Hanink oversimplifies lack of African Nobel laureates

To the Daily:

I am writing in response to Johanna Hanink’s column (Nobel neglects black Africans, 10/27/03) regarding the lack of black African Nobel Prize winners. There are several incorrect assertions put forth within her article. First, Hanink seems upset that this problem has existed since the award’s beginnings in 1901. However, she fails to realize that for a good portion of the 20th century, many African cultures had no written language to speak of. The fact that the Nobel Prize committee subsequently had less African writers of international standing to choose from is not entirely its fault. Secondly, there are authors who represent the situation of post colonialism quite well who have won the award. V.S. Naipaul is perhaps the most eminent of these authors, but his recent Nobel Prize seems to strike Hanink as worthless, merely because he is not a black African. Lastly, there is the issue of the Nobel Prize committee’s selections in general. There have been some questionable selections in recent years, to say the least. The lack of black African winners, then, is not the result of some conspiracy perpetuated by a racist, Anglocentric Nobel committee. Many authors have been overlooked by the imperfect Nobel regime, not just black Africans.

Yes, there is a dearth of black African Nobel prize winners in literature. But there is much more to the issue than meets Hanink’s eyes, especially given her admitted “minimal research.”

Dustin Zacks

LSA senior

Reader proposes a pact with football coach Carr

To the Daily:

I have been a frequent and vocal critic of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr. I feel that Carr is oftentimes too conservative in his play calling, does not motivate his players as consistently as he should and has underprepared his team for critical moments. There are a litany of examples which I could cite concerning each of these charges: In this year’s loss against Iowa, there was a point when Michigan ran the ball on eight consecutive first downs; in last year’s loss against Iowa, Michigan came out very flat in what was an important game; in 2001’s loss against Michigan State, a costly personal foul penalty allowed the Spartans to eventually win the game. It is never Carr out on the field making errors; however, many of his players’ shortcomings are indicative of poor coaching.

Were more space available, I could further catalogue all that I find unfortunate and flawed in a man whose teams have lost too many winnable games. However, I would instead like to offer Carr some praise. Well done, Lloyd. This past weekend’s defeat of Purdue was an impressive display of coaching ability and deft preparation. Defensive coordinator Jim Herman devised a devastating defensive scheme, the Michigan offense was balanced and sufficiently daring when needed and the special teams were excellent. There are, of course, coordinators and subordinate coaches who helped to improve the Wolverines, yet it is always the head coach who is ultimately responsible for his team’s failures and thus should also get credit for its successes. I was proud to be a Michigan man on Saturday and was pleased by the coaching effort that translated into fine play.

However, I was unfortunately not born yesterday, and thus have an enduring memory of many Michigan teams whose sensational play certain weeks only made ensuing letdowns that much more difficult to accept.

So, I would like to propose a pact into which Carr and I can enter. Lloyd, I will relent in my criticism and give you the benefit of the doubt more often if you prepare your team well enough to avoid yet another meltdown fueled by arrogance and too many press clippings. The pact will go into effect now and can be reevaluated around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. I am one of those who feels that this current Wolverines squad is too talented to have lost twice already, yet I suppose that I will give you a chance to prove that it is not your ineptitude that has gotten the team to this point of lowered expectations and lost opportunities. Please don’t make me regret this choice.

Joseph Litman


Photo and article exemplify problems with public health

To the Daily:

While it may be unconventional to submit a letter to the editor referring to a photograph, I could not let my response to All in a day’s work (10/21/03) go unspoken. The photographer’s capture of a University Health Service paramedic’s smug expression while his cohorts attended to “resuscitating a homeless man” (in caption) deeply disturbed me. I don’t want to blame the paramedic, though. Perhaps it was simply a stroke of bad luck that a passing smirk and a camera shutter snapped simultaneously. Despite three other paramedics crouched around the victim, his apparent calmness mirrors apathy. Can the reader construe that injustice exists among emergency medical care of homeless people? The paramedic stood several feet away from the incident. Shouldn’t he be assisting with resuscitation? This picture is further puzzling, as it’s difficult to draw concrete conclusions from the events depicted. The detached article below the picture (Council votes down exchange of YMCA) told of the City Council’s veto to allow the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s purchase of the YMCA property. Because the city will remain its proprietor, the YMCA will incur a penalty for not offering housing at its new facility. There is a direct translation between housing availability, affordability and safety with public health. This case illustrates how low-income housing options are often a contentious point between real estate sales and government. We entrench the idea of second-class citizenry while sacrificing the well-being of others. Homelessness commands sensitivity. Equal access and a sense of medical urgency should be bestowed upon all, smirks or not.

As an aside relating back to the picture, it’s quite peculiar how the arrows on the street sign behind the paramedic’s head could be interpreted as devil’s horns: a subliminal insinuation?

Amy Peterson

School of Public Health

Ann Arbor residents should vote ‘yes’ on Proposal B

To the Daily:

Ann Arbor voters should pass Proposal B on Nov. 4, which among other things, will authorize funds to preserve and protect the parkland in and around the city of Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor isn’t now, never has been nor ever should be a city like other major urban centers. New York, for example, is known for its sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers, shops, restaurants and businesses. It is not known for its beautiful green fields and diversity of plant species. Ann Arbor, however, isn’t New York. Ann Arbor is a different kind of city that prides itself on its preservation of green space, beautiful flowers, and diversity of all kinds. This proposal will both continue and protect this tradition for future generations.

For the past three years as a student at the University, I have enjoyed running through Nichols Arboretum. This preservation, only a minute walk from campus, is possibly the most stunning area in Ann Arbor. I enjoy running there because it is away from all the traffic, away from all the students and their cigarette smoke, away from all the noise and away from school; it is simply a place with both splendid sights, and serene quiet. This is my main reason for supporting the proposal, but what about the things that reside in this city that don’t have the liberty to vote like I do?

This proposal will also protect things far more important than my Sunday afternoon run through the Arb. It will first of all do the city’s part in preserving the diversity of plants in the United States. While people may say our city cannot make or break plant diversity in the world, the United States or maybe even in Michigan, this is simply not a reasonable argument against the proposal. If every city in this country went through this same thought process and voted down similar proposals, this would change the makeup of plants in our country dramatically. It is probably true that Ann Arbor alone cannot change plant diversity in the United States, but Ann Arbor alone can and must do its part to preserve it.

Jack Zuckerman

LSA junior


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