Gay writer does not have a ‘special license to offend’ To the Daily: I’m writing in regard to Steve Du Bois’s column in the Weekend Magazine (I’m just like you, only gay, 1/6/2005).Steve, you’re gay. Fine. In fact, wonderful.  You’ve got the right to be gay and be open about it. Personally, I don’t agree with your decision, but that is irrelevant, it is your choice. However, in accordance with your request, I refuse to treat you any differently than any other man. Being gay does not give you special license to offend. Unfortunately, I found certain language in your column very offensive. Imagine for just a moment that you were straight. Such a phrase as “surely I like the cock” might translate into “surely I like the pussy.” Something tells me women might find such a line objectifying and offensive, and hopefully, someone would say something about it. Being a man, I feel similar about your words. Including brief anecdotes in your articles of your sexual exploits — or perhaps given your tone, conquests — is unnecessary and makes other members of your community feel more like targets than people. Yes, you’ve got a constitutional right to say whatever the heck you want in this paper, but please don’t abuse it. You write for The Michigan Daily, which gives you significant power to be heard. With that power comes responsibility. I’m appealing for maturity, decency, respect and sensitivity. In short, be a man.To the staff of Weekend Magazine:I’m not asking you to walk on eggshells. Indeed, a large part of the Daily’s appeal is its boldness. However, I must ask that you be consistent when deciding what is acceptable in your paper. It is alarming to me that the only cultural group it is currently socially acceptable to offend is straight white males.  Believe it or not, we’ve got feelings too.Ryan KotenkoEngineering FreshmanU.S. needs to increase its share of foreign aidTo the Daily: I could not agree more with Zac Peskowitz’s notion of linking U.S. aid to good governance and human rights (A new way to do foreign aid, 01/05/2005). Peskowitz also rightly pointed to the Millennium Challenge as the world’s best way to help underdeveloped countries.However, I take issue with Peskowitz’s point that “the ensuing debate over the relative stinginess of the United States when compared to other industrialized democracies is a false and dishonest discussion.” The statistics regarding the very Millennium Challenge donations that Peskowitz supports debunk this claim.The Millennium Challenge, in the Monterrey Consensus of 2002, states that all governments are committed to a target of 0.7 percent of their GNP for developmental assistance. The United States is currently spending between 0.11 and 0.15 percent Gross National Product on aid. That is the lowest of all 22 donor countries!In addition, Norway (0.92), Denmark (0.84), Luxemburg (0.81), the Netherlands (0.80) and Sweden (0.79) have all exceeded the 0.7 percent pledge.I see this as a real opportunity for the American Left. The tsunami of Southeast Asia has made global aid a frontline political issue in America. Most Americans are not content with an isolationist policy when it comes to emergency response and “third- world” development, and were troubled by President Bush’s lack of urgency and world leadership when it came to tsunami relief. While the subsequent $350 million donation was right on target, that was after the initial pledges of $15 million and $35 million were rightly called “stingy” by the relief workers on the ground in Asia. America should be able to do the right thing without having to be asked.If the Left can call Bush to task on his lack of complete support for the pledge he made when he launched America’s Millennium Challenge Account in 2002 while simultaneously linking a smart, compassionate foreign aid strategy to a more effective war on terrorism, then you can expect big gains for the Democrats at the midterm elections. Chad RochkindLSA SophomoreStudents should have to take a gender and sexuality requirement To the Daily: I think the proposed gender and sexuality studies requirement is a good idea and cannot understand the bruhaha against such a minimal curricular addition. As a black, gay guy, I like the fact that little David from Conservative Town, U.S.A., would be academically exposed to not only the hot issue of race but also the erotic topics of gender and sexuality. I think the idea behind the existing race and ethnicity requirement is that students are forced to recognize racial diversity. Under the new proposal, they would also have to deal with the fact that not everyone is heterosexual and that not everyone keeps his birth sex. You should see the connection I am making whether you are gay or not.While it is true that black Americans have a history of slavery, oppression and separatism, even if I accept the idea that Americans may feel sorry for black Americans because of the visual and photographic reminders of racism, what Jason Z. Pesick (Gay activists misinterpret civil rights history, 12/14/2004) failed to recognize in his article is that most civil rights movements are actually based off the black civil rights movement. Of course the gay rights movement resembles the black civil rights movement. It’s the theory of organizations — if I have a new organization that I want to be successful, I am going to model it off of previous successful organizations.Pesick failed to point out one of the most historic events, if not the historic event, of gay history: the Stonewall riots in New York. He did not mention Matthew Sheppard, who was killed simply because he was gay. He did not point to the fact that sodomy, and therefore a same-sex relationship, was illegal in many states throughout the United States until 2003. Nor did he talk about the way in which men who identify as gay are treated in other places in the world. Specifically, I am thinking about Algeria or other Arabic countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.Moreover, people who identify as gay do share a common historical experience. Homophobia starts the instant you notice me and presume that I am homosexual, perhaps even before I have the chance to defend myself. We know that some gays are out while others are in. But the point is, if I were driving through a homophobic part of Alabama and if you, as a homophobe, identified me as gay, you might attack me the same way a member of the Ku Klux Klan might attack me for identifying me as black. I think you understand. Madison MooreLSA Senior

Gay writer does not have a ‘special license to offend’

To the Daily:

I’m writing in regard to Steve Du Bois’s column in the Weekend Magazine (I’m just like you, only gay, 1/6/2005).

Steve, you’re gay. Fine. In fact, wonderful.  You’ve got the right to be gay and be open about it. Personally, I don’t agree with your decision, but that is irrelevant, it is your choice. However, in accordance with your request, I refuse to treat you any differently than any other man. Being gay does not give you special license to offend. Unfortunately, I found certain language in your column very offensive.

Imagine for just a moment that you were straight. Such a phrase as “surely I like the cock” might translate into “surely I like the pussy.” Something tells me women might find such a line objectifying and offensive, and hopefully, someone would say something about it. Being a man, I feel similar about your words. Including brief anecdotes in your articles of your sexual exploits — or perhaps given your tone, conquests — is unnecessary and makes other members of your community feel more like targets than people. Yes, you’ve got a constitutional right to say whatever the heck you want in this paper, but please don’t abuse it. You write for The Michigan Daily, which gives you significant power to be heard. With that power comes responsibility. I’m appealing for maturity, decency, respect and sensitivity. In short, be a man.

To the staff of Weekend Magazine:

I’m not asking you to walk on eggshells. Indeed, a large part of the Daily’s appeal is its boldness. However, I must ask that you be consistent when deciding what is acceptable in your paper. It is alarming to me that the only cultural group it is currently socially acceptable to offend is straight white males.  Believe it or not, we’ve got feelings too.

Ryan Kotenko

Engineering Freshman

 

U.S. needs to increase its share of foreign aid

To the Daily:

I could not agree more with Zac Peskowitz’s notion of linking U.S. aid to good governance and human rights (A new way to do foreign aid, 01/05/2005). Peskowitz also rightly pointed to the Millennium Challenge as the world’s best way to help underdeveloped countries.

However, I take issue with Peskowitz’s point that “the ensuing debate over the relative stinginess of the United States when compared to other industrialized democracies is a false and dishonest discussion.” The statistics regarding the very Millennium Challenge donations that Peskowitz supports debunk this claim.

The Millennium Challenge, in the Monterrey Consensus of 2002, states that all governments are committed to a target of 0.7 percent of their GNP for developmental assistance. The United States is currently spending between 0.11 and 0.15 percent Gross National Product on aid. That is the lowest of all 22 donor countries!

In addition, Norway (0.92), Denmark (0.84), Luxemburg (0.81), the Netherlands (0.80) and Sweden (0.79) have all exceeded the 0.7 percent pledge.

I see this as a real opportunity for the American Left. The tsunami of Southeast Asia has made global aid a frontline political issue in America. Most Americans are not content with an isolationist policy when it comes to emergency response and “third- world” development, and were troubled by President Bush’s lack of urgency and world leadership when it came to tsunami relief. While the subsequent $350 million donation was right on target, that was after the initial pledges of $15 million and $35 million were rightly called “stingy” by the relief workers on the ground in Asia. America should be able to do the right thing without having to be asked.

If the Left can call Bush to task on his lack of complete support for the pledge he made when he launched America’s Millennium Challenge Account in 2002 while simultaneously linking a smart, compassionate foreign aid strategy to a more effective war on terrorism, then you can expect big gains for the Democrats at the midterm elections.

Chad Rochkind

LSA Sophomore

 

Students should have to take a gender and sexuality requirement

To the Daily:

I think the proposed gender and sexuality studies requirement is a good idea and cannot understand the bruhaha against such a minimal curricular addition.

As a black, gay guy, I like the fact that little David from Conservative Town, U.S.A., would be academically exposed to not only the hot issue of race but also the erotic topics of gender and sexuality. I think the idea behind the existing race and ethnicity requirement is that students are forced to recognize racial diversity. Under the new proposal, they would also have to deal with the fact that not everyone is heterosexual and that not everyone keeps his birth sex. You should see the connection I am making whether you are gay or not.

While it is true that black Americans have a history of slavery, oppression and separatism, even if I accept the idea that Americans may feel sorry for black Americans because of the visual and photographic reminders of racism, what Jason Z. Pesick (Gay activists misinterpret civil rights history, 12/14/2004) failed to recognize in his article is that most civil rights movements are actually based off the black civil rights movement. Of course the gay rights movement resembles the black civil rights movement. It’s the theory of organizations — if I have a new organization that I want to be successful, I am going to model it off of previous successful organizations.

Pesick failed to point out one of the most historic events, if not the historic event, of gay history: the Stonewall riots in New York. He did not mention Matthew Sheppard, who was killed simply because he was gay. He did not point to the fact that sodomy, and therefore a same-sex relationship, was illegal in many states throughout the United States until 2003. Nor did he talk about the way in which men who identify as gay are treated in other places in the world. Specifically, I am thinking about Algeria or other Arabic countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.

Moreover, people who identify as gay do share a common historical experience. Homophobia starts the instant you notice me and presume that I am homosexual, perhaps even before I have the chance to defend myself. We know that some gays are out while others are in. But the point is, if I were driving through a homophobic part of Alabama and if you, as a homophobe, identified me as gay, you might attack me the same way a member of the Ku Klux Klan might attack me for identifying me as black. I think you understand.

Madison Moore

LSA Senior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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