Arbor Update

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Diversity in '06 MSA presidential/vice-pres. tickets

14. March 2006 • David Boyle
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One thing for which to be grateful in this year’s Michigan Student Assembly race is the diversity evinced by the candidates. There are three women running for president out of four candidates, and two of the women are African American. A couple decades ago, this would have been unheard of…

The most diverse ticket is the Students 4 Michigan ticket, Nicole Stallings and Justin Paul: an African-American woman and a Caucasian-American man. (“From what I can tell”) In my AU posts, I have often said that the Michigan Daily should have a woman and/or minority editor-in-chief as soon as possible; I also thought this about MSA, although I may not have bothered explicitly to post that idea. So, whichever party students vote for, it is nice that S4M, the “incumbent” party on the Assembly, was forward-looking enough to choose an African-American young woman for the top spot.
(Too, I see that S4M has a party platform now! That is a positive thing, even though I see nothing about affirmative action/MCRI on it; whatever turns them on, of course…)

Not that any of the other parties is a slouch re diversity, either; in alphabetical order: Defend Affirmative Action Party (DAAP) has not only a fine dedication to affirmative action, but also a diverse top ticket, two women, Monica Smith (Afr.-American) and Kate Stenvig (Cauc.-American); Michigan Progressive Party (MPP) has a woman and a man, Rese Fox (Cau.-Am.) and Walter Nowinski (Cau.-Am.); and Student Conservative Party (SCP) has a man and a woman, Ryan Fantuzzi (C-A) and Tommi Turner (C-A). (“From what I can tell”) Not a single top ticket is lacking a woman! Good!!

Of course, there’s much more than diversity to think about; e.g., a 50 Cent/Ann Coulter or Ludacris/Eva Braun ticket would have “perfect” gender and racial diversity, but would have…”other problems”. Diversity is a definite plus, though.

(There is ideological diversity, too; one conservative-leaning party has “Choice on Coke” or something—plus a foul-mouthed “No BS” or something—on their big poster in the Diag…)

As before, of course, this author is endorsing no candidate or party at all. . . . .

  1. david, are you aware that donn fresard is half hispanic? i guess that makes him a minority, doesn’t it? nevermind that he’s from grosse pointe, according to his facebook profile.

    then again, nicole stallings appears to be biracial…and, again per facebook, she’s from troy…


       —mike jones    Mar. 16 '06 - 03:31AM    #
  2. Viva Fresard!

    Go Mike Jones! ...So you’re suggesting a Stallings/Fresard ticket? Am not catching your drift-o here-o.
       —David Boyle    Mar. 16 '06 - 04:13AM    #
  3. David, quite frankly, I’m offended.

    Quite innocently, you wrote “Viva Fresard.”

    The stereotype here – that Fresard is a Spanish-speaking individual of Hispanic origin – is indicative of the subtle, unintentional racism that pervades our campus.

    What if Fresard was a monolingual Hispanic? What if, because he’s only of Hispanic origin, he speaks only English.

    By suggesting he speaks Spanish, your propogate the stereotype that all Hispanics speak Spanish. You indirectly contribute to the misconception that Hispanics can’t speak English by presupposing he speaks Spanish.

    I, as a concerned member of the University community, am appalled that you would use a public forum to spew such offensive material.

    And from you! What hypocrisy.


       —Suhael    Mar. 16 '06 - 07:53AM    #
  4. Suhael, please tell me that is sarcasm. If so, no further explanation needed. If not, we have to have a long conversation.


       —D. Betts    Mar. 16 '06 - 09:01AM    #
  5. MPP’s slate is all white for MSA and LSA-SG exec candidates.


       —Stuart Wagner    Mar. 16 '06 - 12:34PM    #
  6. This discussion is stupid.

    Stu, way to be a party hack. Go S4N!


       —anon    Mar. 16 '06 - 04:39PM    #
  7. David, I’m confused by your post. I agree with you that seeing more women and minorities in power is a great thing, and definitely something much rarer in previous decades. But this sort of celebration that, yes, every party has a female candidate for pres or vice pres and that S4M was “forward-looking enough to choose an African-American young woman for the top spot” (forward looking?) struck me as somewhat a disturbing oversimplification. I felt that same skepticism toward Stu’s comment that “MPP’s slate is all white for MSA and LSA-SG exec candidates.”

    As one of the Daily’s (oh yes, female!) editorial page editors, I know very well that that, as you mention, the Daily has issues with diversity on staff and in its leadership. But the issues of recruiting and retaining a more diverse staff run much deeper than the Daily’s failure to dig around to find a women/minority/whatever-its-all-the-same-as-long-as-he-isn’t-white candidate “as soon as possible” to offer a diverse face for the paper.

    I’m excited to see that whether on MSA or anywhere else, women and minorities are being appointed, elected or hired to positions from which they were once excluded – it’s a great way to bring about some much needed changes and remedy some of the social/economic inequalities too many Americans have accepted as “just the way things are.” Perhaps one day we’ll even get over the idea that we should have a women president because she, being a woman, would stop wars and bring peace to the world (or fill in your own broad generalizations). It still is too infrequent that we break out of the sort of white male-dominated sort of leadership that has dominated American politics, business, etc. for too long.

    But my initial reaction to headlines lauding Danica Patrick for being the first female Indy 500 driver (women can drive fast cars too!) was the same sort of cringing when I read “Not a single top ticket is lacking a woman! Good!!.” (Similarly, I failed to feel that Donn had “flagrantly fouled females” by daring to discuss the Muhammad cartoon debate on International Women’s Day, and daring to mention Larry Summers in the piece.)

    Perhaps I’m being oversensitive, perhaps not sensitive enough – I’m not sure that it really matters. I just hope that as we consider diversity on MSA, the Daily and anywhere else, we’re looking beyond the color/gender of a handful of individuals put forward as the public face.


       —Emily Beam    Mar. 16 '06 - 06:29PM    #
  8. Stu Wager appears to be contemptuous of the truth yet again. If you look at our slate on our website you will see our slate is quite diverse indeed. www.MichiganProgressiveParty.com


       —Walter Nowinski    Mar. 16 '06 - 11:25PM    #
  9. Bully for you Walter. Most people are much more interested in whether you and your party are qualified for the job your seeking. Is the fights over diversity a diversion because you don’t have anything else to say? Let’s hope you have something more to say than “we’re more diverse!”


       —John Q.    Mar. 16 '06 - 11:49PM    #
  10. “Suhael, quite frankly, I’m offended.

    Quite innocently, you wrote ’...your propogate the stereotype…”; thus do you propagate the stereotype that I cannot appreciate correct English!
    By the way, I don’t care if DF speaks Spanish; I speak Spanish, if only a little.

    I, as a concerned member of the University community, am appalled that you would use a public forum to spew such offensive material.

    And from you S. Mo! What hypocrisy.”!!!

    (Enjoy your little talk with D. Betts, by the way…)

    E-Beam: Danica Patrick is kind of cool, actually, if not as cool as * * Suhael Momin * *. Viva S. Mo!

    Of course I care about more things than diversity (as my post noted, hm?), so we agree.

    Everyone else: Have fun!
       —David Boyle    Mar. 17 '06 - 01:07AM    #
  11. Walter, if I am conteptuous of the truth, why does your executive candidate slate for both MSA and LSA-SG slates all white?


       —Stuart Wagner    Mar. 18 '06 - 03:07PM    #
  12. Does anyone actually think that the tokenization of minorities helps minorities?

    Because, when we play this stupid little “How many minority executives is YOUR party offering?” game, all we’re doing is objectifying candidates as racial tokens.

    Same goes for David’s obsession with a female, minority EIC at the Daily.


       —Suhael    Mar. 18 '06 - 07:23PM    #
  13. Anyone care about the platforms of the four MSA parties? Boyle, do you have any expert analysis on that? I’m glad you’re not endorsing a candidate, though; it would probably swing the election.


       —Mark    Mar. 18 '06 - 08:12PM    #
  14. No tokenization of minorities here. I’d be happy to see Barack Obama in the White House; I think he is qualified, but it is also nice that he, as an African American, would enhance diversity among American presidents.
    As for Daily: I said female and/or minority, doesn’t have to be both at same time. Is there a PROBLEM with having someone like that in charge? How is that tokenism?

    ...As for platformery, see my previous comments on it being nice that different folks have platforms, including S4M, but giving props to MPP and DAAP at least for their explicit stance for affirmative action and against MCRI.
    Thank you on the non-endorsement issue: see also my coming post!
       —David Boyle    Mar. 18 '06 - 08:30PM    #