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Thursday, February 20, 2014


Race relations in this country have been a hot-topic touchstone for more than a century. It's difficult to find a "good way" to discuss the problem. Some people even believe that it's not a "problem" anymore.

Well it seems to be a pretty big problem at the University of Michigan, even these days. We know this from UM students who are protesting the situation in Ann Arbor this week. In a nutshell, these students feel like it's quite a problem nowadays, and I suppose it's fair to say "they should know". After all, the student protesters are African-American.

Maybe this doesn't have anything to do with sports, but then again, maybe it does. Take a look at the picture that's part of the first article linked above (here it is again). Look at the sign being held by the woman on the right. Read the hand-written statement that says "I'm more than just a wide receiver", and notice that signed initials, "D.N." We can't be sure who wrote that statement on that sign, but there is a wide-receiver on the Michigan football team named Dennis Norfleet.

Many of us recall the affirmative-action challenge lawsuit that went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. The University of Michigan won that case, meaning they were not illegally applying admission benefits to racially-defined minorities. (Another version of the dispute is back on the SCOTUS docket.) But that was a way of helping those groups, not hurting them. So why are black folks at UM feeling under-appreciated these days?

Well maybe it's because of events like this one, where an on-campus fraternity hosted a special party to basically make fun of black culture. Most of us would have to admit that we'd more likely expect such a racist carnival to be held in Mississippi or Alabama, but not "up north" in Michigan. But there you have it.

The UM student body is about 4% African-American, compared to about 8% of the MSU student body. Due to the larger number of students at Michigan State, there are about three times as many black Spartans as there are black Wolverines. For whatever that's worth.

Anyway, some people will call this "pot-shotting" or picking on Michigan, but let's remember how much they sanctify themselves and glorify one another on a regular basis. They truly think they are special, yet this is another example of how they actually have plenty of warts and blemishes and problems, and really, they aren't so much different from the rest of us.

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