Page 4A - Monday, October 20, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
(R didli an 43 gy
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 solelythe views of their authors.
Forget your selfishfears
s of Oct. 15, Ebolahas claimed
the lives of 4,493 people out
of an estimated 8,997 cases
, The already
weak health care
the affected West
under the ever-
of newly infected
patients, and there
seems to be no
foreseeable date as
The Inclusive Language Campaign was
launched by Student Life with the
stated goal of wanting "to encourage
the campus community to
consider the impact of their
word choices on others."
The premise is noble. More
so in a town like Ann Arbor,
where in any given class-
room or restaurant booth, a
multitude of characters and
identities are likely present.
Words are a powerful TYLER
thing, and taking the SCOTT
initiative to help reduce
the frequency with which
certain labels or remarks may affect the
general happiness of a person is a worthy cause.
Especially when considering that all the ILC
is asking of its participants is to give a second
thought to language and the way we employ it.
Yet, any time the capacity for human
expression is diminished I'm wary about
jumping on board. More than likely, it's an
indication of my own privilege that I don't
necessarily believe that anyone should be kept
from expressing themselves using whichever
words they please - yes, even the worst ones.
That sort of behavior should be regulated
not by an institutional campaign, but by daily
social justice, and the ILC is only a substitute
for exactly this.
The most lauded line from supporters
of movements like the Inclusive Language
Campaign always draws a firmbut unclear line,
stating that we should all steer clear of using
any term that someone may find offensive ...
because you never know who's listening.
Practically, there is one major problem
with this. Spoken language - and not just the
bad parts - is inherently shaped and molded
by popular use. As we continue to grow and
chase ignorance out of the corners of social
awareness, both society and individuals learn
more about how terms that used to be common
exchange are now taboo, offensive.
It's a good thing we keep an ear out for our
everything starts to look dirty. For example, in
this column it has been exactly one-and-a-half
sentences since I linguistically marginalized
over half of the world's population.
I could vouch to use fellow men, women,
transgenders, non-indentifiers and others for
the purpose of inclusion. But does it do any
good if I spend less time writing - less time
trying to spark conversation - and more time
worrying about how someone could see this
and might getoffended?
Of course, anyone in the same camp as I
am who uses the timeless "sticks and stones"
proverb as justification for being an ignorant
ass is a liar. Words contain all the hatred and
menace in the world, along with all the beauty,
and they're as effective a tool for ruining
someone's day as anything else.
However the ILC puts the burden on the
speakers of these words, and as only a social
movement itself, it is a far cry from anything
resembling censorship, but I would rather
make a mistake and be corrected than clamp
my tongue for fear of my own ignorance and
I was telling this to a friend. And in
between breaths when I was extolling the
profound worth of unrestricted human
expression, communication and creativity,
she said something that I glossed over at the
time - she probably thought I didn't hear her
- but I did, and it resonates with me now.
"Sometimeswords can really bother people."
She said it, and with the expression of
someone who knew personally what that was
like. She wasn't talking about being offended;
she spoke of being truly hurt.
I'm notsure that it changed my mind any, but
it completely transformed my perspective, and
suddenly I saw the ILC in new light.
On a societal level, I still believe that
withholding remark for fear of offense is
detrimental to social discourse and progress.
However, on an individual basis, the ILC
becomes less about expression and more about
how personal thoughts and beliefs take shape.
Inclusion becomes less of a term used to
mean including the possibility for others to
disagree, and more about listening to more
than a singular internal voice - more about
considering the position, experiences and
value of other human beings.
Even using the worst ethnic slur in the books
is not as crushing to the soul as when someone
doesn't care, considering in my own life the
number of times I have failed at listening.
Times when, both intentionally and as a result
of my own arrogance, I concluded that besides
agreeing with me, there wasn't a whole hell of a
lot else to add to a discussion.
It means more than hurting someone's
feelings. The saddest and most meaningful
consideration the ILC should raise is a
consideration for the sheer multitudes of
others who at this point are probably pretty
well convinced that I don't truly care about
anything they have to say.
Unfortunately, they may have been right.
The very existence of the ILC speaks to the
magnitude of this phenomenon. So many of us
say so many things, hardly without pause for
The Inclusive Language Campaign isn't
about how we should speak. What it's really
about is how we listen.
- Tyler Scott can be reached
of Ebola may finally come under
control. Adding to the uncertainty,
broadcast reports detailing Ebola's
increasing dissemination across
West Africa elicit scenes from "I
Am Legend" and other zombie
apocalypse films, which can seem
pretty terrifying. Because of this,
Americans are left wondering
when the disease will make its way
from the streets of Monrovia and
Freetown to their own picket-fenced
blocks. Though these concerns
may seem legitimate for reasons
of public health and safety, they
are indeed farfetched, and frankly,
Yes, there have been a handful of
cases of the virus to date in the Unit-
ed States since March, when an out-
break of unidentified hemorrhagic
fever in Guinea was identified as the
Ebola virus. In August, two Ameri-
can missionaries working in Liberia
contracted the disease while abroad,
and were flown stateside under quar-
antine in order to receive treatment;
both were released from the hospital
at the end of the month after having
been deemed disease-free. Drawing
considerably more headlines was
the infection of Liberian Thomas
Eric Duncan, who contracted the
virus in his home country before
traveling to Dallas to visit family.
Duncan began showing symptoms
of Ebola in Dallas, and eventually
died while undergoing treatment.
Two nurses assigned to Duncan's
case subsequently contracted the
disease while caring for the dying
man, and have now been flown to
centers in Atlanta and Maryland in
order to receive treatment.
If these cases are exaggerated,
then it could be said that Ebola has
begun to spread within American
borders. But in viewing the reality
of the facts surrounding these cases,
they are indeed isolated incidents.
only contracted the disease as they
routinely came into contact with
the man's bodily fluids; contrary to
popular conception, this is the only
way to contract Ebola. Furthermore,
the two cases of United States-
originated Ebola pale in comparison
to the number of cases of other,
everyday diseases. Influenza and
pneumonia, for example, though
both completely treatable, combined
are the eighth leading cause of death
in the United States. There are
definitely much more worrisome
public health concerns in the United
States than the slight chance of an
Scientists, the President and even
Fox News - whose viewership,
according to a study from 2003, has
been found tobe positively correlated
with political misconceptions -
have tried'to make this fact clear in
an attempt to calm public unease.
However, politicians are still
posing query into the truth behind
the few cases of infection in the
At a hearing last Thursday, for
example, the men and women of
Congress interrogated Dr. Thomas
Frieden, the director of the Centers
for Disease Control, about how two
health care workers could have been
prone to infection given the nature
of the quarantine under which Mr.
Duncan was placed. The caliber and
tone of the questions implied that
they doubted claims that the disease
isn't contagious through airborne
The doubt under which expertsin
the medical field are being placed by
our congressional leadership is toxic
to the public's views on this disease.
Instead of listening to experts,
taking advice and implementing
preventative measures to ensure
that Ebola- should itsincidence rise
in the United States - doesn't get
out of hand, congressional leaders
are fueling ignorance and fear about
If patients are properly
quarantined, provided intravenous
fluids, monitored for proper levels
of oxygen and blood pressure, and
given enough time to develop the
necessary antibodies, Ebola is
relatively treatable; even in African
countries where treatment options
are scarce,those infected have still
survived in an average of50-percent
of cases. The United States - with
ready access to state-of-the-art
medical equipment and money with
which to fund further research for
a cure - is more than capable of
effectively handlingthis disease; the
only reason why Ebola has spread
with such voracity in West Africa is
that these factors are lacking.
The conversation about the
chance of an outbreak of Ebola in the
United States is clogging social and
conventional media with speculation
instead of fact. Americans desper-
ately need to see the bigger picture
here: people are dying in Africa, not
in the United States. Drawing atten-
tion away from this fact is completely
immoral and selfish. Americans need
to educate themselves on the disease
instead of resorting to unfounded
fears. Doing this will better equip us
as anationto aidthosewhomthedis-
ease is truly affecting: impoverished
Africans without the resources to
treat patients effectively.
- Austin Davis can be reached
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John, 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
L E T TER TO THE EDITOR SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
JOEL ELCONIN li
Protest in Ann Arbor -business as usual
The price of fintegrity
TO THE DAILY:
The economic slump has been
affecting the state of Michigan ever
since the global recession of 2008;
state funding for higher education
decreased by almost a third between
then and 2012. To make up for the
continuous loss in funding, the
University has again increased its
fees (1.6 percent for in-state students
and 3.4 percent for non-residents
next year) and organized fundraising
campaigns, like the $4 billion Victors
for Michigan campaign (which had
raised $2.2 billion as of June 1, 2014).
Since I personally believe that
maintaining the high standards and
quality of Michigan comes at a high
cost (e.g., to attract top professors
and to undertake more breakthrough
research), I understand the aggres-
sive donation campaigns and pain-
ful but necessary tuition increases
undertaken by the University. How-
ever, I am concerned if we were to
over-rely on major private donations,
given the culture of donating.
Donations of six figures and
higher don't really go unnoticed
and "unrewarded." Several Univer-
sity buildings have been renamed
in honor of their donors, and resi-
dences are constructed in order to
fulfill the requests of the donors.
Although I have to admit that Ross
School of Business has a catchy
name to it, and I believe that donors
should have the first preference in
deciding where their money should
go, the naming rights of buildings
are the least of my concerns.
Instead, to what extent will the
University honor our donors? Will
we stop at naming rights, or will we
undergo self-censorship in order
not to offend the "donors" who
might pull the plug? Although I am
positive that academic integrity
will be upheld by the administra-
tion, the recently discovered "rela-
tionship" between the Florida State
University Economics Department
and the Charles Koch Foundation,
in which the latter has report-
edly attempted to influence the
appointments of faculties through
donations, makes me wonder if our
integrity does have a price.
Three weeks ago, the national media poured
into Ann Arbor to cover a protest over the
recentevents surrounding the school's football
team. The mainstream media portrayed the
protest as some isolated eventbased on specific
circumstances. Obviously, the press is very
unfamiliar with the most politically active and
socially conscious city and university in all of
America - maybe the entire world.
If the media wanted to cover a protest on
the campus and paid close attention, they
would have the opportunity on a daily basis.
Michigan breeds independent thinking and
has provided a constant flow of rebellion for
many years in the past, and will do the same
for the remainder of time.
Beingableto protestorhold demonstrations
at Michigan happens freely on a daily basis.
Any visitor to the main gathering place on the
campus, the Diag, may observe one group of
protesters on their initial stroll and witness an
entirely new group upon a return visit.
Whether the situation involves born-
again Christians, Hare Krishnas, Orthodox
Jews, Liberals, Conservatives, the National
Organization for Women or Gay and Lesbian
groups, all are welcome to share their views to
whomever wants to listen. In turn, those who
disagree with others' respective stances can
come forth and state their own case. On many
occasions, crowds of hundreds of students will
engage in lively debates, even though their
next class has already started.
What better education could students
have, than being able to express their views
in an open forum and have them challenged?
Always questioning authority and expressing
one's opinion is just part of the curriculum.
Any student that does not participate in
the banter is missing one of the best things
Michigan has to offer.
Where did the inaugural protests of the
Vietnam War begin? Ann Arbor. After the
first Students for a Democratic Society teach-
in (March 1965) took place at the University,
more than 3,000 students attended, and the
pace of demonstrations accelerated across
Where was marijuana first decriminalized?
In Ann Arbor. In 1967, the student newspaper,
The Michigan Daily, urged for the legalization
of marijuana, but it was not until an ordinance
was passed in 1972 that it was decriminalized.
The end result: the ordinance reduced city
penalties for less than two ounces to a $5 civil
infraction ticket (just about the same penalty
as a parking ticket at the time).
Now, marijuana is legalized for public sale
for private use in a few states and widely
accepted for medicinal purposes. It only took
these states more than 40 years to replicate
the policies already in place in Ann Arbor
Why did the media flock to Ann Arbor to
cover the protest? Could it have something
to do with the constant headlines about the
concussion issue in the NFL, that they did not
want to miss out on the next news event that
even remotely focused on concussions? After
all, the status of the football team's recent woes
is certainly not worthy of national attention.
So the next time the media pours into Ann
Arbor to cover a protest, let's pray they can
place the event in its proper historical perspec-
tive, and not produce an oversimplification
that merely portrays a group of students that
is unhappy with the status of their football
team. Instead, the press should treat student
unrest with the proper respect it deserves, by
recognizing how protest is embedded in every
hallway, classroom and common area at the
University of Michigan.
Joel Elconin is a 1985 alum.
Is Common Core the
right direction for
TO THE DAILY:
Compared to the National
Assessment of Educational Progress
achievement levels in 2009, Michi-
gan's state proficiency standards for
both reading and math were classi-
fied as Below Basic. Many believe
the solution to education reform lies
in the adoption of the Common Core
State Standards, but that may not be
the best solution for Michigan.
The Michigan State Board of
Education adopted the standards in
June 2010. Districts across the state
are in the process of implementing
the Common Core in the hopes
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
of improving state education.
However, not all agree with the
shift of standards. Local reading
specialist Valerie Ifill is not opposed
to the Common Core standards, but
believes there are other issues that
need to be addressed first before
the standards can be considered
effective. She believes a lack of
resources is the biggest issue facing
schools. According to Ifill, "If the
resources were there, then (the
Common Core)-could possibly be a
good thing because it would raise
the bar and American kids would be
taught more effectively."
Every Michigan child deserves
an adequate education. From
Ifill's experience, teachers are
overwhelmed with "too much
work, too much paperwork, and not
enough resources, and too many
kids." We cannot adequately reform
education without addressing these
According to Tom Loveless
of the Brookings Institution,
implementing the Common Core
standards will not significantly
affect the performance of Michigan
students compared to students in
states that have not adopted the
standards. The state's focus should
not be on changing standards, but
on changing school conditions so
teachers can teach more effectively.
"Changing the curriculum every
five minutes, that's really hard on
the system," Ifill stated. Continuing
to implement the Common Core
standards may only make things
worse for education in Michigan.
First-year Master of Social Work
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