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June 30, 2003 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-06-30

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 3t, 2003 - 5

I

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Court made right
decision regarding
affirmative action
TO THE DAILY:
Racism has been America's
most grievous national sin since
our country's inception. No
amount of affirmative action
programs will ever begin to
make up for the evil done over
the centuries to persons of
African descent. "Survival of the
fittest" conservatives are
bemoaning the recent pro-affir-
mative action decision handed
down by the U.S. Supreme
Court. I salute the Supreme
Court's decision. It would have
been a monumental error to have
decided otherwise. Affirmative
action is just one important way
of making amends for past
wrongs. Thank God for the wis-
dom of Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor and the four other jus-
tices who voted with her.
PAUL WHITELEY
Reader
Racial preferences
area form of
racism themselves
TO THE DAILY:
Some of the people on the
University's campus must be so
proud to help make a vast major-
ity of blacks and Hispanic
Americans, of all races, so
ashamed. Way to make us proud!
Tell me? Why are Asian Ameri-
cans not included in affirmative
action? Could it be because it
} stereotypes Asians as being
smarter than Hispanics or
Africans? Diversity is no excuse
for racism. Here is twenty points
because you are of African or
Hispanic decent. You are too stu-
pid to compete with European
Americans or a.k.a. "whites," so
here is your handout. Wow! You
guys must be so proud 'cause
you made us look so fabulous!
Here's a solution! Go back to the
U.S. Supreme Court and ask for
race and ethnicity to be taken off
all college forms. You work hard,
you prosper.
ALMA GRANA DE VALLE
Reader
Affirmative action
is about 'justice,'
not 'diversity'
TO THE DAILY:
Everyone is missing the point.
University President Mary Sue
Coleman said last week, "The
important point is that we've
always said that diversity is a com-
pelling state interest." And her
legal team said that same thing at
the hearing. And so said Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor: " ... the
law school has a compelling inter-
est in a diverse student body ... "

This is hogwash! The reason
for affirmative action is not diver-
sity; it's justice. We need affirma-
tive action because blacks and
Hispanics are subject to unequal
treatment in the justice system
and grossly unequal treatment in
the K-12 school system. Addition-
ally, many educational institutions
such as standardized tests have
been proven racist. All factors
controlled for, minorities tend to
score lower simply for being a
minority, for many reasons.
I've documented these at
http://aacaw.org/racism.httnl.
This "diversity" nonsense is
only being said because the Univer-
sity is unwilling to confront the
unpleasant reality that the U.S.
school system is deeply and tragi-
cally flawed, and segregation is one
of the worst symptoms. If they had
the courage to say, "We need affir-
mative action because the state of
Michigan has the fourth most seg-
regated K-12 system in the nation,"
they might end up being required to
actually look at that problem and
do something about it.
While the Law School's
admissions policies were upheld,
the Center for Individual Rights
has stated that it intends to sue
other schools. The attack on affir-
mative action resembles the
attack on Roe v. Wade: ongoing,
eroding justice one small victory
at a time. Hopefully, as the strug-
gle continues, people will view it
as one for justice, not just for
"diversity."
ADAM DE ANGELI
LSA senior
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes
letters from all of its readers. Letters
from University students, faculty,
staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters should
include the writer's name, college
and school year or other University
affiliation. The Daily will not print
any letter containing statements
that cannot be verified.
Letters should be kept to approx-
imately 300 words. The Michigan
Daily reserves the right to edit for
length, clarity and accuracy. Longer
"viewpoints" may be arranged with
an editor. Letters will be run accord-
ing to order received and the
amount of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail
to letters@michigandaily.com or mailed
to the Daily at 420 Maynard St.
Editors can be reached via e-mail at
editpage.editors@umich.edu. Letters e-
mailed to the Daily will be given pri-
ority over those dropped off in person
or sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

20/20
DANIEL ADAMS ADVA NTAE?2~ PUSH.

W hen Pres-
id ent
Bu s h
N; announced plans to
push the interna-
tional community
into war with Iraq,
itcame as a bit of a
surprise. It wasn't
exactly what we
were made to expect during the cam-
paign: "The vice president (Al Gore)
and I have a disagreement about the
use of troops. He believes in nation
building. I would be very careful
about using our troops as nation
builders ... I would take the use of
force very seriously. I would be
guarded in my approach." - Gover-
nor Bush, Oct. 3, 2000.
Guarded? Two years later, we've
guardedly kicked the shit out of the
entire Iraqi military, with little to
show for it. It's been nearly two
months now since the end of open
hostilities, and the number of U.S.
soldiers that came home in body bags
(190) far outnumbers the number of
chemical, biological or nuclear
weapons found (0) - not exactly
what we were made to expect in April.
"Operation Iraqi Freedom,"
despite its name, was never truly
about setting the Iraqi people free
(whatever that means). The Bush
administration may have had other
objectives for a preemptive strike, but

it made its case publicly to the Ameri-
can people and to the world that this
war was about the prevention of a
chemical, biological and possible
nuclear threat. That case was made
plainly by Secretary of State Colin
Powell on the floor of the United
Nations Security Council, shaking a
small vial of faux anthrax. Other
administration officials like Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, his
deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Vice Pres-
ident Dick Cheney all repeatedly
emphasized the scope and imminent
danger of the Iraqi stockpiles. We
weren't privy to the details of this
threat, for security reasons of course,
and in lieu of disclosing this sensitive
intelligence .information, the Ameri-
cans were goaded into supporting the
war with the promise of "Trust me."
Maybe Saddam wanted to make
Bush look bad and moved the
weapons. Maybe they never existed.
In either eventuality, Americans
deserve honest answers. Why haven't
we found any weapons? Why are
American troops still dying in Iraq,
acting as, dare I say, nation builders,
rather than soldiers? Nine out of ten
militant Iraqis agree - U.S. troops
are only slightly better than Saddam.
But this isn't something the presi-
dent is interested in discussing, espe-
cially with attention shifting to an
impending re-election bid. Bush
seems genuinely confused as to why

people are beginning to wonder
where the weapons are, calling these
attacks "outrageous," and "revisionist
history."
Revisionist history?
This has happened before. Bush
has become adept at redirecting the
fear that terrorism has created for
great political gain, mostly by making
promises. Promises to capture those
responsible for 9/11. Promises to cap-
ture Osama Bin Laden. Promises to
find Iraqi stockpiles. According to
Bush, we got our man: "The regime
of Saddam Hussein is no more, Amer-
ica is more secure, the world is more
peaceful and the long-suffering peo-
ple of Iraq are now free." Mission
accomplished! But for those of you
keeping score, he's 0 for 3. Call me a
revisionist, but that is unacceptable.
Unacceptable, because empty and
unfulfilled promises have given Bush
the support he's needed to do what he
wants overseas, yet not given Ameri-
cans the return promised on their
investment of men and material.
Unacceptable, because one large
conglomeration of horrible weapons
has now been moved (to where we
can't seem to find them) or worse,
spread out into many smaller caches.
Unacceptable, because it just is.
Where are the weapons, Mr. Bush?
Adams can be reached at
dnadams@umich.edu.

Our background and our beliefs
AYMAR JEAN No RtiYME, JUST REAS

NEW YORK -
Last week the
U.S. Supreme
Court scorned
the University's
admissions procedure
but upheld the con-
cept of diversity. In a
well timed maneuver,
the White House
Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives released, on behalf of Presi-
dent Bush, a position paper extolling the
virtues of charitable choice, giving reli-
gious groups and other charities the right
to base their hiring decisions on religious
and sexual orientation.
According to the paper, such insti-
tutions have "the right to hire those
individuals who are best able to further
their organizations' goals and mission."
"And if faith-based organizations are
deterred from providing services, the
real losers are the poor," stated OFBCI
director H. James Towey.
How the White House can fault
affirmative action - ignoring Bush's
half-hearted, almost disingenuous
approval of the court's decision - and
yet propose this plan is beyond my
understanding. It points at the hypocrisy
of this administration, and their misin-
terpretation of the role both charities
and universities play in society.
Universities are federally subsidized,
and all three branches of the federal
government have proclaimed their com-
mitment to diversity. As public institu-
tions, one of their "missions" - in

addition to providing education and fos-
tering an intellectual society - is to
promote diversity.
A faith-based or charitable organi-
zation has a mission - like a universi-
ty, it has a societal purpose.
Specifically, these organizations can
provide job training, drug-addiction
rehabilitation, counseling and shelter.
The difference between universities
and charitable organizations is that
universities must consider race - pos-
sibly some other factors - to promote
diversity, but religious organizations
need not consider sexual orientation to
"help the poor," as Towey claims.
The release of this position paper
should send a signal to America. It
shows Americans, a sizable percentage
of whom believe race should not be a
factor in admission, that the idea of race
still matters. In fact, in a broader per-
spective, Bush's hypocrisy and even the
hypocrisy of Justice Clarence Thomas in
the recent affirmative action cases both
point to one conclusion: Our background
and our beliefs still matter.
Thomas is a tragic figure - and not
in the literary, heroic sense. During his
life, affirmative action continually ele-
vated his social/economic status. And
so, since his race played a role, he rep-
resents (in addition to the sanctity of
law) a black man who has progressed
and succeeded. He also represents, as
New York Times columnist Maureen
Dowd suggested in her Wednesday col-
umn, a black man in inner peril.
Thomas called diversity an "aes-

thetic" that "does nothing for those too
poor or uneducated to participate in
elite higher education." In his argu-
ments, hidden behind his insecurities
on racial privilege, he argued the virtue
of equal access - the access that will
be denied homosexuals if Bush gets his
way. But also, his inflammatory dissent
in the admissions' case is a clear indi-
cation of the emotional and institution-
al significance of race. Race is not a
non-issue, yet.
Apparently sexual orientation mat-
ters. Some argue, rather effectively, that a
gay priest knows the Bible just as well as
a straight one. So why should his orienta-
tion matter? Because it is supposedly not
in line with the institution's beliefs. Why
should race matter? For essentially the
same reason, because it does matter to
the institution - it is in line with the
institution's beliefs. We consider these
factors in relation to the organization.
We're not all the same, and we're not
all created equal. Maybe someday we
will be, but for now, our background and
beliefs still matter. Concepts like race
and sexual orientation are fluid, and
their significance shifts according to the
situation. So the use of race does not
beget the discriminatory use of orienta-
tion. And maybe Bush and Thomas real-
ize this, but they should remember that
these facets of our personality should
not prohibit access to educational or
professional opportunities.
Jean can be reached at
acjean@umich.edu.

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