To the Daily:
Stop talking about affirmative action
In November 2006, 58 percent of Michigan voters voted to outlaw race- and gender-based affirmative action. The University and The Michigan Daily didn’t seem to get the memo.
We’re sick of hearing about affirmative action. The more the Daily publishes articles about it, the more it increases racial tensions and arguments. Also, the Daily seems to think that just because its readers go to the University, they automatically agree with affirmative action. This is – newsflash – not the case. When the Daily keeps beating this dead horse, not only is it angering the people who rarely get their opinion heard (those against affirmative action) it is alienating 58 percent of the voters in the state. These are the same taxpayers who fund part of students’ education at this public university.
Give it up already. Find a new topic to get on a soapbox about.
Staying true to the language requirement
I took issue with an article yesterday about how some students are able to bypass the University’s language requirement (Obscure policy lets some dodge requirement, 02/12/2008). As someone majoring in German and Arabic I’m biased, but letting students out of the language requirement is asinine and unfair.
Far from the abstract theories that make up most college disciplines, foreign language is one of the few studies that yields an applicable skill. Yet people complain about it all the time. I’ve heard all sorts of arguments, from “I won’t have to use another language in my career” to “everyone in my family inherited an inability to learn foreign languages.” These are cop-outs.
No one would let me off the hook for my quantitative reasoning requirement if I made the same argument about math. If you’re a student who attends classes taught in English, the idea that you can’t learn a foreign language is offensively ludicrous. Human beings are biologically, instinctively predisposed to the acquisition of language, much more so than algebra or chemistry. If you can’t “do languages,” as some people claim, you’re either aphasic or lying.
Learning your mother language is much easier than picking up a second one later in life, but that’s why you have to study. It’s supposed to be hard and take effort. That’s why universities teach it. But the inherent ability to learn a language is there, more than any other subject you could take. Claiming you are unable to fulfill the language requirement because you can’t learn a foreign language has less merit than saying you can’t fulfill the humanities requirement because you’re a sociopath. But students are getting away with it.
I wish the University would stay true to its commitment to a comprehensive education. And I wish students would recognize that they’re shooting themselves in the foot being monolingual in a globalized job market.