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May 24, 2004 - Image 3

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-05-24

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 24, 2004 - 3

Standig u. for freedom

Exhibit explores religious
diversity in Metro Detroit

By Michael Moore
and Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Reporters
Bill McNeece, director of photogra-
phy for the Pluralism Project at the Uni-
versity of Michigan-Dearborn, said
photography of different religious events
taken by himself and students participat-
ing in the project often elicit questions
about how he managed to take a trip
around the world. What people viewing
the exhibition soon discover is that the
pictures were all taken within 45 min-
utes of his Farmington home.
Southeast Michigan is home to five
million people and a multitude of faiths,
but people are generally unacquainted
with the diversity that exists in their
communities, Claude Jacobs, director of
the Pluralism Project at the University of
Michigan-Dearborn, explained Tuesday.
"These are really images from
Southeastern Michigan that most peo-
ple just aren't aware of, this diversity,
and it of course has implications for
the way that we interact with each
other, the way that we think about
each other, and the way that we think
about ourselves," Jacobs said.
He and McNeece presented their
work to an audience of about 20 in
West Hall, discussing the continued
development of diversity in the Unit-
ed States, from centers that represent
new immigration since 1965 to
changes in the way that long-time
Americans affiliate religiously.
They, along with more than 200 stu-
dents, have worked since 1999 to com-

pile over 1,000 images, almost 70 sound
samples and a number of ethnographies
from religious centers around metropoli-
tan Detroit for display in the centers and
other public venues.
Jacobs said that with the continued
significance of religion in American
life, it is important to encourage using
religion to promote understanding
instead of conflict.
He added that he hopes the current
exhibition, located in the lobby of the
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library until
the end of the week, and the presentation
piqued people's curiosity and compelled
them to further this type of dialogue and
their knowledge of religious diversity.
The exhibition displays selected
images from the religious centers and
about fifteen examples of recordings are
available at a computer listening station.
The local documentation, which cur-
rently includes information gathered
from visits to around 100 area centers, is
affiliated with the Pluralism Project,
started by Harvard University prof.
Diane Eck in 1991, to explore religious
diversity in the United States.
The project examines new religious
demography, changes in religious tradi-
tions upon their arrival to the United
States and changes in the country
because of this diversity.
"Most of us have a certain vision of
Detroit and this is one way of showing
us this vision is not completely accurate,
that that vision is much too limited," said
JoAnn Dionne, a University data librari-
an who is involved with the Library
Diversity Committee, which holds

Staff Sgt. Dustin Tuller, center, stands up from his chair, with the help of his wife,
Alisha as he prepares to to speak to a crowd gathered in Milton, Fla. for his
welcome home ceremony Saturday. Tuller lost both legs while fighting in Iraq.

monthly diversity-related events.
Dionne said she was glad to invite the
presenters, whose project she said
increases multicultural awareness and
"raises sensitivity toward both (recent
immigrants) and the people who've
been here (longer)."
Tim Retzloff, a Hatcher Graduate
Library late-evening supervisor, said he
attended Tuesday's event because of a
course he took last semester on the his-
tory of 20th century Detroit.
"I thought this would be a nice
compliment to what I learned in that
course," he said.
Retzloff added that while he goes
to public lectures as often as he can,
he found this one particularly
enriching because of the new infor-
mation it presented.
"I was flabbergasted by the variety of
faiths that are right under our noses here
in Southeastern Michigan, it's really
amazing" he said.
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h at GeneA Studies

I am Asian' campaign elicits mixed reviews

By Cocilly Tan
For the Daily
McDonald's strategy of reaching out
to the Asian Pacific American commu-
nity through a website seems to generate
more confusion among Asians than a
craving for a Big Mac.
The campaign, titled "I am Asian,"
includes a website, www.i-am-
asian.com, features pictures of Asian
Americans enjoying burgers and soda
on the main page and attempts to inte-
grate American life with Asian culture.
"From high fashion to high tech, from
Asian Pacific American hip hop to haute
cuisine, we're weaving the threads of our
culture into the fabric of everyday
American life," the website states.
IW Group, a public relations firm that
helps its clients target Asian communi-
ties, developed the McDonald's website.
Their website claims to create "cultural-
ly-sensitive, relevant advertising that
creates opinion and behavior change."
Representatives from McDonald's
could not be reached for comment.
The McDonald's website also
includes links leading to information
about the different Asian ethnicities, key
figures in Asian American history and
the testimonies of current Asian Ameri-
cans working for the fast food giant.
The website also pays tribute to

Asian Pacific American heritage. One
link greets visitors with "Happy Chi-
nese New Year," followed by a descrip-
tion of the holiday. Another link is
"McDonald's Celebrates Asian and
Pacific Islander American Culture."
Here visitors can read about holidays
and festivals in various Asian countries,
selected "to show diversity in cultures
and holidays."
McDonald's attempt resonated posi-
tively with some students in APA organ-
izations. LSA Sophomore Mary Hong,
treasurer of the Korean Student Associa-
tion, described the website as "random"
but said that the McDonald's intention to
reach out to Asian Americans was good.
Business graduate Jonathan Wu said
McDonald's website was "fun" and did
a good job of relating McDonald's prod-
ucts to the everyday life of Asians.
Some Asian students, however, were
concerned with some phrases on the
website that may promote stereotypes
about Asian American students.
"Whether we're sipping green tea or
enjoying a Big Mac sandwich, we're
helping make the magic mix called
America become even richer," the web-
site states.
"Not every Asian sips green tea."
LSA sophomore Teresa Wang said.
Nursing student Kimberly Lai also
expressed concerns about stereotypes in

"Not every Asian sips green tea.
- Teresa Wang
LSA sophomore
the website. She also said that as an Asian Ameri-
"The website makes all Asians sound can, her perception about McDonald's
like they're from poor areas of the remains unchanged because the website
world. The part about living in high is just another advertisement.
fashion and high tech in the U.S. "This McDonald's website makes me
(ignores the fact that) many Asian coun- wonder how much research they have
tries are as advanced as the United done on Asians," she said
States." See MCDONALD'S Page 8

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