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May 19, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-05-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINION
TL-ne vsi ^ c 'ni ltUiy

It

Pa e 6

The MiChigan Daily

0

F (Zrw idrhin.ThiIn The struggle: land or death

Edited and managed by students of the University of Mich
Vol. XCIXNO 3-S 420 Maynar
Ann Arbor, MI
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All
cartoons, signed articles, and letters da not necessarily represent the o
af the Daily.

V- YM LKD 6ROM&pb., Ybi JL O\ PANA'MA!l

igan THE MILAGRO Beanfield War is
more than a whimsical populist
d St. movie marking Robert Redford's de-
48109 but as a director. It is also a Holly-
wood version of a very real struggle
other over land and culture that has been
pinion going on between Anglo invaders
and indigenous peoples in the North
American Southwest for over 150
years. And as is often the case, the
truth concerning this struggle is far
more interesting-not to mention
important - than fiction.
Beginning in April of 1988, an
impoverished community of Chi-
canos from the northern New Mexi-
can village of Tierra Amarilla began
to occupy and defend a plot of five
hundred acres marked for develop-
ment by the real estate company
Vista Del Brazos, which claimed to
own it. The local population knew
otherwise, and was able to produce
its own legal history of how the land
belonged to a local Chicano, Amador
Flores, and to the community of
Tierra Amarilla.
But the United States has system-
atically ignored such histories, along
with the tradition of communal land-
owning which is integral to the
Chicano people whom they con-

quered in the Mexican-American Those peoples have stayed there for
War. The treaty of Guadaloupe Hi- over a year now, through one of the
dalgo, which ended that war, guaran- most bitter winters in memory, in
teed the peoples who lived there full the hope of preserving that history.
rights to their communal lands. The The odds, of course, are against
subsequent century and a half is at-
sordid tale of the lies, thefts, and them. Our outryslaone acth or-
murders through which the Anglo like Bowie and Crockett who were
invaders disenfranchised the indige- killed because they invaded and tried
nous population of its rights and its to steal territory that was not theirs.
land. The two million acres of The United States is a country that
communal land in New Mexico actively suppresses Chicano culture,
alone disappeared; the 60,000 acres as evidenced by phenomena like the
belonging to the original six hundred English-only movement and carica-
inhabitants of the Tierra Amarilla tured representations of L.A. gangs.
region were among them. This country marginalizes struggles
The recent Tierra Amarilla like that at Tierra Amarilla - of
occupation is not only grounded which the mainstream press has said
upon an absolutely sound case of almost nothing.

0

land ownership, but is, moreover, an
effort to recuperate a small fragment
of that original sense of community
and culture which the U.S. continues
to deny - by ignoring its Chicano
population.
The community occupying the
land - defended by arms and with a
series of bunkers-- hopes to build a
cultural center and library there
which will recognize the authentic
history of the peoples of the region.

U.S. residents must learn to fight
against this silence and for the
validity of those efforts made to
break it. Only then will it be possi-
ble for Northern Americans to
understand the real history of the
United States-and.why, at the cen-
ter of the Tierra Amarilla occupation
site, a Mexican flag flies. The flag is
a reminder of who this land right-
fully belongs to, and from whom it
was stolen.

Police and mainstream media's handling of Central Park case
Ignoring the realities of rape and racism "

SINCE THE April 19th gang rape of same attention it has paid to the rape society, the popular press continues
a 28-year-old white woman in New of this white woman. This is clearly to publicize the most "believable"
York's Central Park, the mainstream evidenced in the case of an April cases of rape, therefore reinforcing
media has been obsessed with the 29th rape and strangulation of a images of people of color as
suspects in custody - eight Black Black woman in Fort Tryon Park. maurading and violent.
and Latino youths, all except one Her assault, occurring within 10 At the University sexual abuse and
under the age of seventeen. In days and 100 blocks of the Central violence is explained away by com-
rationalizing the incident, the press Park attack, was all but ignored by ments like "boys will be boys."
has pointed the finger at issues of the media - it merited nothing When four white hockey players ter-
race, class and contributing envi- more than a brief mention in the rorized and sexually harassed two
ronment, ignoring that rape knows New York Times. Again, people women, this community was told by
no boundaries of class or race. should ask "Why was this crime ig- Head Hockey Coach Red Berenson
Millionaire Donald Trump's full nored?" that he could tell them how to play
page ad which appeared in most of Continual focus on the Central hockey, but not how to "talk to
the city's tabloids during the first Park event led one NYT reporter to girls."
week of May, called for the death comment "...among inner-city teen- Both on campus and in the nation
penalty for the perpetrators. Trump's agers, group violence is described as at large, those in charge continue to
response, and the media's obsession springing less from boredom than deny responsibility for actions of
with this crime, taken with the me- from an almost ritualized code of their male colleagues, friends and
dia's lack of response to similar behavior between adolescents 13 to students who perpetuate violence
crimes against people of color is in- 15 years old and their older, stronger against women. What is ignored by
dicative of the racism embedded in brethren." (NYT, 5/9/1989). The re- the police and the mainstream media
our culture. A doctor in Emergency porter inaccurately places the charges is that all men are capable of rape -
at the Metropolitan Hospital in New of gang-mentality which leads to race or color is irrelevant. The dis-
York pointed this out in response to rape as solely to those in segregated turbing lesson from these two rapes
the media onslaught about the rape urban areas. Fraternities, not solely in New York, one of a white
in Central Park. "Everyday," he said, in urban areas, facilitate this same woman, and one of a Black woman,
"I see Black and Latino women who "gang mentality", and are the sites of is that rape asa crime, and especially
have been raped and beaten -where at least 90 percent of all rapes on rape of women of color, continues to
are you when that happens?" campuses. go unnoticed.
The press does not cover rapes and Regardless of the fact that rape can The police, mainstream media, and
assaults of women of color with the and does occur on every level in our elected officials such as New York

City Mayor Ed Koch, seem to only
get involved and express their
"concerns" about violence when it is
against whites, and the alleged
assailants are people of color. For
very few, is rape - violence against
women - the main concern.
Rape and violence against people
of color and women are sanctioned
by all sectors of society. They are
questioned only when they fit the
lynch-mob mentality of white
America. The existence of this
institutionalized racism is supported
by thee xnerienc nf Inn Tres

Unidos complex residents who com-
plained to local police about vio-
lence committed on a consistent ba-
sis by the same eight suspects in the
Central Park case. But these resi-
dents were all people of color; the
crimes went unchallenged by police
and the mainstream media.
Women continue to be raped in
fraternity houses and in their own
homes in Ann Arbor; rape is not an
urban phenomena. It is time that all
of society speak and act out against
violence toward women - not only
when it fits into rcist stereotvntes

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