Page 4A -- Friday, October 17, 2014
The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com a
Page 4A - Friday, October17, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom *
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.
Breaking the silence
Clear communication is crucial if CSG is to connect with campus
The Central Student Government voted down a proposed
resolution on Oct. 7 to condemn the killing of Michael
Brown and to stand in solidarity with the protestors of
Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was a Black teenager who,
though unarmed, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson
in Ferguson. In response to his death, the protesting citizens
of Ferguson were met with forceful police action of various
forms including tear gas and detainment. This has lead to a
national debate on police militarization and legal treatment
Restoring the roar ofDetroit
have a bad history of being a
fan of losing sports teams. The
Detroit Tigers didn't post a
for the first 13
years of my life. I
for the Chicago
Cubs, who haven't
won a World
1908, from my
dad. Somewhere DAVID
in there I was HARRIS
able to fit in the
Detroit Lions. I
promise I still had a good childhood
Eventually there comes a point
where the losing is embraced -
specifically on t-shirts. Though
the greatest shirt in Detroit sports
history will always be one that
reads, "DON KELLY TAUGHT
MEGATRON EVERYTHING HE
KNOWS" (there really isn't a need
for explanation there, it's official
dogma of the Church of Detroit
Sports), perhaps the most enduring
one to describe the past three-
quarters of a century is a Detroit
Lions shirt thathas allthe design and
makings of a conference champions
shirt but instead of "Conference
Champions" reads "Conference
Participants." This shirt has become
my go-to apparel for all important
sports games in which the Lions are
participating in, as well as the games
they are not. And one of those games
the Lions have been guaranteed not
to play in: the Super Bowl.
One thing stays consistent
at every Super Bowl party: the
constant making fun of the Lions
fan in the room. Trash talking is
inevitably part of sports culture, but
there's a special sadness from the
soul of any football fan for the Lions;
it's simply no fun to make fun of a
team that has won nothing. So when
the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the
stage for the half time show at the
Super Bowl earlier this year and
their drummer, Chad Smith, who
grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Mich,
had an insignia of the Lions logo
(among other teams) on his drum
set, everyone said, "Look! The Lions
finally made it to the Super Bowl!"
Somewhere during the Seahawks'
43-8 victory over the Broncos the
attention shifted from the game out-
come to the various 25-cent bets we
would make on the game (Will Pete
Carroll be chewing gum in the 3rd
quarter? Over-under on number of
times Peyton Manning says "Omaha"
on this drive: 7) and even Super Bowl
Bingo. Eventually someone asked
me, "Hey David, would you rather
have the Lions continue to not make
the Super Bowl, or make it and get
obliterated like the Broncos?"
It's an easy answer: of course I'd
rather see the Lions make it all the
way than fall short of glory. But
somewhere that question highlights
a deeper perspective.
Somehow missing field goal after
field goal to start the season still
hurts even when you've become
numb to the losses and feelings of
sports heartbreak no longer register.
Somehow every year restores the
confidence that "this is our year,"
with no bearing given to past results.
Theunofficial sloganofthe Lionsfor
the past 50 years has been "Restore
the Roar." It's still the slogan this
year, and it's possible it will be next
year too. But nobody thinks about
next year yet, because just maybe
this is the year.
Somewhere in the seemingly
endless despair the Lions have
apparently become a microcosm of
the city of Detroit. Not only has its
as participants, Detroit has lacked
any description of a "winning" city.
It flirts with escape, yet continually
toils in depression, stuck in an age
it can't seem to escape. But there
persists the attitude that the Roar of
Detroit too will be restored.
For the past few years, Ford Field
has been one of the loudest stadiums
in the NFL. It has no name for its fans
like the "12th MAN" of the Seattle
Seahawks or the "cheeseheads" of
the Green Bay Packers. The fans at
Ford Field are nothing more than a
bunch of Honolulu-blue-clad people
with tickets who show up to support
a football team.
So too are the people of Detroit.
There's no collective identity that
defines a Detroiter, no classification
of who the citizens of Detroit are.
They are simply people. And when
a lot of people get together for the
same cause, theymake alotofnoise.
Gov. Rick Snyder said during the
gubernatorial election debate last
week that, "Detroit never had a
brighter future." The Lions haven't
won a Super Bowl yet. Detroit still
has its myriad of problems. But
the bright future of the city shines
through. Its people show up time
and time again for the city because
just maybe this is the year not
just for our football team, but for
- David Harris can be reached
The CSG resolution was proposed Sept. 16
and then postponed from a Sept. 23 meeting
to last Tuesday. Though three amendments
were passed, the overall resolution was
ultimately rejected. It's reasonable to assume
that the extensive scope of political and legal
complexities and unknowns surrounding the
events in Ferguson fall outside of the CSG's
capacity and role on campus. However, a
lack of explanation from CSG has caused an
outrage amongst members of the student
body, who are questioning the rationale
behind the decision.
Regardless of whether or not the resolution
should have been passed, CSG has begun to
demonstrate a patterned failure to clearly
communicate with students, a key factor in
public backlash and anger. Following the
rejection of last Tuesday's resolution to stand
in solidarity with the people of Ferguson,
little to no public explanation was offered
for the decision. Similarly, in March 2014,
a lack of official explanation or statement
was offered following CSG's decision to
table a high profile resolution backed by
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.
The resolution called for the University to
divest its interests in companies accused of
violating human rights of Palestinians in the
West Bank and Gaza. CSG initially decided to
permanently table the resolution without any
clear justification. This resulted ina response
from hundreds of students, including
members of SAFE and its supporters to have
a sit-in at the Michigan Union in protest.
In addition to these incidents, while
the CSG website does provide detailed
minutes of Student Assembly meetings, it
only lists meetings up to April 2014. After
cross checking with documented Student
Assembly minutes, it appears that the most
current resolution posted on the website is
from February 2014.
Passing down judgment and decisions
without a clear explanation leaves the rest
of the student body in the dark. Rejected
resolutions receive little feedback and thus no
direction for how to edit, rewrite or proceed
with their championed cause. Unexplained
rejections or approvals of resolutions create
a sense of randomness to the process, as few
people outside the Student Assembly and
CSG understand the underlying logic.
Though members of the Central Student
Government shouldn't be expected to give
individual explanations, after each vote over
a resolution a spokesperson for the majority
opinion in the Student ;Assembly should
consider providing a statement for why they
came to their decision. This would allow for
increased transparency and could provide
the student body with closure and allow for
improvements to rejected resolutions.
In general, there have at times been a
relative disconnect between the student
body and CSG that needs to be mended, and
CSG can begin this process by improving
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John, Nivedita Karki,
Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Linh Vu,
Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Embracing our differences
Acceptance not tolerance
Cultural dances can be deeply rooted
into an individual's past, becoming
a part of their childhood memories
and adult lifestyles. Even
on a busy and modern
campus like Michigan,
there are still those that
embrace their heritage and
share it with the rest of us.
I had a chance to talk with -
Howie Magaro, co-captain
and choreographer for the SARA
Michigan Bhangra Team, SIHAMASKIN
to see how his group has
become a part of campus
while still holding true to
the customary basis.
Bhangra is a Desi-originated dance,
meaning it arose from Pakistani, Indian and
Bangladeshi culture. The dance was originally
meant to celebrate the harvest season, with
different elements to represent the farming,
growing and reaping of the crops. Since
then, the dance has become an international
performance, inspiring competitions
throughout college campuses and large
conferences. Magaro tells me that the
perception of Indian dance is quite skewed,
for many immediately think of Bollywood,
and that the go-to thought of regular dancing
today is only ina modern style.
"When we think of dance, we think very
narrowly, in terms of either hip hop or some
type of Latino dance like salsa. Nobody really
knows of or has been exposed to the Indian
types of dance. It is very exciting to watch,"
Though the dance's popularization has
vastly increased over the past forty years,
there are still several ties that allow the
meaning and integrity of the Desi cultures
to shine through. Whether it be by means of
dances like "'Fasla' that represent the wheat
going back and forth with with your arms," or
with the traditional dress like thepaagturban,
the turla headpiece or the salwar kameez
harem pants. These clothes, though old in
tradition, are now put into a modern concept
in order to be showcased in performances.
For those outside of the Desi farming
culture,it'simportant toview the displayofthe
traditional Bhangra dance, clothing and props
to learn about what has been so ingrained into
this society. By understanding, and in turn
appreciating, another's cultural practices,
tolerance disappears and acceptance takes its
place. Tolerance doesn't allow us to open our
minds to experience how others may interpret
events, such as a harvest. But acceptance
enables us to willingly compare and contrast
our own events, bridging one's own culture
Too many times has tolerance been viewed
as a progressive moment, as if we are allowing
some other person with values different than
ours to continue on, unopposed by us. This
isn't a way in which people of varying cultures
- especially on a college campus - should be
interacting with other students. We should
have acceptance be our goal, not tolerance.
Acceptance allows the playing field to be even.
If there is a discrepancy, a rift begins and then
disunity prevails. Being a cultural perfor-
mance group at the University, the Michigan
Bhangra Team has worked with other groups
as well, promoting themselves, their lesser-
known culture and other groups on campus.
"We've collaborated with various student
organizations ... such as some LGBT groups.
We are very active notonly in the Indian orga-
nization, but we have a very good relationship
with the Central Student Government."
We can see that there is an extensive
amount of diversity on our campus. From the
groups that perform on the Diag and at Hill
Auditorium, to the dozens of tables promoting
various cultural fundraising and appreciation
groups during Festifall. If we attempt to
homogenize the University, what will we have
to offer as students to the campus, and as
members of society to the world?
The experiences that we have while in the
confines of this University will dictate how
we understand or disparage others and their
culture, views and values. Our Michigan
Bhangra Team has become a strong cultural
force on campus, but is merely the tip of
the iceberg in terms of cultural groups that
promote and illustrate to the masses the
aspects of their cultures that are unique and
should be shared with the rest of us.
- Sara Shamaskin can be reached
My fifth grade teacher used
to invite the girls to stay
in the classroom during
lunch and talk
we've faced. Our
simpler back then,
but my classmates
and I still brought JENNY
up experiences of WANG
on a fairly
One person felt alienated from
Christian friends discussing the
Bible because she was a Muslim.
Another felt awkward because
she didn't speak English as well as
her friends did. Another felt alone
because the Black character in the
book she was reading didn't talk at
all like she and her family did. We
all sat there and listened carefully
(as well as fifth graders could).
There was no way we could have
experienced everybody's struggles
in the same way, but somehow, we
all understood each other. It was
this wonderful little setting where
we all saw each other's differences
and still treated each other with the
respect we deserved.
I'm not sure when the shift hap-
pened. Middle school? High school?
At some point, I seemed to have
bought into the idea that not seeing
our differences was some kind of
societal ideal. And that seeing differ-
ences - race specifically - somehow
made you racist.
A few weeks ago, I was walk-
ing with a friend, and we happened
to talk about race as a "social con-
struct" (that phrase likes to get
thrown into all sorts of contexts).
"Look," my friend said, "if the color
of your skin has nothing to do with
athletic ability or intelligence or
really anything that we value in our
society, then why do we still make
such a big deal out of it? We might as
well just stop 'seeing it' altogether."
Certainly, I think most of us
(should) agree that race has nothing
to do with our talents and potential.
All races are created equal. But a fact
that my friend ignored was that all
races are not socially created equal;
all races are not socially treated as
equal. We continue to marginalize
people of color, not just in the out-
side world but also here on campus
(think of the experiences brought
forth by #BBUM and the audacity of
the Hood Ratchet Thursday Party).
From micro-aggression to the sys-
tematic exclusion of minorities, race
continues to be salienttoday.
But on the flip side is our identity.
Even though outsiders continue to
call out and notice our race, many of
us still seem to embrace this racial
identity. Perhaps it's difficult to
understand why, given all the stigma
attached to one's race, we still strong-
ly embrace being called Black, Asian-
American, Latin@, etc.
Skin color is one of those things
that stays with me wherever I go.
Maybe I can hide my sexuality, my
class or even my gender, but race
is here to stay with me, whether I
want it to or not. It is permanently
attached to how others see me and
treat me. So like all groups that
have felt stigmatized, our options
are either to embrace ourselves or
hate ourselves. This may sound like
an extreme, but there are so many
cases of this: think nerds or gainers,
who've also faced stigma but now
have formed social communities to
reclaim their identity as something
positive and uplifting. Our desire to 4
rise up and give ourselves agency
amidst overwhelming feelings of
shame is a way to give meaning to
OK. So yes. Racial groups continue
to face discrimination and stigma.
And racial groups, in response, work
to reclaim their identities. But that
doesn't change anything, right? A
colorblind society isstill an ideal, just
maybe not now?
Given how frustratingly persistent
stereotypes are, I don't see us
devaluing race anytime in the near
future. Nor do I see minoritiesletting
go of the culture they've created and
shaped. The counter-culture formed
by marginalized groups has deep
roots in our American identity and *
history; they are here to stay. And
that, I think, is not a bad thing at all.
Somehow we've been taught to
think that by seeing one's color,
we can't treat them with respect
and dignity. We've reduced Martin
Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"
speech to a platitude that supposedly
calls for a colorblind society. But
I believe, in order to make real
progress, we need to rethink what
we consider ideal. We need to learn
not only to tolerate one's racial and
cultural differences, but also to
embrace this difference as a marker
of who we are as individuals.
- Jenny Wang can be reached
We must be accountable for the facts with a
response that is timely and takes
responsibility for error. Without this we
break trust with our stakeholders."
- University President Mark Schlissel said during opening remarks
at yesterday's meeting of the University's Board of Regents.