Wednesday, June 7, 1995 - The Michigan Daily - 5
buse of term Nazi'
Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany was responsible
uropean Jews. More than 20 million Russians,
mericans died in the course of World Wa II
ghting German National Socialism, or Nazism, as
s militant, racist expansionism. The 'jack-booted"
en of the Waffen SS, the Reich's political police,
Gestapo, and Hitler's roaming death squads
omosexuals and other "inferior" peoples for
xtermination. The Jewish people were slated for
enocide. The Fuhrer once remarked that "the Jews
e undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." He
et out to prove this through his ations --and in his
nd, did so. The gas chambers of Auschwitz
onsumed 12,000 victims a day in 1944, most of
em Jewish lives.
Nazism, by definition,is the fascist, fiercely anti-
emetic, antidemocratic ideology that developed
r the collapse of the interwar Weimar republic
nd Germany's brief flirtation with democratic
nstitutions preceding Hitler's ascent. From
ebster's: "The philosophy, aims or characteristics
f German fascism... (a) program of nationalism,
acism, rearmament and aggression." Nazism cost
umanity much, both in terms of lives lost, families
orn apart and millions destroyed.
Yet in 1995, the word "Nazi" is being bandied
boutby political practitioners on the farright and the
merican mainstream, with relative ease. Used to
voke, disturb, and arouse Americans' moral
entiments in an age of hyperbolic speech, the
agrantly irresponsible use of the word "Nazi" is
eing casually used to describe the Brady Bill, the
federal ban on automatic weapons, "big" central
government, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, the FBI, and even U.S. Attorney General
Janet Reno. This is an affront to the historical legacy
and the survivors of the real Nazi Holocaust, the
Shoa'h. It is revolting.
Popular conservative talk show host Rush
baughcalls liberalfeminist activists "feminazis."
e National Rifle Association derogates federal
law enforcement agents as"jack-booted government
thugs ... in Nazi bucket helmets." Time and time
again, police forces are slammed for using so-called
"Gestapo tactics." If the ATF and ERA supporters
are Nazis, what was Hitler? Who was Himmler?
Whatwordcan accuratelydescribe Goebbels' vicious
political worldview that sanctioned the crude use of
Jews in pseudo-scientific experiments?
The American Jewish community must stand
inthe face of this insidiousperversionoflanguage
d devolution of meaning. Some say "Nazi" is
it easier for the mass public to understand
governmental extremism and demagoguery on the
political stage. Yet if it is true that Nazism was a
brutalright-wing political agenda taken to its logical
ends, how does it make sense for Mr. Limbaugh, G.
Gordon Liddy and countless others in the right-wing
press to invoke the term to disparage liberals and
leftists? How can the movement for equal pay be
equated with the Final Solution? Does language
*ve any meaning, any significance these days if to
be a "Nazi" is to be a supporter of the federal
government and its laws?
By theturnofthecentury -theyear2000-the
very youngest of the Holocaust survivors will be
nearing 65 and 70 years of age. Sadly, none saved
from Auschwitz's chimneys will be here to tell their
story,torelate the incredible savagery andiinhumanity
of the death camps to those living in the 21st century.
The gross manipulation of the word "Nazi" at this
point in history and linguistic honesty by politicians
sd spokesmen of the right. Too much is at stake to
sit by and allow reckless men and loose tongues to
desensitize the youth of today to the brutal horrors of
yesterday. Six million did not die for "Never forget"
to become only a forgotten cliche. Hitler would have
wanted nothing else.
"It's alway easier for a senator to blame fictional characters
than to blame themselves for their Inability to take guns off
the streets and provide jobs to people."
-Lara Bergthold executive director oft/e2ollywood Women 'Political Committee,
afler Senate MaorityLeader andpresidential candidate Bob Dole (R-Kansas) attacked
Holeywoodforcondoning "asual violence and even more casual sar"
Picking apart the stereotypes:
Puerto Ricans are not Rico Suave
By Kenneth Quidgley
Many people have approached me to build a
conversation about me and my country. They try
to find out about my culture and the way Latinos
live. I come from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and many
times I have heard questions that make me wonder
about the lack of knowledge that people here at the
University have concerning my country. Now, by
no means do I have the intention of insulting
anyone, for they are not responsible for how their
high schools educated them. My intention is to
make people aware that Puerto Rico does not fit its
Many questions I have been asked are simply
bizarre. My freshmen year I took a class in which
a girl noticed I had an accent. My first language is
Spanish and my second is English. My name is not
Latino and I do not look like the "stereotypical
Puerto Rican." When she learned that the reason
for such a different timbre in my voice and
sometimes why I mispronounce things was due to
where I was from. She replied with astonishment,
"But, you're blond!" Now, I just laughed. I could
not believe that some people believe that all Puerto
Ricans have a "I-am-a-gigolo-drug-dealer-so-
Not everybody south of Florida in the
Caribbean is mestizo, which is a tan-like skin color
on has regardless of whether one goes to the beach
or not. People here are used to see Puerto Ricans
as infamous gang members whose only law is "I'll
get you before you get me." That is all due to the
movies they see and sometimes the media. In fact,
many people in those sunny islands and countries
are, yes, very white and very blond with blue eyes,
etc. Stereotypes from movies can very well take
people into a rollercoaster ride where reality is
never invited to go along. I know that some Puerto
Ricans do look like the stereotype and are criminals,
yet I would not say that it is everybody. just a few.
It is no different from assuming that someone with a
New York accent is ignorant or someone with a
southern accent is a redneck. These stereotypes are
proven wrong, yet remain pervasive among society.
There is a list of my favorite responses I
would like to use when I get asked the repeated
stupid questions such as: "Do you have running
water?"" Well, actually, no. Every day we have to
go to the river and get the water we need to get
through the day. "How long does it take to drive
from Puerto Rico to Ann Arbor?" Well, ever since
they built the Interstate between Florida and Puerto
Rico, it takes around 63 hours yet the toll is about
$100. "How did you get here?" This huge metallic
bird (plane) ate me. I was in its stomach for five
hours while it kept burping all the way until it
decided to land again and then it just spat me at
these place where everybody is carrying these
boxes of some material I have not seen before in
my life in different sizes and colors.
I once had a pen pal from the states when I was
ten years old. He wrote to me and asked me if we
ran around naked and lived up in trees. He also
sent me a $5 bill asking me if I have ever seen
money before. I did not answer back, kept the
money and went to Chucky Cheese (Puerto Rico
uses the currency of the United States). If somebody
were to ask me that today I would be tempted to
say: "Actually, yes. This is the first time I wear
this weird things you call clothes."
The point of all the remarks for the questions
I "answered" is for people to see that my country
is as modern as any state. My goal is to make
people realize the effect that some of their questions
have on international students in a college
renowned for its intellectual diversity.
It is time for everybody to open their eyes and
minds to the reality of Puerto Rico and other
countries. That way we will all know how to
respecteverybody alittle better and some animosity
and long-lasting problems between the United
States and the world might finally be resolved.
By the way, in case you are interested, we do
have Taco Bell, soap operas on television, and we
do not need Green Cards to enter the United
States. Since 1917 we have had the right to become
American citizens, as Puerto Rico is a
commonwealth of the United States. This last bit
of information isjust one more piece to add to your
Nicholas J. Cotsonika/ Nickels
Revamp the R&E
Part two of a series
The University is a coloring book.
Just like all of its brochures, it is a panorama
of different hues. Cultures, creeds, and colors
from all over the world make up the University
of Michigan campus canvas. But just like your
favorite G. I. Joe or Barbie coloring book, all of
the reds, blacks, and yellows stay within the
lines. If they jump outside of their own spaces,
it is usually an accident.
Unique people living together is not enough.
Integration is not necessarily interaction. Simply
coexisting with your neighbors in lectures and dorms
doesn't mean there isn't a lack of understanding. It
doesn't mean you are tolerant of others.
What the University of Michigan needs is a
sense of community. Right now the University is a
conglomeration more than anything else, and it is
due to the fact that there is little to truly bind the
student body together.
Football fever comes close. Singing the victors
after beating Notre Dame, color and culture are not
issues. We are all maize and blue then. But after the
crowd's cacophony passes, students revert back to
their spaces, not having any feeling of togetherness
with their fellow Wolverines outside of a sports
Unity needs to leave Michigan Stadium.
More than maize and blue should bring us
We need some dialogue. Right now, there is no
educational outlet for students to share and express
their views of themselves and one another. That is
why the University needs to institute a new require-
mentthat wouldreplace the inept Race and Ethnicity
The requirement would do what the R&E was
designed, and has failed, to do. It would promote
understanding between students of different back-
grounds and would allow for exchanges on issues
pertinent to every students' life.
The requirement would be campus-wide, not
just for Literature, Science and the Arts students,
and would be taught as a seminar. The course would
be taught by professors of a number of disciplines
and would take a number of novel approaches
toward solving problems.
The seminar would concentrate on the similari-
ties between people as much as the differences. It
would focus on the individual experiences of those
in the class, which would be expanded upon for
papers and assignments.
However, no one would ever write a paper
alone. Papers would always be written in tan-
dem, and for a purpose. In order to avoid regur-
gitated rhetoric, a paper on religion, for ex-
ample, would be written by a Jew and a Gentile
Further, the course would include options
such as rope course training, retreats, extra
lectures and group projects. To pass the course
each class would have to come up with a plan to
improve communication between people at
Michigan. It would need to be endorsed by
every member of the class, and steps to imple-
ment it would have to be taken. This would
directly bring thousands of students into the
fray. No one would be on the sidelines of the
debate. Everyone would be striving for a solu-
Finally, this course would be pass/fail or credit/
no credit. With the class not being graded, students
would be freer to express their true views in lieu of
spitting out the party line to assure themselves of an
Right now, everyone is getting an "F." The
University is diverse all right, but it is aconglomera-
tion, not a community. We need to blend the colors
outside the lines to discover colors we never knew
The requirement would provide the communi-
cation crayon we need to do it.
By Matt Wimsatt