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June 16, 1989 - Image 7

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-06-16

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PERSPECTIVES

0 The Michigan Daily

Page 7

,w

Boys will be

boys

By Lillien Waller
OR RATHER, in a society that
has become increasingly hostile to
people of color, white boys will be
boys and Black men and women will
be "a worse enemy than the klan
ever was, the Black criminal." So
says Patrick J. Buchanan, a writer
whose syndicated column appears
weekly in the Detroit News along
with a barrage of other neo-
conservatives like George Will and
Chuck Moss, white men who
regularly employ the worst sort of
racist victim-blaming in their
writing.
In his May 9 column, Buchanan
cites several statistics on national
crime, arrest and prison rates and
concludes that Blacks are responsible
for most crimes in the United States,
including rape, robbery, and murder.
What Buchanan fails to recognize
with his neat list of crime stats,
which cite higher arrest rates for
Blacks than whites and higher num-
bers of Blacks in prisons of large ur-
ban centers, is racism's starring role
in the farce that has become the
American criminal justice system.
Arrest rates for Blacks are higher
than those for whites. Blacks do
compose dramatically greater per-
centages of prison populations than
do whites. But this is not because
Blacks necessarily commit more
crimes than whites.
This is a country where incidents
of police brutality and harassment
against Blacks, such as the recent

events in Overtown, Florida and Instead, his article is little more than
Long Beach, California, are com- a vehicle for perpetuating racist
monplace. It is a country whose po- myths and stereotypes about people
litical climate allows racists to burn of color.
crosses on the lawns of Black fami- More inflammatory, however,
lies, as in two recent Michigan than the vicious attacks from con-
cases. It is a country where, via-the servatives like Buchanan, is the reg-
dangerously conservative Reagan ularity with which such views re-
Administration, a Supreme Court ceive a forum and are accepted by
presides that is systematically our society. When several Black and
rolling back the few existing civil Latino youth were arrested for the
rights gains (recent decisions on rape and beating of a white woman
work discrimination cases and mi- in Central Park, the national re-
nority contractors are outstanding sponse was that they were sub-hu-
examples). In this sort of country, man and deserved the harshest sen-
we can expect that an inherently tences available. But the response to
racist penal system will follow suit. five white high-school students from
Nowhere in Buchanan's tirade does an affluent New Jersey suburb who
it state that Blacks (particularly male were charged with raping and physi-
youth) are targeted by urban police cally brutalizing a young mentally
for arrest with horrifying regularity, handicapped girl was essentially
cannot afford private counsel, and "boys will be boys."
consistently receive the most strin- Finally, the most flagrant example
gent sentences (life imprisonment of the justice system's racist di-
and the death penalty, notwithstand- chotomy comes to mind when
ing). Buchanan refers to the Tawana
Also missing is any acknowl- Brawley case as -a hoax. A Black
edgement of the pervasiveness of woman can be viciously raped and
"white" collar crime: national crimi- tortured by several white men and
nals like Oliver North who are she becomes the accused. The insen-
lauded as heroes; the crimes the U.S sitivity that is shown to ALL rape
government has and is committing survivors notwithstanding, when the
with impunity in Central America; young investment broker was raped
and the crime of America's deafening in Central Park, her alleged attackers
silence on human rights abuses in were immediately hunted down and
South Africa and Palestine, commit- taken into custody. Case closed.
ted by regimes which receive U.S.
ald.
But these and other factors are not Lillien Waller is a '88 alumnus who
figured into the Justice Department lives and writes in Detroit. She is
statistics quoted by Buchanan. also a member of UCAR.

."

Mothers of - FECMAFAM (Federation of Committees of
Mothers of Political Prisoners, Disappeared and
Assassinated of El Salvador) occupied the Metropolitan
Cathedral in San Salvador to denounce the capture of leaders
of various union, peasant, student and human rights organi-
zations by the armed forces. Kathryn Savoie, opinion page
staffer, recently returned from El Salvador. Look for her
photo essay on the next Perspective Page.

Abortion pill: a right, not a luxury

By Lisa Hamman
in American business and govern-
THE GOOD news on the abortion ment.
front is that French women now RU 486 (or mifepristone) is an
have a safer, cheaper, and easier anti-hormone chemical that inter-
method of abortion available to them rupts pregnancy by blocking the ac-
in the form of a pill called, RU 486. tion of progesterone, thus prompting
Developed, tested, and used exclu- the uterus to shed the egg during
menstruation.
A woman takes the pill once under
a doctor's supervision, then returns
two days later for a prostaglandine
injection which activates uterine
contractions. The uterine lining is
sively in France since last expelled, as in a regular menstrual
November, the new "abortion pill" period. There is no surgical proce-
provides over 2,000 women per dure, and the method is 95% effec-
month with what the medical com- tive when done in the first five
munity considers a far better means weeks of pregnancy and costs about
of abortion than prevalent surgical $80.
procedures. The big question is, why are
The bad news is that it may never American pharmaceutical companies
reach the United States, as compa- all but ignoring this revolutionary
nies refuse to market it here due to new development? To date, not one
pressure from pro-life groups and the manufacturer-American or other-
general laissez-faire attitude toward wise-has applied for Food and Drug
women's rights and issues prevailing Administration (FDA) approval to

market the drug in the United States. the United States. But since a pro- over surgery cannot be ignored. It
Though other companies cite the gressive attitude towards women's removes the risks of anesthesia and
fear of multi-million dollar lawsuits rights is no longer publicly of a possible perforation of the
(like the one that bankrupted A.H. "popular," both government and in- uterus during surgery. The "abortion
Robbins, producer of the Dalkon dustry prefer not to get involved on pill" method provides privacy as
Shield IUD) as the reason for their any level. It is frightening, not to well-a woman needn't face the pub-
reluctance, the real reason stems mention maddening, that threats by lic verbal and physical harassment
from fear of conservative backlash, special interest groups have halted and ostracism many women confront
boycotts, and the changing tide of the distribution of a medical devel- upon entering an abortion clinic,
legal opinion in this country from opment so relevant to women's au- where operation rescue protestors
pro-choice to no-choice. tonomy and health. demonstrate and disrupt clinic rou-
The National Right to Life This chilling effect on medical in- tines.
Committee (NRL) flexed its muscle novations has been labeled "medical Not to mention the potential
in Europe last year. Roussel-Uclaf McCarthyism" by a Los Angeles physical and emotional traumatiza-
almost didn't release the drug in journalist, and it describes the situa- tion it could prevent, the "abortion
France because NRL Executive tion perfectly. Companies don't want pill" is a more cost effective, effi-
Director David O'Steen issued a to create any public relations prob- cient and convenient method for ev-
warning that his group would lead a lems by associating themselves with eryone concerned. This new drug
worldwide boycott of not only the drug, while the government pas- will make abortions safer, and in the
Roussel-Uclaf, but the products of sively waits for industry to come long term, more affordable for
its West German parent company, forward. Even if someone were to women.
Hoechst A.G. as well. Fortunately, apply for FDA permission, they We can't let "Medical McCar-
the French Health Minister realized would face a 2-5 year approval pro- thyism" keep it from us.
the value of RU 486 and ordered cess. By that time, Roe v. Wade Lisa Hamman is an Opinion Page
Roussel-Uclaf to distribute the drug. could be a thing of the past. staffer who recently settled here
Similar threats have been made in The safety benefits of RU 486 from California.

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