Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

History of Activism at Michigan

7. February 2005 • Scott Trudeau
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Lambda Theta Phi will present presented a history of activism at U-M tonight, 7pm in the Anderson Room on Tuesday at the Union:

Have you ever heard of the Black Action Movements?

What about the United Coalition Against Racism?

Do you want to learn how both are related to the Michigan Union Tower Occupation by the Students of Color Coalition?

Come learn about how three periods of social activism changed the University of Michigan forever.

The Untouchable Brothers of Lambda Theta Phi present:


In the past 35 years student activism has shaped University policies, come learn how students in the past set the foundations for our future. Hear first hand accounts from people who were there in the struggle for equality at the University of Michigan.

Monday February 7
Anderson Room D
7:00 pm

  1. Um, they weren’t struggling for equality. They were struggling for inequality.

    They were struggling to judge one group by different standards than another. That’s not equal.

    And they weren’t fighting racism, they were fighting to shift racism from one group to another.

    I don’t have a problem with them celebrating their hate-filled history. I have a problem with their dishonesty.
       —T.J.    Feb. 8 '05 - 08:01PM    #
  2. TJ – however you may feel about the SCC (i am not a big fan of what they did with the tower) its unfair to lump the other two groups togethers. There were in fact groups who were strugling for equality – including in particular sit in aimed at the way people of collar were being treated ONCE admitted into the University – which has very little to do with AA.

    just a small thing….

       —David LIvshiz    Feb. 8 '05 - 08:55PM    #
  3. TJ—

    I attended the even last night, and I think even you would tone down your rhetoric if you had a chance to hear the characterizations of the climate for students and faculty of color on campus before and after 1970. One of their demands has always been an enrollment of 10% black students, which helped lead to some of the AA policies of the U, but it was about a lot more than that. In ‘87, one of the events that sparked the UCAR group was a call to a (now defunct?) small campus radio station where the caller made racist joke after racist joke—just one example of many of overt, public displays of brash racism that made the more subtle and institutional forms that much more difficult to challenge…

    Some of the tactics and rhetoric of these groups may not have been effective in the ways they were intended, but the most of the core concerns were (and many still are) valid and need to be addressed.

    I disagree with Livshiz re: the tower occupation. I think the community on campus had pursued just about every realistic, legitimate means to challenge the offensive and racist practices of Michigamua and the University’s relationship to that organization. They had been lied to brazenly (in writing) regarding Michigamua’s cessation of their appropriations of Native American culture. As a private organization, Michigamua has every right to be obnoxiously racist and secretive. However, while engaging in those practices, they did and do not deserve special protections and privileges from the U no matter how much money and prestige their alumni bring the school.
       —Scott T.    Feb. 8 '05 - 10:48PM    #
  4. 1+1 = 2. 5+1 = 6. 1 = 1, 2 != 6.

    1+5 = 6. 5+1 = 6. 5 != 1, 6 = 6.

    Here we see two different kinds of equality, each of which is accompanied by an inequality. The second set of sums replaces one inequality with another inequality, with the goal of reaching a more desirable kind of equality.

    TJ, I expect the “conservative” response to this is something along the lines of, “Equality of opportunity, not equality of result, you dumb commie!” Either that, or the conservative response would involve an assertion that affirmative action/”reverse discrimination”/what-have-you involves subtracting from the 5, rather than adding more to the 1, and that said subtraction is wrong. Besides, if you keep on adding 1s to both the 1 and the 5, eventually you will move from a point where one sum is 300% of the other to a point where the percent different is vanishingly small. Asymptotic justice?

    Lemme know if I’ve missed any stock responses. Meanwhile, anybody of any political leaning can provide responses to my attempt at thinking like a conservative—maybe even Ari can be civil to me-trying-to-think-like-TJ? (Though he might also decide to perform a mercy killing . . .)
       —Murph    Feb. 9 '05 - 12:01AM    #
  5. TJ feels like he got shorted by being white and poor, and is bitter about it. Instead of becoming class-conscious, he’s become race conscious. Instead of focusing on the fact that poor people, regardless of race, are more internally similar than black people are internally similar.
    One of the things about Affirmative Action which I don’t like is that it seems to have ossified into a doctrine, instead of a regretable necessity. The ultimate goal for everyone SHOULD be ending AA. The goal, in my opinion, should be to replace it with a system that allows poor people, regardless of race, to experience opportunities they would not have been able to experience otherwise (it’s important to remember that most rural kids have it just as bad as inner city kids).
    But, see, that means taxation of the rich in order to subsidize the poor, and that’s why conservatives don’t generally support it.
    I only wish there were a national black leader who strived to take that position (it won’t happen with a white man unless he had extraordinary credibility in the black community… Bill Clinto perhaps?).
       —js    Feb. 9 '05 - 09:50PM    #