerebothcompetingwithandtryingtomimic
the West. (For more essays and information on
the beginnings of Chinese feminism reference
"The Birth of Chinese Feminism" cited below).
This pattern of influence is one to be cautious of
even in the 21st century.
Secondly, it's obviously important for
us, as students and scholars, to broaden
our knowledge of women's issues globally.
This will only strengthen our own feminist
movements and studies at home aswe attempt
to take a more nuanced and culturally aware
approach to issues such as abortion.
- Lindsay Laird can be reached
at lairdlk@umich.edu.

n an intellectual sense, the
University isn't lying when
it boasts about diversity on
campus. The
sheer number
of academic
programs t
available puts w
even Harvard
- sorry, the
Michigan of ERIC
the East - to FERGUSON
shame, and
creates a vibrant
body of students with unique
backgrounds and differing
viewpoints. The University has
its share of excitement as well -
it has attracted President Barack
Obama here three times since
2010, and a century-old obsession
with football turns campus into a
madhouse on a regular basis. All
of this and more makes this town
the most interesting place to live
in (and, somehow, the second-
best city in the United States for
dating. Go figure).
But Ann Arbor isn't always
the best place to be for four full
academic years. Study abroad and
away programs provide unique
opportunities to learn, intern,
use language skills and mature
on a personal level. These places
offer students of all.majors new
opportunities and a different
brand of excitement than the
norm, and thanks to copious
amounts of scholarship funding,
they have become increasingly
accessible to students in
recent years.
In other words, all of us at
Michigan face a question: If not
Ann Arbor, where?
For this American politics
and international relations-
obsessed Public' Policy major,

Washington, D.C. was the only
answer. I spent last winter
taking classes and interning
there through the Michigan in
Washington Program, and it was
the Holy Grail of off-campus
undergraduate experiences. The
work experience was interesting
and useful, the classes were
unique, and living in the heart
of D.C. afforded me some of the
best access I may ever get to its
attractions - from congressional
hearings and rallies on the Hill to
events hosted by institutions such
as the Bipartisan Policy Center
and the Atlantic Council.
It's hard to find flaws in
the city to which you intend
to move after graduation, but
D.C. doesn't have the kinds
of spaces good for thinking,
reflectingand working without
interruption that are spread all
over the University's campus.
The tradeoffs, though, more than
made up for that particular weak
point. In addition to the seats of
all three branches of government,
famed and historic landmarks
like the Lincoln Memorial, the
Smithsonian's National Air and
Space Museum and the National
Mall were all accessible on a
whim. And in all of their fame
and history, these places within
a placechanged me in ways no
internship, book or Mason Hall
class could have possibly done.
Let me give you an example.
One frigid Thursday night late
last January, my roommate and I
decided to brave the cold and go
down to the western end of the
Mall. The city was nearly as dead
at 11 p.m. as Ann Arbor usually
is at 4 a m., and seemed about as
safe. We made our way through
the city, down past the long

Reflecting Pool and to the steps
of the Lincoln Memorial. It was
my roommate's first time there,
and he listened to Martin Luther
King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream"
speech while standing where he
once stood - a fitting act for a
future civil rights lawyer.
Afterwards, we moved on
to what I wanted to see for the
first time: the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial. Few places in D.C.,
Ann Arbor or elsewhere compare
to this, and entering it that night
was one of the most powerful
experiences I have ever had.
As my roommate and I started
walking along the Memorial
Wall, it rose from just 8 inches
to over 10 feet tall - the height
of one American soldier's name
to several, to dozens and then
scores of names etched into a
sober sea of burnished black
granite. It immersed us in the
memories of those lost in a war
overwhelmingly rejected by a
generation of college students,
for whom conscription rendered
it far too close to home. Even now,
back home in Ann Arbor at last for
a little while longer, it lingers in
my mind as both a memorial and
a reminder of how devastating
governmental failure can be for
nations at war.
That night, those thousands of
names seared the human costs
of war into my mind in a new
and very permanent way. I am a
better person for it, and will (I
hope) make a better policymaker
someday as a result of that
experience and my time in D.C.
That place is my answer.
What's yours?
- Eric Ferguson can be
reached at ericff@umich.edu.

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