Cartoon insensitive to Arab and Muslim communities

To the Daily:

I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard a racial slur concerning my Arab heritage and Muslim identity in post-Sept. 11 American society. I cannot enumerate the occasions where I have been asked if I know Osama Bin Laden, if I was hiding a bomb under my scarf or if I had a pet camel in my backyard. The cartoon that was printed in the Daily depicting a scheming Bush between a Sunni extremist and Shiite extremist (The Take-Out Box, 10/05/2005) does nothing to quell the common stereotypes and misconceptions about the Arab and Muslims communities. While the cartoon shows how President Bush comes between Muslims and causes problems between people, it also propagates the notion that Arabs and Muslims are violent in nature and that the smallest thing sets them off. The Arabs in the cartoon are portrayed as scowling barbarians as well as stupid foreigners who fall for the cunning American’s ruse. Negative images such as these encourage and justify discriminatory behavior. Having a semi-appropriate political message does not justify the latent racism expressed in the cartoon. I ask that the Daily be more sensitive in its cartoons, especially during religious holy months such as Ramadan.

Shimaa Abdelfadeel

LSA senior

The letter writer is political chair of the

Muslim Students Association.

 

University action can stop Coke’s human-rights abuses

To the Daily:

The “In Dissent” piece in Friday’s Daily (Go ahead, drink Coke, 10/07/2005) is rife with logical incoherence and strange arguments that do not make much sense. Jesse Forester appears to believe that even though the case for the University not renewing its contract with The Coca-Cola Company has “valid” points, there is no point in doing so because it will be “ineffectual” against a company that is financially powerful and is “coming off a year of record profits.”

There are three giant problems with this line of reasoning. If we accept this line of argument, then we will have to conclude that no powerful entity or institution can ever be challenged because such attempts will always be “ineffectual.” History, however, shows that this is not the case, because otherwise we would still have the once-powerful institutions of apartheid or slavery. The argument that the University would not make a significant enough dent in Coke’s profit line by cutting its contract ignores the fact that not just the University, but many universities across the country are rethinking their relationship with Coke, and several have already severed their ties. While the action of no one single university may have a significant enough impact, the fact that this scenario is being played out at university after university has a very strong cumulative effect. A university’s decision to sever its ties with a company sends a message that resonates well beyond the immediate financial impact of the decision. It has a powerful symbolic value as well because of the kind of institution a university is – not just a profit-making entity, but a place where thoughtful people compile, analyze and produce knowledge, and where the next generation of thoughtful citizens is shaped. Decisions taken by a university weigh more heavily than other decisions made by other entities where similar financial consequences are at stake.

Finally, Forester’s opinion that investigating companies that face allegations of abuse will open the way to a floodgate of frivolous allegations, making the University a “hostage,” is unfounded. The University has structures in place such as the Dispute Review Board that can easily separate frivolous allegations from serious ones. The specter that investigating allegations would raise prices of products sold at the University also makes no sense. There are many companies free of serious human rights abuse allegations competing with each other to sell products, and if one company overcharges, the University can always turn to another company and sign a contract with the company that charges a lower price.

Sayan Bhattacharyya

Rackham

 

Washington knew what columnist doesn’t: Party politics hurt nation

To the Daily:

Twice within a single week I’ve had the disappointment of opening the Daily to find canned, partisan rhetoric masquerading itself as journalism. First, Sam Singer attempted to brush off the DeLay indictment (Why DeLay will get off, 10/04/2005) while ignorant of facts published the prior day in numerous media outlets. Now, Jesse Singal (The GOP and the oppressed majority, 10/07/2005) touts the “oppressed majority” scheme as a useful political strategy. His definition of the oppressed majority as “everyday Americans – Americans with American ideals” is more void than a black hole. If any group is an oppressed majority in this country and the world, it is the working class.

Singal claims to support meaningful dialogue between people of varied opinions while proclaiming the GOP’s supposed excellence throughout the entire column. By engaging in divisive campaigns, for which Singal gives the GOP his compliments, we make dialogue and understanding nearly impossible. It is in our personal and national interests to identify with each other as human beings first and as members of a political party last. As George Washington warned in his farewell address, political parties “serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and – to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.”

Adam White

LSA senior

 

LEO dispute overshadowed studio dedication ceremony

To the Daily:

The dedication of the Stamps Studios on Friday was a momentous event for the School of Art and Design. I am disappointed that you chose to cover the conflict between the Lecturers’ Employee Organization and the School of Art and Design instead of the significance of the new facilities (Lecturers criticize art school dean, 10/10/2005). Although there are unresolved issues between the administration and LEO, Friday’s dedication was about the successes of the school and its innovative curriculum.

Through a generous donation from Penny Stamps and her husband Roe, the school was able to construct nearly 100 individual, 64-square-foot studios in place of old classrooms on the first floor of the Art & Architecture Building. The Stamps Studios provide a secure, private space for each senior to work on his year-long integrative projects.

It is through the efforts of Dean Bryan Rogers and Associate Dean Mary Schmidt that alumni of the school have become reconnected and financially engaged in the important improvements being made. Through alumni support, the school has been able to fund the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Lecture Series, a new metals studio, visiting professors, study abroad programs, scholarships and outreach programs in Detroit. The dedication last Friday was a vital, positive step forward for the School of Art and Design, and should have been represented as such by the Daily.

Mollie Bates

Art and Design and LSA junior

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.