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May 20, 1988 - Image 7

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-05-20

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PERSPECTIVES

The Michigan Daily

Friday, May 20, 1988

Page 7

F

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Integrate curricula

._. ._ mmw y C) NOW _ Imw +

BY ANNA SENKEVITCH
In an attempt to address issues of
diversity in the classroom as well
as in public forum, the University's
Department of English has imple-
mented a version of academic cul-
tural diversification.
After June 15, every University
student who declares an English
major must complete an elective
class which covers the literature of
minority ethnic groups, women, or
people of color. This fall, about six
courses qualify to fulfill the re-
quirement, said English Teaching
Assistant Pamela Cohen.
The installation of this token
class is a profound affront to ethnic
minorities, women, and people of
color and their respective accom-
plishments. It is offensive to sug-
gest by a course such as
"Literature and Social Change 319:
Black, Chicano, Native American
Indian, Puerto Rican, Asian
American Literatures," that "the
unique cultures and life experiences
of people of color in the United
States" (English Department's
courseguide description) will be
covered, under the broad heading of
"literature" moreover, in the scant
period of one term.
When one of two options for the
requirement of first-year English
composition concentrates on five
To the Daily:
I have difficulty understanding
why some people wish to have the
university charge all teaching
assistants as the instate tuition rate.
Although doing so would substan-
tially reduce each individual TA's
tax burden at absolutely no cost to
the university, it would likewise
forsake what may well be an un-
precedented opportunity in Ameri-
can education - namely the chance
to have graduate students earn seven
figure incomes, at least on paper.
That's right!
Rather than have the university
charge all TAs instate tuition, I
recommend a radically different
strategy: tuition for all teaching as-
sistants should be fixed at
$1,000,000 per annum. Since next
year's contract contains a full
tuition waiver for all TAs, why not
waive billions of dollars instead of
a few lousy million. Current Uni-
versity policy requires that I pay an
additional $800 each year in taxes.

plays by William Shakespeare and
more than half of this fall's English
courses are Eurocentric if not en-
tirely white male-oriented, the
existence of the 319 class, as one
example, is both unjust and aca-
demically irresponsible. Under
what educational standard can a lec-
ture spanning five cultures be of-
fered to the same educational effec-
tiveness as one dealing only with
Shakespeare? How, in a single
class, can the entire literary body of
one culture be portrayed, let alone
five?
Grouping minorities first for
their minority status and second for
their accomplishments also encour-
ages differentiation on ethnic, racial
and gender bases, and inevitably
brings those labels into a
consideration of the achievements'
value.
The authors included in 319 be-
long in a short story or poetry or
other genre-narrowed class, not in
one which haphazardly mixes the
struggles of minorities into discus-
sion of artistic validity. Some con-
cern should also be brewing over
the effect of the mandatory class on
perpetuating the Eurocentricism of
most University English courses.
The addition of the new requirement
is a confession by the English De-
partment to the otherwise absence

of multi-cultural representation in
its curricula. Leaning on the
mandatory class to fill the void fu-
els the continuation of the dis-
tinctly male, European focus.
A course like 319 portrays the
literary works of minorities as
isolated from the standardized study
of white, European-descended, male
authors. In insisting upon such a
separation, the English Department
is denying students a vital element
of their major, that of observing the
interaction between authors of di-
verse cultural backgrounds, the re-
sults of which exchange can have
tremendous effects on any literature.
Rather than reinforce many Uni-
versity students' preconceptions of
minorities, the English Department
should integrate a variety of literary
works by ethnic minorities, women
and persons of color into currently
existing genre-specific courses.
Stanford University has attempted
this with its revision of first-year
student reading requirements to in-
clude at least one non-European
work. That is a start.
The enactment of curricular inte-
gration, a microcosmic Real World,
would retract a racist, sexist delin-
eation and so make one small stab
at conquering institutional racism.
Anna Senkevitch is a News staff
writerfor the Daily.

Anti-apartheid
shanty destroyed
BY ELIZABETH PAIGE honorary degree to imprisoned
African National Congress leader,
On Saturday, May 14th one of Nelson Mandela. Mandela has been
the anti-apartheid shanties on the jailed for the past 24 years for
Diag was burned down. The other protesting the racist apartheid sys-
shanty was also dosed with tem
gasoline, but not set on fire. This The second shanty was built in
was a pre-meditated, violent act of the spring of 1987 to further pres-
racism. The two anti-apartheid sure the University to meet our de-
shanties were the only Diag mands, as well as to educate the
constructions which were van- University community that the sit-
dalized. nation in South Africa had wors-
The act of burning down the anti- ened. On March 19, 1987 while the
apartheid, anti-racism shanty is a United Coalition Against Racism
racist attack for it is an attack on (UCAR) occupied the Administra-
what the shanties represent tion building, the Regents agreed to
award an honorary degree to Nelson
Mandela. But the University still
has not divested the remaining
$500,000 in companies supporting
the white South African regime.
Awareness about the situation in
Southern Africa has decreased with
at the Botha regime's continual State
of Emergency, a tactic used by the
apartheid regime to cover up its
racist policies and crimes. These
crimes include the detention of
w>w thousands of children and the
killing of over 2500 Black South
& African's since October, 1984.
As the fascist Botha regime con-
Anti-apartheid shanty has been tinues to try to stop the people's
vandalized numerous times. struggle in South Africa through
the recent banning of 17 non-vio-
lent anti-apartheid organizations, we
The first shanty was built in must continue to raise awareness in
March 1986 by the Free South the community about the oppres-
Africa Coordinating Committee sive apartheid regime and demand
(FSACC) to remind the University that the University divest the rest of
community of the suffering and its holdings in South Africa.
injustice in Southern Africa. The From the beginning, FSACC has
shanties symbolize our solidarity pledged that the shanties will not be
with the people of Southern Africa dismantled until the system of
in their quest for a free society. apartheid is dismantled. The people
The shanty that was burned who live in these conditions endure
down, and the one that remains, are the attacks of the government on
replicas of the dwelling that most the shanty towns, and reconstruct
Black South Africans are forced to them when the security forces have
live in as a result of the apartheid gone.
regime. A large family of ten to FSACC will rebuild the shanty
twelve people may be forced to live on Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m. on
in a shanty of this size, eight square the Diag. Please come and help re-
feet. build the shanty. Amandla Con-
Many of the 23 million Black tinua! The Struggle Continues!
South Africans have no other alter-
native but to live in these condi- Elizabeth Paige is a member of the
tions, as the apartheid system re- Free South Africa Coordinating
fuses to recognize their legitimate Committee.
demands for decent wages and living
conditions. In fact, the apartheid ATTENTION:
government continually attacks the
shanty towns, such as the Cross- The Daily opinion page staff is
roads, destroying everything with actively seeking minorities and
bulldozers and fire. women interested in writing
When the first shanty was built and discussing editorials. Staff
FSACC demanded that the Univer- requirements consist of one
sity divest its shares in companies meeting, one editorial, and
doing business with South Africa, production work once per
and that the University grant an week. Call 764-0552.

My recommendation would increase
that amount to approximately
$280,000 each year. In either case, I
don't have the money and cannot
pay. But at least my proposal
would make me and every other TA
feel worth a million bucks!
-Eric Caplan
April 28
To the Daily:
Jesse Jackson has been dubbed a
"radical" or "leftist" by some be-
cause he is more outspoken in
criticizing certain "effects" of capi-
talism than other Democrats. For
example, he questions the practices
of multinational corporations that
destroy jobs at home and which in-
vest overseas. He also seems to
empathize more deeply with strug-
gles of the workers, visiting picket
lines, demonstrations and the like.
But none of his proposals touch
the central question of who shall
control the economy. In fact, Jack-
son has sought to reassure the
capitalist class that he is very much
a supporter of their system and that
even his most "radical" reform pro-
posals are intended to serve "their"
interests. In Business Week of last
year, Jackson is quoted as stating
"the long-term interests of Ameri-

can business and the American
people are mutual and inseparable."
In other words, "capital and labor
are brothers." This hardly presents
him as an advocate of working class
interests.
What workers need in this 1988
Presidential Campaign is an under-
standing and an application of the
Socialist Labor Party's program of
Socialist Industrial Union govern-
ment. It carries with it a practical
promise of a world without
poverty, racism or the threat of
conventional or nuclear wars.
-Archie Sim
April 25
To the Daily:
Rowdy students were rude to a
commencement speaker in the foot-
ball stadium and our university ad-
ministration's upper echelons were
quick to publicly state that they
thought this was bad and that they
were embarrassed.
Rowdy students last autumn
physically and sexually assaulted
dozens of women students in the
football stadium and the same
administration remained silent.
Tells us something about pri-
orities, doesn't it?
-Terry Calhoun
May 5

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