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May 05, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-05-05

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

Wenay, May5,1993-T Michig DaiySummerWe -5
VIEWPOINT
Stereotypes pervade society, damage everyone

It happens tome every time I meet
people. They will look at me. I will
look at them. I will say, "Nice to meet
you." After about five minutes of their
observing me they curiously ask,
"Where are you from?" I will say,
"Michigan." They look at me with a

breath, and walk away. I've had it!!
Where is this leading to? Well, I
happento be an African-American and
the minute I open my mouth people
make judgments about me. This hap-
pens becauseIdon'tspeak using slang,
I don't walk with a limp, and I don't
dress like a rapper (whatever that
means). I don't, like many other Afri-
can-Americans, fit the "Black" stereo-
type. This inability to fit within this
proverbialstereotypical"box"becomes
extremely problematic when dealing
with people from other racial back-
grounds (mostly those who have never
known, seen, or experienced being
around Black people).
I recently spoke with a seemingly
intelligent man (looks are very often

deceiving) who believes that it is all
right to have stereotypes. Can you
believe that this guy was emphatically
trying to convince me, a person of
color, an African-American, that ste-
reotyping people is "just fine." Wait!
For therecord,stereotyping isnotgood.
Irepeat, not good! Stereotypes falsely
categorizepeople.Stereotyping leaves
no room for personality discovery or
the individualism of aperson to gleam
through like bars of sunlight opening
closed blinds. Besides, the stereotypes
that "polish" my culture are for the
most part negative and I don't, as well
as many other people of African de-
scent, appreciate being looked at in a
negative "cluster" before even getting
into "clusters."

Justimagine being blatantly asked,
as I have been, "Are you sure this is
where you are suppose to be?" when
you walk into an honors course and
you are the only one of your "type"
(African-American)in theroom. Imag-
ine being followed around in your car
by police officers when you go into a
certain neighborhood that "your kind"
aren't represented in groves. Imagine
being beaten by those same police of-
ficers because you, "growled like a
bear ... charged like a lion ... had the
strength ofl0 men," having evidence
of your unjust ordeal on video tape and
having your assailants let off because
of... well... your face doesn't represent
the "majority."
Theseareafewof theramifications

of stereotyping. Are you going to just
sit around with these preconceptions
and "live" your "life"?
Open up! Learn something about a
groupofpeopleother thanyourownby
communicating with that other group.
Learn to look at people as individual
beings. Remember thatallpeople with
the same skin color are not all alike.
I'msure thatyou willfindthat thereare
severalofus whoaren'tlazy, ignorant,
hopeless, on welfare and doing what-
ever else the stereotypes dictate.
And on that note, let me tap dance
my way on out of here.
Hardy's column will appear every
other week on the opinion page.

puzzzng smutc anu say, No, uKewere
you born here?" I say almost per-
turbed, "Yes."'Theystilllook puzzled,
"Noreally whereare you from?" Iroll
my eyes, take a deep stress relieving

LETTERS

4

Law student applauds Daily for questioning DeBoers, media in custody case

To the Daily:
Thank you forbeing the first paper with the
backbone to question the media blitz of the
DeBoervSchmidt case("MediaFor Jessica"4/
19/93).Iam a third-year law student as well as
a law clerk for Marian Faupel, the attorney
representing the Schmidts. More than that, I
consider myself a friend of the Schmidts and
their family. My experience in this case has
forced me to question the role that the media
can and should fill in the reporting of legal
matters.
The DeBoers first began to actively recruit
media coverage of this story while the case was
still in the Iowa probate courts. They knew at
that time that their suit to adopt Jessica was
"fatally flawed," but hoped that media cover-
agemighthelp. Adoption proceedings in Iowa,
however, are private. The DeBoers, nonethe-
less, began an illegal media blitz while the
Schmidts chose to remain quiet as demanded
by Iowa law. The DeBoers used this opportu-
nity to spread inaccuracies regarding the case,
inaccuracies the media reported as true. These
inaccuracies included personal attacks against
Dan Schmidt, reports that the DeBoers had
already completed the adoption, and that Dan

Schmidt had originated the legal proceedings
two years after the birth of the child.
Once theIowaproceedings were completed
late last year, the Schmidts and their attomey
could legally speak to the media. Since that
time, they have continuously asked the media
to tell the entire story.
The Schmidts have repeatedly told the me-
dia of how Cara Schmidt received no counsel-
ing prior to the birth. Ofhow Cara believed that
the DeBoers' Iowa attorney was, in fact, her
attorney. Of how that attorney never told Cara
whom he represented. Of how Cara requested
that the DeBoers' attorney not call her at work,
and of how he ignored that request. Of how
Cara told the DeBoers' attorney that she did not
wish to name the father over the phone while at
work, and of how that attorney demanded that
she do so.
The Schmidtshave alsoinformed the media
that itsis the DeBoers who have initiated every
proceeding inIowaandMichigan.The Schmidts
have revealed how Dan Schmidt immediately,
upon hearing of his paternity, moved to inter-
vene in the DeBoers' suit to adopt. The media
has seen Dan Schmidt's son, Travis, and seen
Dan and Travis' close relationship. The media

has now heard both sides, butIhave yet to read
or hear a retraction to the prior inaccuracies.
By retelling the facts of this case I wish to
highlight, not demean, the tragedy of this situ-
ation.Returning Jessica toherlegalparents will
be traumatic for the DeBoers and Jessica. In
this, they have my sympathy. Iam aparent, and
I too am raising a two-year -old girl.
My deeper sympathy, however, is for the
next Jessica. The Jessica whose mother will be
coerced into giving her away. The Jessica who
will be caught in trial after trial, as her parents
fight to get her back. The Jessica who deserves
to be with her legal parents at birth, not two
years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and
hundreds of pictures later. Should the DeBoers
win, there will be more Jessicas. A ruling for the
DeBoers would only encourage other infertile
couples to ignore the law and coerce often poor
and ignorant women into giving up their chil-
dren. We, as a society, should not encourage
people like the DeBoers to bring spurious liti-
gation knowing that if they violate the rights of
legal parents long enough, they can win in the
end.
Roy Wyman, Jr.
3rd year law student

Fine lecture segregates
students from
faculty
To the Daily:
Therecent "LastLecture'byProfessorSidney
Fine made perfectly clear what is all-too-often
forgotten, that the main -indeed the ONLY -
business of this University is the education of its
student body.
Unfortunately, the ceremony was marred by
potent reminders that learning/teaching is not
always a primary activity here. For example,
would not any reasonable person expect at a
ceremony initiated and administered by the stu-
dents of this University that the reigning Bureau-
crats -that great host of presidents, junior vice-
presidents, deans, assistant deans, chairmen of
this and that, provosts, directors of parking, and
on toward infinity - would have wanted to
mingle with the crowd and be seated among the
common folk for just ONE evening of the year?
As it happened, the choice seats under the
stage were taped off and reserved for the exclu-
sive use of these corporate hierophants! The
message, I suppose, was Keep Out!/This Means
You!/ No Students Need Apply! Must the need
for sequestration andsegregation of thosebeings
penetrate into even those activities specifically
designed to show the pre-eminence of the bond
between undergraduate students and their teach-
ers? Only when there is devised a ceremony
honoring the Administrator of the Year would
segregated seating be appropriate. Of course,
then it would probably not be required, for who
else would bother to come?
Next year no segregated seating, please. It is
injudiciousand-worse-justoffensive.Surely
anyone,despitehis/herloftyposition,canendure
Democracy for a few hours.
Cecil Eby
Department of English

University, Daily ignore Asian Americans in classifying minorities

To the Daily:
Once again, the University has failed to rec-
ognize the needs of Asian Americans. As re-
ported in "Minority students increase" (4/8/93),
the University proudly announced that the num-
ber of "underrepresented" minorities to be en-
rolled has gone up again.
The numbers of Asian American enrollees,
however, is notably absent. Vice Provost for
Minority Affairs Dr. Charles Moody attributes
theseincreasesin African American,Latino, and
Native American enrollment to "real" recruit-
ment efforts.
Policies which qualify minorities as
"underrepresented"dogreatharmto AsianAmeri-
cans and, in general, to all people of color. Race

and ethnic based programs exist because people
of color have special needs, not simply because
we are a "minority" of the population. Asian
Americans are composed of a diverse range of
populations and ethnicities.Many of these groups
live in poverty, do not come to college, and don't
understand the experience of the "Model Minor-
ity." By refusing to recruit disadvantaged Asian
Americans, the University is buying into this
stereotype. By classifying Asian Americans out
oftheirdefinitionof"minority," theUniversityis
ignoring and,indeed,insulting theneedsof Asian
Americans.
The Michigan Daily, however, praises the
University for its shortsightedness. "Minority
Application" (4/13/93) does a disservice to the

student body for validating the University policy
of ignoring Asian Americans. Indeed, the Daily
has been reproached by the Asian American
student community on several occasions for the
same offense. For example, "Mandate report
shows increase in minority students on campus"
(9/18/92) reported enrollment figures for each of
the different populations of color except for the
Asian Americans. Coupled with the racism of
past Daily cartoonists, the Daily has demon-
strateditslackofcommitmenttorespectingpeople
of color. The Daily must stop living down to its
reputation andenditsdutiesas theadministration's
mindless megaphone.
Edgar Ho
President Asian American Association

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