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June 03, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-06-03

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Monday, June 3, 2002 - The Michigan Daily-
An interview with one of the "White Faces"

5

0 Incoming University
president will be
strongly pro-student
To THE DAILY:
I was a little surprised at the article
on the Iowa response to Mary Sue
Coleman's departure, "Iowans say
Coleman had challenging presidency"
(05/30/02). I find it incomplete and
cast negatively. While I amnot familiar
with Students Organizing for Labor
and Economic Equality in Ann Arbor,
Students Against Sweatshops did get
their way. The Daily article did not give
the whole story. Coleman did agree to
the policies that SAS inquired about in
the end. SAS demanded that a delega-
tion he sent to the Worker Rights
Consortium founding meeting.
Coleman and Iowa named Ned Bertz, a
member of SAS and the Rights
Committee, Laraine Nelson, the
Nursing School Student Services
director and the chairwoman of the
Rights committee, and Marcella David,
a Ut professor of law, would represent
Ut. SAS found this unsatisfactory,
claiming that the UI needed to join.
Iowa would like to find out about the
consortium before making a decision
Furthermore, the Daily Iowan
reported on May 2, 2000, UI officials
agreed with the Rights Committee's
recommendation in that they will
establish a code for companies licensed
to make UI apparel. Coleman will
appoint members of an advisory com-
mittee to draft the code. Dean Rhodes
maid the cede would force the compa-
nies to disclose information ahout the
conditions under which the apparel is
manufartured hefore the Ut would
license its logo. SAS protested anyway.
I am not claiming that SAS's claimss
were not legitimate. Conversely, I think
they informed the public and were
mildly successful in their efforts.
However, I think the argument that
Coleman was naive and non-respon-
sive to SAS's needs is a misperception
that needs to be cleared up.
Coleman is a great leader, politi-
cian and someone that will be missed
by Iowa. I want to let those at the
University know that she does work
well with student groups.
JASON GARDNER
Student, University ofIowa
Civil liberties are
central to a robust
democratic society
To THE DAILY:
Thank you to Daily staffer Megan
Hayes for covering the heartbreaking
presentation given by Japanese-
American internment camp survivor,
David Yamamoto, "Interment camp
survivor speaks on past experiences,
addresses current concerns,"
(05/20/02). One fact not mentioned
in the article, however, is worthy of
comment. Of the over 120,000
Japanese-Americans forced into
internment camps during World War
IH, not a single one was connected
with the attack on Pearl Harbor or
charged with espionage. Our current

administration should recall this fact
in light of law enforcement's contin-
ued detentions of Middle Easterners
since Sept. 11.
Ethnic profiling is an ineffective
means of solving and preventing
cme, not to mention discriminatory
and traumatic to those caught up in
such dragnets. Let's encourage the
Attorney General and intelligence
agencies to get their own house in
orderby examining where communi-
cation broke down prior to Sept. 11
and by shifting their focus from the
national origin of individuals to that
of suspicious behavior exhibited by
any individual, regardless of that per-
son's citizenship or country of origin.
MARY A. BEJIAN
Secretary, Washtenaw County
American Civil Liberties Union
Affirmative action
embarrasses the 'U'
To THE DAILY:
The University looked stupid,
again, on "60 Minutes" re-run, just
as it did the first time around. The
segment dealt with the University's
use of reverse discrimination in its
admissions practices. I take particu-
lar issue with the televised com-
ments of Law School Dean Jeffrey
Lehman, who said a diverse cultural
mix in a law school classroom
enhances learning, such as when
both blacks and whites learn together
about injustice by studying racial
profiling by police. I think what
Lehman means to say, simply, is that
the classroom environment becomes
more electric when lacks and
wihites get tgether to discuss racial-
ly sensitive issues. Well, duh! That's
hardly news. But classroom electrici-
ty is a side benefit to learning, not
the reason for it. Establishment of an
enhanced learng environment is no
excuse for and does not justify the
existence of a slanted playing field
for students seeking admission
"60 Minutes" reported that the
University awards a racial minority 20
points toward admission, while giving
only 12 points for a perfect SAT score.
The program went on to report that, in
a recent year, qualified individual
white students stood only a 2 percent
chance of being admitted to the Law
School while minorities had a near
100 percent chance of admission.
To my mind, affirmative action
outlived its reason and its usefulness
long ago. Continuing such inequities
-- particularly in a university setting
where individual diligence, hard
work, a sharp mind, a sense of fair
play and adherence to rules of com-
mon sense and justice are all sup-
posed to be engendered - just
makes the University, its administra-
tion and the surly Lehman look just
plain stupid. Again!
Maybe it's time for the debate to
be re-opened at the University once
more. Perhaps continuing to shed
light on this subject will help some
people to find their way.
JIM MARINO
Reader

KEVIN MCNEIL ANN AR
artmouth Col-
lege senior
David Trouillie
recently presented his
sociology thesis, "The
White Faces of Dart-
mouth College: A study
of racial identity among
white males." Trouillie
surveyed 50 white
males on the small Ivy League campus and
conducted extensive interviews with 15. I
conducted the following interview at the
University based on his premises.
Kevin McNeil: Excuse me.
White Face:Yes?
KM: I'd like to ask you a few questions
for my thesis. It shouldn't take very long.
WF: Okay.
KM: What do you think about your
whiteness?
WF: Huh? My what?
KM: Your whiteness, you know, that
racial privilege that provides you every
advantage in life - that which has provided
for your achievements, successes and
accomplishments.
WF: I'm sorry?
KM:You should be.
WF: I don't think that I'm following you.
KM: Let me put it another way. Do you
believe that what you have accomplished in
life has everything to do with your individual
effort and hard work?
WF: Well yes, of course.
KM: I thought you would say so.
WF: Whydo you say that?
KM: Because of your whiteness! You're

BOR'S RIG T rSI:E
perceptions are completely skewed by your
place in society as a white male and the
inherent advantages that you are given
because of your whiteness. You tragically
believe that who you are has anything to do
with your parents or your effort.
WF: But...
KM: I'm asking the questions here!
Now, moving right along. Tell me, do you
have any friends that are racial minorities?
WF: Well, I guess that my roommate is,
but we don't really have friends in common.
KM: I see! What your saying is that the
racial minorities are the ones guilty of self-
segregation on campus.
WF: I don't know if that is ...
KM: Just as I expected! Such a denial is
often associated with whiteness.
WF: You didn't let me finish ...
KM: Have you ever dated interracially?
WF: Well, I guess that I ...
KM: Exactly as I expected, your refusal
to date outside of the sphere of whiteness is
emblematic of a social structure that is dic-
tated by a white-centered world.
WF: That isn't exactly what ...
KM: Continuing right along, what is
your concentration?
WF: Political science and History.
KM: Exactly as I would expect, your
skewed perceptions of a white male domi-
nated world are the product of the Eurocen-
tric curriculum that pervades this university.
WF: That is not a fair assessment of the
situation ...
KM: Next question, tell me, what is the
basis of racism in contemporary America?
WF: I don't know if I can answer that -

it is such a difficult question.
KM: Precisely the response I would
expect out of someone plagued by white-
ness! What you're saying is that racism is a
phenomenon limited to "rather minor,
insignificant" incidents carried out by
"extremists."
WF: That's not what I ...
KM: And furthermore, that these "inci-
dents are limited to areas like the South.
WF: I'mnot ...
KM: Next question. Do you concede the
effects of your whiteness?
WF: The effects of my what...
KM: What you are saying is that you do
not significantly acknowledge systemic, cul-
tural, environmental or institutional racism.
WF: That's not what you asked ...
KM: Now, what is your role in construct-
ing social inequalities along lines of race?
WF: I don't think that it can be resolved
to one individual such as ...
KM: Unbelievable! You are actually
insinuating that racial minorities do not hold
the right values or that it is simply "part of
their culture."
WF: I insinuated no such ...
KM: That should about do it for the
interview. I would like to thank you for par-
ticipating in this important and groundbreak-
ing study.
WF: But ...
KM: This surely will help open up the
lines of discussion and dialogue on this
white-centered campus. Good day.
Kevin McNeil can be reached at
kIneneil@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
The dangers of Christian Zionism

BY AMER ZAHR
Recently, I attended the wedding of a
college friend, Huwaida Arraf. She has been
working for some time now in the Interna-
tional Solidarity Movement protecting the
rights of Palestinians living under brutal
Israeli military occupation. She wed Adam
Shapiro, a man whose courage as a member
of the ISM has caused him much heartache,
as his family had to endure him being called
a "Jewish John Walker." Huwaida and Adam
achieved something at their wedding that
has been so elusive for so long: A peaceful
coexistence of Jews and Palestinians, in the
union of their children nonetheless! For one
night, we were all able to escape the realities
of horror injustice, war and humiliation.
And after a brief honeymoon, Huwaida and
Adam will return to Palestine and continue
their work.
One of the new influences they will have
to face upon their return is the visible
increase of conservativenAmerican Christians
traveling to Israel in support of the Jewish
state. It is a curious alliance and begs many
questions about the motives of the Christian
Right. I would implore Americans, and
American Jews in particular, not to forget the
now infamous words of the Rev. Billy Gra-
ham, who told Richard Nixon that Jews in
America had a "stranglehold on the media
... They swarm around me and are friendly
to me because they know that I'm friendly
with Israel. But they don't know how I really
feel about what they are doing to this coun-
try." A political alliance between mostly see-

ular neo-conservative Jews and evangelical
Christians is driving U.S. policy toward
Israel and is behind the unconditional sup-
port for hard-liner Ariel Sharon, prompting
our president to call him "a man of peace."
This remark is most absurd because Sharon
has a long history of war crimes and using
violence as a political tool (otherwise known
as "terrorism"). Further, he ran for prime
minster on a platform of militarism, as a man
of war. Ariel Sharon doesn't even think Ariel
Sharon is a man of peace!
But while the alliance between the
American Christian Right and the Israeli
Right may seem natural, its deeper layers are
quite disturbing. During the most recent
Israeli offensive which left tens of thousands
of Palestinians homeless, maimed and dead,
House Republicans urged President Bush to
stop pressuring Sharon to ease up. This sup-
port lies in a sharedbelief that the West Bank
and Gaza are part of a "Greater Israel." In
other words, these lands are not to be
exchanged for any kind of peace with Pales-
tinians. Sharon's own Likud Party made this
belief known in its most recent convention,
declaring that it will not support any Pales-
tinian state west of the Jordan River. Conser-
vative leaders in the Republican Party have
made this conviction known as well. In a
recent appearance on "Hardball with Chris
Matthews," House Majority Leader Dick
Armey (R-Texas) expressed his support for
the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. "I'm
content to have Israel grab the entire West
Bank ... I happen to believe that the Pales-
tinians should leave." A stunned Matthews
tried to get clarification, "Well, just to repeat,

you believe that the Palestinians who are
now living on the West Bank should get out
of there?" Armey replied firmly, "Yes."
The real support for Israel among con-
servative Christians lies in a sort of religious
extremism. After the 1967 Six-Day War in
which Israel grabbed all of Jerusalem, con-
servative Christian groups celebrated the
fulfillment of their biblical prophecies.
That's what this is all about. The religious
beliefs of the Christian Right push their sup-
port for Israel, which would not be so bad
except for that their religious beliefs are
highly anti-Semitic. The hope is that Jews
will regain control of the entire Holy Land
and restore their kingdom, prompting the
Messiah to return. Jews will then either be
converted to Christianity or eternally
damned. So what lies behind the Christian
Right's support for Israeli actions is not a
belief in the existence of a Jewish state, but
rather a faith in the eventual destruction of
the Jewish people.
All the while, the Israeli military dese-
crates Christian sites, including occupied
Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, depop-
ulates Christian villages and strips Palestin-
ian Christians of their rights. The highest
flight rate from Israeli occupied lands, espe-
cially Arab East Jerusalem, has been among
the Palestinian Christian community. One
would hope that mainstream American
Christians would not be duped by the Chris-
tian Right and instead announce their sup-
port for the Palestinians in the face of
injustice and oppression.
Zahr is a Rackham student.

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