Thursday, January 15, 2004

Now you can affectionately call me Mr. MPD (multiple personality disorder). Because I go to sleep defending BAMN, and wake up asking why is CUM (Citizens for a United Michigan) advocating BAMN's don't sign campaign? Now fundamentally, I do not take issue with a don't sign campaign, the issue I take is a strategic one. The opposition will be garnering signatures in the whitest of White locations, places like Livonia, etc. Which means they are gonna stay out more racially-diverse areas if they want to get the most bang for their buck. For the sake of argument, let's suggest BAMN is effective at organizing .... Detroit, I said for the sake of argument- follow me, the MCRI would just side-step Detroit completely and hit the suburbs for their signatures. I cannot foresee middle aged White women meeting up with BAMN foot soldiers and saying, "Why wait a minute, this initiative is bad. I'm not gonna sign." Having gone door to door in Metro Detroit (city and surrounding areas) I can tell you that its amazingly hard to get in the door, literally, and people will likely not be open to hearing you suggest an initiative against Affirmative Action is racist. Feel me?

"Thus the highest realization of warfare is to attack the enemy's plans; next is to attack their alliances; next to attack their army; and the lowest is to attack their fortified cities." -Sun Tzu Art of War. Does anyone else feel like we missed the first three levels? Ugh!

And as you can see from the article, people are now beginning to attack CUM's alliances ... Come on General Rice!

And on another sad note, Carol Mosley Braun has decided to drop her campaign for president. She'll be backing Dean too.
Okay, okay, I have no idea why I am still await, and even less idea why I am reading Jason Pesick's editorial entitled, "Please give liberals back liberalism." The piece starts with some valid points about the roots of BAMN and immediately problematizes some of their tactics, but soon there after Pesick loses me. First, may I suggest that Pesick, nor anyone at the Daily invoke the Black Student Union's name, in defense of your issues with a group. I doubt that you are fully aware of the history, and including the BSU name will not offer you a cloak of amnesty from being a racist. Actions define racism, not affiliations. But then again ... The first thing Jason has to realize is that "liberalism" is not a static ideology. I'm sorry, but liberalism can not be quaintly defined as, "A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority." Being liberal is a relative ideological positioning, if the center shifts, so does liberalism. With that said, at some point, the terms Marxist and Communist will cease to scare people. Wow, attempting to enact a code that limits the proliferation of symbols of hate in times of heated racial tension, boy of boy, you might as well be a conservative ... oh wait, don't they want less government intervention? I'm so confused, was that liberal or conservative? It's a game of semantics. If you don't like Bamn's tactics, then suggest alternatives. Last year, SSAA was really successful at doing this. Oh wait, maybe liberalism comes from sitting behind a desk at the Daily writing editorials.
Wednesday's Daily features an article on David Boyle, U of M Law School Alum's, petition to end alumni preferences (and yes this is a real preference*) in the state of Michigan. Boyle faces the same hoops that Connerly and croons have jumped if he wants it on the November ballot. The acronym is darn hilarious, MERIT, but I am a little worried that too many people will take it the wrong way and endorse this initiative as part and parcel with Ward's initiative. I can see people in Midland, Michigan saying, "Why yes I do believe in merit and I do not like discrimination." Then we end up in a sick-sad world where the meagerly informed vote yes on both. Boyle is pretty outspoken and usually stands in favor of Affirmative Action.

*I say this is real preference, note the difference in wording and tone on the U of M page on factors considered in admission:

"Will alumni ties still be considered?
The University values the relationship it has with current and former students. These students are part of the Michigan community. Alumni serve as a vital part of that community both as lifelong ambassadors for the University, and as lifelong learners who are encouraged to continue to be involved in the life and programs of the institution after they graduate. Accordingly, we will continue to consider-as one of many factors, but not as a determinative factor- a direct relationship, or stepfamily relationship, with someone who has attended the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor as a degree-seeking student."

"How will race factor into the new process?

Academic factors are the first and overriding criteria. Other factors will be considered, but the applicant must, under all circumstances, demonstrate the ability to succeed at and contribute to the University. Race will be only one of many additional factors taken into consideration during the review process, as will socioeconomic factors, geography, and special or unique experiences, skills and talents. All the factors we will use in the review process will be in the overall context of individualized consideration of each application. Furthermore, every student will have the opportunity to highlight his or her own special and unique qualities that will contribute to the overall diversity of the class. Multiple reviews by different staff members and validation by management staff will ensure that no single, nonacademic factor has a disproportionate impact on the overall admissions decision."

And the statement of the obvious award goes to the Michigan Daily for echoing Monique Perry's, VP of MSA, statement that the Trotter House is in need of renovation. Apparently the Daily missed that the facilities have been inadequete for the past .... 20 years. Good job Daily, it's only news if someone says it at an MSA meeting. By the way this in no way a diss to Monique, she is right-on for bringing it up again in public forum!

The transformation of the Trotter House from a Black cultural center to a multicultural center reminds me of the demands of BAM I (1970), BAM II (1975), and BAM III (1987):

BAM I -Demand # 7 "The establishment of a community-located Black Student Center."
BAM II- Demand- "The establishment of a Chicano Cultural Center;"
BAM III- Demand #2- The University of Michigan must grant the immediate endowment of $150,000 dollars for the William Monroe Trotter-House to insure that the integrity of African-Apreservedulture will be perserved in spite of the vile climate of racism that persists in the University."

Seems like the U has historically had trouble handling biz around Trotter and neglected other communities despite demands for address!!!

And on a much lighter and two completely unrelated notes:
1) I finally joined Blackblogz, you'll see it in the bottom left hand corner. Okay, I admit that I don't fully understand it, but it seems like a good thing.

2) I am really wondering is it possible to really dislike people, but really love friendster? I am now obsessed with friendster.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

So apparently the editorial by Steve Cotner in Monday's Daily prompted quite a response. The editorial does really give BAMN a lot of credit, but the responses to the editorial are the most interesting. Penned by 2 sophomores- Jeremy Curtis and Kylie Burleson ... yeah wise fools... I'm looking for the wisdom still. Cutis suggests that Affirmative Action has, "I am not one for affirmative action. I think it worked back when it was first started, but as times change, so do policies." Kyle Burleson's editorial states "The University is funded by taxpayers, why shouldn?t those taxpayers be given a choice in whether their money is used to enact an inherently racist policy?"

Okay, maybe I missed the boat but here is why these two propositions are too commonly uttered and make no sense! On the Aff Axn was good once but it's out lived its utility.
1) We are at a time when more students of color are enrolled in higher education than ever before, but we are far below representative for most of these ethnic minorities.
2) What was the initial utility that has died? Increased opportunity- looks like it's still working to me.

On the idea that Aff Axn is an inherently racist policy. 1) Have these people even read the new system of admission? Is the consideration of race a preference? If that's the case, if so, everything on the application is a preference!!! 2) Do these people know what racism is? Do they know what discrimination is? Do they really care?

Okay, enough babbling, I'm just confused how people still utter these things but have backing!!! Can people at least argue with information and ideas that are relevant?

Lastly, the Ballot initiative from the MCRI has been launched. By the way, I will openly say, this is Ward Connerly initiative. If you notice the MCRI is trying to push that it is Gratz's. If that is the case, then why the hell does it look eerily like the initiatives that Connerly has pushed before? Okay, maybe Connerly is a consultant .... yeah, just like a puppeteer with a puppet, just giving the lifeless characters voice.

PS. Special thanks to Rob Goodspeed for providing me with the new MCRI page, I was wondering why the old one was dead!

Monday, January 12, 2004

Well this is news to me! On the eve of the Michigan Civil Right Institute's launch of their campaign for signatures on the anti-Affirmative Action ballot intiative the Detroit News reports that BAMN is now officially tied with Citizens for a United Michigan. I was under the impression that C4AUM was not dealing with BAMN, but clearly, I've been out of the loop!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Before the MLK festivities go into full swing, I thought I would put a fake-o MLK site on BLAST! WWW.MARTINLUTHERKING.ORG is a page that attempts to tarnish King's legacy with half-truths and very poor argumentation (see for yourself). It appears the page is affliated with David Duke's webpage. You'll see this if you try to download an adobe version of the flyers they want people to download.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Here's some more stories on an oldie but goodie: Affirmative Action.
The Michigan Daily provides a pretty benign commentary on the Connerly Ballot Initiative, if you read yesterday's Ann Arbor News, no need to read this one. And suprise, suprise, the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) are going to support the ballot initiative.

Jay Greene, in a piece for the Washington Post, argues that improving the pipeline to higher education is crucial, more crucial than Affirmative Action. Point taken, but it's not a trade off, in the process of improving K-12 education (where we don't know a definite solution to creating equality) we must also still utilize Affirmative Action for those already in the system!

Lastly, I'm gonna need conservakids (Harris 2002) to get a new bag of tricks. They are really pressing on this "affirmative action bake sale thing." They just did one at Utah State University and this AP story covers some of the others that have happened nationally. In my old age, 25 ;) , I'm getting tired of the same tactics.

Lastly, because I like to laugh, and sometimes cry at the ridiculus, here is story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on names, not just any names, special names based on brands, Stop the madness!!! A la Casper in Kids, "What happened?"

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I'm back in effect mode... yeah.
So the Ann Arbor News ran a piece today on Ward's hustle to raise money for his ballot initiative to ban Affirmative Action in the state of Michigan. The article is fairly basic and doesn't lend much insight into the complicated discussion of how well citizens can or will be informed/mobilized on this issue. Last week, the A-deuce News ran a story on the EPIC-MRA survey that found 63% of residents are not in support of racial preferences. Note: I said racial preferences, not Affirmative Action. The wording of the question, as reported by the A-deuce News, asked if residents would be in favor of a ballot initiative to "prohibit government agencies or universities from discriminating against or granting any preferential treatment to someone on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin."
The language is critically important, dependent on the term used (affirmative action, racial preferences, discrimination, reverse discrimination, etc.) the findings of surveys and polls vary. Below you'll find an editorial by Doreen O'Donovan, a Ford School student, about the News' reporting of the poll. I don't think the Ann Arbor News ever ran her editorial. Boo them!
Dear Editor,

I am surprised that the Ann Arbor News would allow itself to be used as a tool
by the enemies of affirmative action. Your article "Affirmative-action
disfavor" fulfils their dream to confuse the public. The poll was written just
as anti-affirmative action supporters wrote the state ballot proposal: in a
perplexing manner.

The semantics involved in writing polling questions is no accident. Research
supports that the wording of the proposal is more important that the actual
content. Just look at your article. "Respondents were asked whether they
would support a state ballot proposal that would prohibit government agencies
or universities from discriminating against or granting any preferential
treatment to someone on the bases if race, sex, color; ethnicity or national
origin." What! How many times do you have to read that to figure out what
they are supporting?
University of California Regent Ward Connerly, who founded the American Civil
Rights Institute to end affirmative action policies, has learned from his past
mistakes. Affirmative action was upheld in Texas due to positive phases.
Negative wording was used in the California Civil Rights Initiatives of 1996.
It asked whether voters wanted to "eliminate" affirmative action programs. The
positive wording in the November 1997 referendum in Houston, Texas asked
whether the voters preferred to "retain" the city’s affirmative action program.

Results of vote to eliminate affirmative action in California: 55% Yes, 45% No
Results of vote to retain affirmative action in Houston, Texas: 55% Yes, 45% No

When the Board of State Canvassers approved the ballot proposal on December 12,
protesters primary concern was the wording. As journalist it is our
responsibility to report on the entire story, not just the words fed to you by
the out of state group that proposes to change our state constitution. Point
out the purposely-convoluted wording and how it might affect those who answered
the poll. Ask why Texas was able to control the wording of the ballot and the
Michigan Board of State Canvassers was not. That is the real story.

Don't forget to look at the ballot initiative language, which is located in the political corner!

Dress warm ya'll, it's gonna be a cold winter (in more than one way)!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Welcome back. Well you maybe saying to that to me since I haven't posted in a minute. I've been out of town, even on a Carribean vacation. Can you blame a brotha? But since I am still not back in Michigan this will be a short post that is all about me. Like to hear it? Here it go!

On December 28th, the New Haven Register, my local Connecticut paper covered a local club shooting in Milford, a suburb of New Haven. Their story, "1 man dies in Club shooting" was shockingly covert in its racial tones and messages. So on the way to the airport, to go on my fabulous vacation, I wrote a letter to the editor. The editorial is in today's paper. What do you think?

More to come later, I promise, for real. I know I've been slacking.