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August 08, 2011 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-08-08

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Monday,August 8, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


"We have nothing invested
in the continuation of
a regime that must kill,
imprison and torture its
own citizens to maintain
-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Syrian leader
Bashar Assad's deadly crackdown on protesters in Hama.
Singer doesn't understand complexities of
crime prevention
TO THE DAILY: mind that offering safety
Daniel Singer claims to advice is tantamount to blame,
"applaud" the efforts of the DPS a logic as addled as it is flawed.
in preventing crime ("Shirking Criminals cause crimes, as Mr.
Duty," 07/24/2011). In fact, Singer well knows. But it is also
he does these efforts little the job of DPS, indeed duty, to
justice. His "applause" is a weak identify factors correlated with
rhetorical gesture in a letter I can these crimes - namely, factors
only characterize as slip-shod or by which criminals target and
willfully distorting. select victims. Are they wrong
Mr. Singer would have it to caution us about these
that DPS suggests, instills the factors? Is this victim blaming,
opinion or even holds that in other words? To my mind,
victims are to blame for crime. no. DPS is only advocating we
Which of these is it? A proper make ourselves less susceptible
distinction is never made. As targets. Having little room, I
the reader proceeds, they are can say no more, except that this
told that DPS "is represented as sort of advice is sensible and in
having the attitude" of victim no way accusatory or oppressive,
blaming; that they "instill the as the author suggests.
attitude" of victim blaming; and I trust that DPS is genuinely
that they "suggest" the same. concerned with student safety.
Finally, DPS simply "tells" I must also assume its staff,
victims they are to blame, the working in crime prevention,
effects of which Singer likens knows something more about the
to terrorism. This language is subject than the average Daily
at best slippery and at worst, I hack, even one with a degree in
think, in bad faith. philosophy.
But the larger issue is
whether DPS in fact blames Ethan Menchinger
victims. Singer seems of the Rackham Student
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words and must include the writer's
full name and University affiliation. We do not print anonymous
letters. Send letters to tothedaily@michigandaily.com



well, the economy might be come again?
down, but at least
employment was up for Well the way statistics work,
July. even though the UNEMPLOYMENT
RATE is down, the number of You know you're in a tough
people working in July is actually spot when even the good news
well, that's not SMALLER than the number in June is bad news.
eactly true.
Awareness abroad

When students go abroad to vol- medical research laboratory.
unteer, what are their motives? I While he did not directly perform
can think of a few: to build their procedures on patients, he inter-
resumes, to acted with them by asking ques-
receive hands- I - tions and helped collect samples.
on experience Though he wasn't a doctor, his lab
in career fields coat and position earned him the
and simply as treatment of one. He said "anyone
a way to travel who wears that lab coat is treated
and see the like a relative god."
world. Addi- This story is reminiscent of
tionally, it's a my own experience last sum-
good way to ANNA mer teaching English to children
practice speak- CLEMENTS in Mexico City. As a part of our
ing skills while study abroad program, we taught
learning a sec- a few class sessions to students in
ond language and many say that it the community where we stayed.
and satisfies the need for a higher Though ill-prepared to teach, we
calling. came up with a few exercises for
But if students go abroad for the kids - mostly teaching them
any of these reasons without con- basic vocabulary, and then doing
sidering the bigger picture, then activities surrounding these
the way in which they carry out words. I had never learned about
their jobs may be problematic. A teaching ESL, and so most of the
host of temptations often arise, ideas I came up with - such as a
corrupting the altruistic desire scavenger hunt to practice using
to make a difference. There is the new vocabulary - came from my
American privilege - that is, the experiences as a summer camp
respect people are given based counselor and as a language stu-
soley on the fact that they live in dent myself. When I took a course
a powerful, wealthy country (this on teaching ESL a year later, I
is more relevant in some coun- realized how useful it would have
tries than others). There is also been to take that class before going
the job-related status - teach- to Mexico. But as college students,
ing English as a second language we often feel like we are already
may seem like an unimpressive qualified for almost anything.
profession here (and this is not to I know that the English classes
say that it is or that it should be), that my friends and I taught in
but in some countries and regions, Mexico were useful. This was the
teachers are respected with ardor, first exposure that some of these
and English teachers in particular kids had to English besides on TV,
are given special treatment based and knowing some English will
on the high utility of the language undoubtedly open up opportuni-
they offer. Overtime, the positive ties for them, however small they
reception of someone's services may be. Likewise, the service that
can become the driving force to my friend in Kenya provided was
continue them, rather than the highly useful to the community
altruism that inspired them in the he served. Nevertheless, while
first place. we held these positions, we had
A friend of mine was in Kenya to suppress hubris and remind
recently and volunteered in a ourselves not to get caught up in

the idea that we provided a much-
needed service.
Volunteering abroad can be ben-
eficial to everyone involved, but it
can also hurt people. In Mexico, I
became very close to a ten-year-
old girl in the class I taught. Upon
leaving, she gave me her address
and I promised to write. After
writing one letter and not hearing
back, I forgot about my promise,
motives can be
lost overseas.
and became too caught up in col-
lege life to write again. Since then,
I've thought about the possibili-
ties that such brief friendships can
have, both for better and for worse.
When we volunteer abroad as stu-
dents from the U.S., we are promot-
ing this country's image, earning
it the reputation of a nation that
reaches out to help others. Mean-
while, we are also promoting our-
selves. It can be difficult to interact
with people abroad without seem-
ing like a politician, only making
friendships out of convenience or
for personal gain.
Going abroad to study or volun-
teer is, for the most part, a posi-
tive experience. I do not mean
to undermine that truth. It will
become even better, though, once
the organizations that send stu-
dents, as well as the students them-
selves,travel with the awareness of
the their position, and the interests
of those they interact with.
Anna Clements can be reached
at asiobhan@umich.edu.

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