The University of Michigan Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People publicly denounces BAMN for their actions at the University of Michigan this past Thursday. The rally had no positive ramifications and only served to humiliate and embarrass black Michigan students and black people everywhere. The rally perpetuated myths and stereotypes about the black community that pervade this campus, nation and world. While the high school students were able to leave the campus and go home, and the white organizers of BAMN were able to go on living their privledged existences with no consequences. The black students at the University of Michigan were left to clean up the mess and reassemble their destroyed pride and dignity. Because of this under no circumstances will BAMN be allowed at any U of M Chapter NAACP meetings, which includes but is not limited to: emailing our membership, attending our events or making general announcements. If BAMN organizers would like to participate in NAACP meetings as individuals then they are more than welcome. But under no circumstances will BAMN be allowed to organize in or around the U of M Chapter NAACP in the future. On Monday, Novemeber 7, 2005 NAACP President Riana Anderson will be meeting with BAMN organizers to talk about how they can better improve their relations with the black community.
The MSA meeting was apparently quite an event. Alex Moffett outlined her version of the event in a much more detailed letter that I may post later. There are, again, a number of interesting pieces on Affirmative Action, but I was most intrigued by Mara Gay's "The gags have got to go." I was so intrigued by her piece that I penned a response. I'm not sure if I'm going to send it to the Daily.
My response to Mara Gay's piece:
I appreciate Mara Gay'?s discussion of the last Thursday'?s events, but I think she misses a few key factors. First, the day of silence was designed to highlight the silence that would ensue if Affirmative Action programming was eliminated among all communities of color, not just the Black community. It is all too often that our dialogue on Affirmative Action and programs that are historically tied to it (i.e. ethnic studies, multicultural centers, etc.) are limited by a Black and White racial dialogue. While it is true that Black students compose the largest minority group on campus, it should be equally telling that other groups are underrepresented and often less "heard"? among the debates on Affirmative Action. Second, while the BAMN rally has consistently been characterized as out of control, there were a number of formerly gagged students who attempted to intervene in the chaos but were unable to change the high school students'? actions. The gags for some did come off, but their message still wasn'?t received. Third, there is the old adage that the "squeaky wheel gets the oil"?, which I believe is one major reason BAMN has consistently gotten national attention. Many progressive communities have consistently organized to amplify the voice of organizations that provide an alternative to BAMN (i.e. Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Critical Moment, The Independent, etc.) but locally until recently most groups could make very little headway on getting their views represented. Now that there are more visible and acknowledged alternatives, I implore all to get involved or at least attend a meeting so that you can gain greater knowledge. It appears that now is the time for other voices to rise, but not necessarily be "loud?." If we take the business of organizing against the MCRI seriously, then we will continue to argue with strong logic and drawing appeal to the population that is on this campus and far beyond. The majority of this state does not look like U of M, whether you measure it by class, race, sexual orientation or political orientation. So the best question that I think can be asked is, "?What type of voice and what kind of message affect the masses of Michigan?" Now that the gags are off, the squeaky wheel has been exposed, and the MCRI is forging ahead we must seriously consider how this fight for equality will be engaged and won.
After a rather quiet spell, things are really not quiet anymore on campus. I know a number of folks who are alums check in and ask about campus, well no longer will I be able to say, nothing is going on. I truly think the public denouncement of BAMN and visible support for it is new.
N.B. A story from 2001 involving MSA and BAMN. Thanks for the reminder of the history and the link Rob.