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June 16, 1989 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-06-16

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raae 6

The Michigan Daily 0


Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCIX, NO.6-S Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Remember Soweto

O N JUNE 16, 1976, in Soweto,
South Africa, a peaceful demonstra-
tion by students was fired upon by
the South African police. In the
weeks of protest that followed, hun-
dreds of Black South Africans were
killed by the army.
In spite of many alleged reforms,
enthusiastically embraced by interna-
tional supporters of South African
racism, such as the United States
government, the conditions that
caused the Soweto uprising have not
Apartheid, the political and eco-
nomic system that denies the hu-

and manufacturing, key parts of the
South African economy, are roughly
one-sixth those of their white coun-
. These statistics reflect an ideology
implying that people of color are in-
ferior to whites and justifies the de-
nial of all political rights to them.
On the morning of June 16, 1976
Black South African students, most
of whom were 15 years of age and
under, assembled in peaceful protest
in front of some 12 Soweto schools
in opposition to the government's
Bantu Education policy. It was
"education" designed to teach people

Tethers program:
No rison reform here
F ACED WITH prisons that are The humiliation of wearing a behind bars for defending themselves
vastly overcrowded, the United "cigarette-sized" box on their ankles from an abusive partner, then what
States is now building more prisons for the duration of the program is the value of the judicial system's
than ever and countless legislators notwithstanding, the circumstances form of protection for survivors of
are jumping on the ever-expanding of incarceration for male and female battery, incest and abuse?
"war on crime" bandwagon which prisoners question the very need for Even if the current tether program
George Bush popularized in his prisons and America's conceptualiza- was the solution to Michigan's
campaign against Massachusetts' tion of the prison population as a prison problem, it benefits Big
prison furlough program. whole. Since the people of color Brother rather than enhances the ease
Though Bush and others may be population in American prisons is with which a woman prisoner can re-
winning votes with their "war on well over 70%-a figure which is turn to the outside, The program
crime" its implications are racist not reflected in national ratios-it is makes no allowances for those
and victim-blaming and have noth- difficult to believe that our judicial women who have children-accord-
ing to do with the reality of crime inwing o hachldref-aloe-
this country,, ing to statistics, 78% of all women
hi poun thry aarrested in the state have children un-
In spite of the fact that prison der the age of 12. The enormous
construction is doing nothing to cost-$42 per week-of the program
change the over-crowded conditions coupled with its time restrictions all
in Michigan's prisons, Governor but prohibit women from assuming
Blanchard and the State of Michigan any kind of financiallet alone emo-
have followed Bush's lead by allocat- T E aS resonil'ty fotec-
ing millions of taxpayers dollars to tional, responsibility for their chil-
build more, higher security prisonsWdren,
which are not designed to make self- What about the Halfway house de-
determination or self-esteem possible bates of early March? The commu-
for the people incarcerated in them. nity here, led by Mayor Gerald
They are designed to "punish," Jernigan, overwhelmingly struck
"control" and "break criminals." down a state plan to convert the
In the wake of a conservative gov- system is at all unbiased and "color Varsity House motel into a Halfway
ernment's huge allocation of funds blind." house. The prevalent sentiment is
to stop crime followed Michigan's Of the women incarcerated in the "out of sight out of mind," and the
already active, two and a half year, Michigan prison system 15% are tether program fulfills this commu-
Tether Program. Heralded, in a June there for conspiring to kill a signifi- nity standard.
5 issue of The Ann Arbor News as a cant other, 45% are there for killing The real issue is not the tethering
way to monitor those people who, a significant other (most often in of prisoners, but continued and sys-
according to Program Director, Laura self-defense) and 20% are there for tematic abuse of people of color and
Young, "ideally...should be in being accomplices to a crime. In the women who predominately suffer the
prison," the program itself tracks case of women inmates, it is not un- effects of lack of low-cost housing,
1,200 inmates across the state from likely that a judge will hand down a inadequate healthcare and treatment
computer centers in Flint, Detroit life sentence to a woman for murder facilities, and a minimum wage
and Grand Rapids. Young's earlier even if she did not handle the standard that barely meets the
statement and the overall approach of weapon involved. poverty level. Focusing upon a
Tina Lam's article both buy into The prevailing attitude on the group of people who attempt to sur-
stereotypes of who goes to prison bench is that women should be vive these abuses is not only victim-
and why and conflate the existence of severely punished for being a part of blaming in the worse sense but con-
male and female inmates into one any type of "violent crime." But if stitutes behavior that is "criminal"
generic category of "prisoner." statistics prove that most women are by most dictionary definitions.


*Luanda ZAIRE
Cape Town P"UEskiirn
manity of non-white South Africans of color "their" place in South
in order to exploit them economi- African society. This new education
cally, still reigns supreme in South policy stipulated that Black South
Africa, as demonstrated by the fol- Africans could no longer be taught
lowing statistics: in their native languages. Not only
1- Infant mortality is 13 per were they being denied a right to po-
1000 births for whites, 90 per 1000 litical self-determination, but cul-
for Africans. tural expression, which is an integral
2- Conservative estimates show part of that right, was being sup-
that malnutrition afflicts over 2.9 pressed as well.
million Black children under the age African students instead asserted
of 15 pride in their background and culture
3- The doctor/patient ratio for and refused to be taught in
whites is one to 330, for Africans it Afrikaans, one of the languages of
is one to 19,000. the white minority. This assertion
4- Per capita spending on educa- reflected an understanding of the
tion is $1,115 for white students, South African educational system
$170 for African students. that went much deeper than the sin-
5- Wages for Africans in mining gle issue of what language school

would be conducted in. closer ties to the U.S. than a statis- change, little in South Africa will.
According to Ernest Dube of the tical similarity, ties which account As residents in the country most re-
African National Congress (ANC), for continuing U.S. support for the sponsible for perpetuating such pri-
the purpose of the South African ed- racist minority government in South orities, it is our duty to pressure and
uational system is to "reinforce the Africa. More than 350 U.S. compa- demand that the U.S. government
existing belief of white superiority nies have subsidiaries in South recognize at least a shred of the no-
while simultaneously making Africa, accounting for 20% of total ble rhetoric for which it claims to
African children believe that their foreign direct investment, second stand and divest from a country
lowly position in society [is] due to only to Britain. The average rate of whose racism and exploitation only
their inferior mental ability." return on U.S. investment from differ in degree-not kind-from
That the lowly position envi- 1979 to 1982 was 18.7%. U.S. similar practices sacrificing people
sioned by whites for people of color banks have outstanding loans to of color to the almighty dollar here
is economically exploitive is clear. South Africa totaling more than at home.
Africans constitute 74% of the $3.88 billion. In this context, remembering
South African population. Without The economic reasons for invest- Soweto can move us toward the
African labor, the South African ing in South Africa are clear. That is goals protesters fought for: interna-
economy would not function. But as why the U.S. government has vig- tional-solidarity of the oppressed in-
the statistics on wages, health and orously resisted a complete break cluding Black Birmingham fire-fight-
education indicate, the fruits of the with that country. That such prof- ers victimized by Monday's Supreme
South African economy accrue to the itability is also based on denying Court decision, Latinos stripped of
white community, which enjoys a people of color their humanity is their culture by the English-Only
standard of living comparable to that simply irrelevant to such economic movement, or heroic freedom-fight-
of the United States and the Western equations. ers in South Africa itself, whose
Europeaui countries. Until the priorities dictating that aspirations continue to provide in-
White South Africa, in fact, has profit take precedence over people spiration for all of us.

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