Monday, June 11, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
C, he WicbiganDailu
An indiscriminate infection
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
EDITOR IN CHIEF
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. Allother
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of theirauthors.
The last straw
Recruitment cannot overcome law's limits
After months of hard work by the University to
recruit underrepresented minorities and main-
tain diversity, the final admissions numbers are
in - and the results aren't looking good. In a year that
total admissions increased dramatically, minority admis-
sions were the exception to the rule. It's time to face the
harsh reality many have dreaded - the University can't
promote diversity on its own. Proposal 2 needs to go.
In the last few months, the
media has buzzed about the hot-
test new sexually transmitted
infection to grace the nation,
one that has been linked to seri-
ous health problems like cervi-
cal cancer. Part of that buzz has
been the advertising campaign
to promote Gardasil, the inocu-
lation against the virus. But
as I have followed the media's
frenzy over HPV, I have become
Wanting to be a responsible
healthcare connoisseur (not to
mention wanting to keep my
cervix intact), but not loving the
prospect of voluntarily offering
up my arm as a pincushion, I
decided to do my own investiga-
tion of HPV and the vaccine.
Don't get me wrong; I'm all
for the HPV vaccine. As a rule,
I'm very anti-cancer -- a stance
I think most people share. My
beef has to do with one little
detail I have never read in the
news coverage: men.
After poking around the Cen-
ters for Disease Control and
Prevention's website, I learned
that men are equally as likely
to be carriers of the virus as
women are. Maybe that's not
such a shocker, but this led me
to wonder why all the commer-
cials for the vaccine featured
little Suzy riding around on her
skateboard, talking about how
she wanted to be "one less."
Why was little Sam distress-
ingly less concerned with con-
tracting HPV? The answer is
that the vaccine has not yet been
licensed for men. Why, you ask?
Because testing of the vaccine
on men began only recently; its
effectiveness and side effects
are still being investigated.
But this is the part that confus-
es me. Despite the fact that men
and women are equally vulner-
able to this disease, women were
targeted first for STI prevention
- a prevention that includes
multiple painful injections, as
well as high costs to either the
patient or the government.
This raises some serious ques-
tions. Why is it that women were
targeted first in a seemingly
guinea pig-like fashion? Why is
it that, once again, sexual health
responsibility falls singularly
upon the shoulders of women?
Please do not disregard this as
the rantings of a bitter feminist.
I am concerned for men, too.
According to the CDC, there is
evidence to suggest a possible
link between HPV and genital
cancer in men as well. So while
little Suzy can skateboard off
into the sunset, carefree little
Sam has to worry about the pos-
sibility of contracting penial or
anal cancer somewhere down
the road. This hardly seems fair.
The real question is, why did
this disparity in research and,
consequentially, in treatment
exist at all? It seems like every-
one stands to gain something
from this treatment. Without
it, men have a lot to (ahem) lose.
And that would be a shame.
Kate Truesdell is an LSA
senior and a member of the
Daily's editorial board.
While the percentage of
admitted applicants increased
by 15 percent this year, minority
applicants did not see a boost;
the number of underrepresented
applicants admitted to the Uni-
versity dropped by 7.4 percent.
Additionally, the acceptance gap
for minorities compared to non-
minorities closed from 12 per-
cent to about one percent.
Some may point to these statis-
tics as a sign of Proposal 2's suc-
cess, with the rate of acceptance
turning out to be roughly equal
for each group. After all, that
would seem like just the statistic
that all sides of the affirmative-
action debate can agree on.
But numbers can be deceiving.
Inevitably, there's only one bot-
tom line: admissions of minori-
ties are down. When 175 more
minorities apply than in the
previous year and 111 fewer are
admitted in the next, it's a dis-
couraging prospect for the future
of diversity at the University.
Affirmative action addresses
very real inequalities corre-
lated with race. Minorities do
not receive the same resources
and opportunities as those in
the majority, and that creates
setbacks embedded in academic
track records. Simply looking at
admissions numbers and saying
that these groups are equal is an
oversimplification because, for
the privileged, it's far simpler to
prove qualification on paper.
After generations of inequal-
ity that never seems to go away,
change will require action rather
than wishful thinking. To the
University's credit, the increase
in minority applications speaks to
its impressive recruitment efforts
and proves that ours is an institu-
tion more than fit for the task.
But with Proposal 2 still in
place, the University's hands are
tied. Recruitment efforts can
only go so far to promote diversi-
ty; the University needs freedom
in other parts of the admissions
process to act effectively.
The University has largely
done its part. Now there's anoth-
er responsibility for us all to face:
the overturning of a law that
stands in the way.
Laughing it off
Dearborn was recently host
to the Radius of Arab-American
Writers, Inc., a seminar discuss-
ing current issues pertaining
to their community. One of the
prominent guests at the event
was Ray Hanania, a columnist
and reporter who has been syn-
dicated in both American and
Israeli papers. Hanania spoke
about his experiences as a Pales-
tinian writer working for a Chi-
cago paper and learning to live
Hanania stressed the impor-
tance of representation in the
media and mentioned how pub-
lic opinion is often manipulated
by the media's portrayal of cur-
rent events. He explained that
bias is created through subtle
plays with language that de-
emphasize the seriousness of
confrontations between Israeli
soldiers and Palestinians.
One example of this is the con-
tinuing discrepancy in the use
of the word "terrorist." Simply
because of the subject, some acts
are described as "barbaric terror-
ist" actions while others are not.
Another example of this bias
is evident in the war in Iraq.
Because the war is distilled
in terms of the American cau-
salities and commonly omits
mention of the Iraqi civilian per-
spective of the conflict, we have
a misleading image of the war.
However, at the RAWIlgather-
ing, Hanania broached this topic
with a fervency and emotion
that is missing in the current
newspaper coverage of these
events. He and others at the
RAWI conference demonstrated
that the Arab-American com-
munity encounters increasing
amounts of prejudice because
the media portrays its populace
through an Orientalist, pop-cul-
ture approach. This same media
also omits or down plays its suf-
fering in the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict and the war in Iraq.
The biased depiction of Arabs
within the media places Arab-
American writers in a delicate
predicament - they are faced
with the dilemma that what they
write willreflect their entire pop-
forced to evaluate how they seek
to portray their community and
if they should attempt to directly
counter the stereotypical image
of Arabs in their works.
But Hanania presents an
interesting response to this phe-
nomenon. He is on an Israeli-
Palestinian comedy circuit that
counters this image with the
seemingly disarming venue of
humor. Using this approach, the
group reaches an audience that
would otherwise resist a cri-
tique of the American media.
Until Arab-American writers
can write in a free stream of con-
sciousness approach that ignores
the politics of publishing, their
Israeli-Palestinian comedy tour
seems like one of the most effec-
tive ways to counter pop cul-
ture's stereotypes through the
guise of pop culture itself.
Jennifer Sussex is an LSA
junior and a member of the
Daily's editorial board.
Editorial Board Members: Mike Eber, Jennifer Sussex,
Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner