Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 12, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, 12, 1974 THE LETHBRIOGE HERALD 5 No easy answer to reverse discrimination By Paul Whitelaw, Herald Washington commentator WASHINGTON-If a uni versity in the United States hires a black professor while rejecting white applicants with better qualifications, is it merely compensating for the historic exclusion of blacks from such positions? Or is it practicing reverse discrimination and violating the constitutional rights of whites? Similar questions are raised every day in the U.S. over the hiring practices of businesses, government agencies, in- dustry and educational in- stitutions attempting to com- ply with government enforc- ed "affirmative action" programs. These programs aimed at increasing the career oppor- tunities of blacks, Spanish speaking Americans and women by establishing "goals" for minority employ- ment have created one of the touchiest, most troublesome civil rights issues in recent years. Critics charge that the hir- ing goals set by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) are word the agency refuses to exclude and discriminate against whites, particularly white males. The reply to that charge is that the up by the power to ask the courts to im- pose fines and award back-pay settlements to minority merely making available to blacks and women jobs they would have filled had it not been for dis- crimination in former years. The issue of fairness is made more complex by the admission of both opponents and advocates of "affirmative action" that the programs are the only way to increase the Berry's World hiring of minorities in many occupations. The aim of the programs is that the number of black and female employees will reflect their numbers in the population, but many minority applicants are excluded by normal employ- ment standards. One of the most recent cases to make headlines in Washington is the agreement between the U.S. Justice department and the police force of Fairfax County, a suburb of the capital, to hire some 100 blacks over the next five years. That would bring black employment on the force of 535 to 28.2 per cent, proportionate to the country's black population. While there are at present only four black policemen, 35 must be hired by next July. The government-enforced minority hiring programs are becoming increasingly un- popular with Congress, which has been hearing the com- plaints of white male con- stituents and employers. Universities, in particular, are worried about what "af- firmative action" hiring will do to their academic stan- dards. In a recently-published ar- ticle, Princeton economist and former dean of faculty Richard Lester says the programs are simply not appropriate for upper-echelon and tenured faculty ap- pointments. He notes that the pool of top talent in many spe- cialized academic dieval history, for ex- often quite limited. The number of black and female scholars in such fields is even more limited. Book Review Dr. Lester concludes that "affirmative action" programs have led to ex- cessive rivalry among in- stitutions to hire minority- group professors. This has been particularly harmful to less-affluent, black institutions which can no longer afford to retain top black scholars. A recent hearing of the House Subcommittee on Education virtually confirm- ed Dr. Lester's fears. Under questioning, a top official of the Health, Education and Welfare department told the committee that schools must lower their academic stan- dards if they cannot find enough qualified blacks, women and other minorities to fill academic vacancies. While there is no end to the controversy in sight, it is widely felt that a ruling by the Supreme Court on the con- stitutionality of "affirmative action" would be desirable. The Supreme Court had an opportunity to make such a decision this April, but the justices sidestepped the issue. The case invlved Marco De- Funis, a White Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Univer- sity of Washington. While his suit was against the univer- sity's law school admissions standards rather than employment criteria it was widely felt that an opinion of the court would have been applicable to "affirmative ac- tion." Mr. DeFunis was twice re- fused admission to the law school, although his college grades and test scores were higher than those of 37 minori- ty applicants who were accepted. A Seattle judge rejected the school's rationale, ruling that Mr. DeFunis' right to equal protection under the law had been violated. The Washington state Supreme Court reversed the decision, but he remained enrolled as a student while awaiting ap- peal before the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet, such is the speed of the judicial system that Mr. De- Funis was only two months away from completing his three-year law course by the time his case came up this spring. The justices, in a 5-4 decision, maintained the DeFunis case was no longer a "live" controversy because the young man was expected to graduate in June. Surprisingly, the only dis- senting opinion was written by Justice William Douglas, a staunch liberal and advocate of civil rights for blacks. He believed the admission prac- tices under question were un- constitutional because they were based on race. However, he maintained that preferences for students from deprived backgrounds are valid if granted without respect to race. By its more pre- cisely, Supreme Court provided time and op- portunity for further in- dividual and national con- sideration of a problem not easily solved by fiat. Still, there can be no easy solution when two cherished liberal everyone on his own merits, and making up to blacks for past into such open conflict. Wealth of information on crafts 'You Waltons ought to try living on a fixed in- come, THESE "Crafts of Israel" by Ruth Ltd., 174 Dayan with Wilburt Feinberg (Collier Macmillan Canada Crafts of Israel must be 6 year old whisky 5 year oldprice. Beautiful! PalliserColony House CanadianWhisky. THE artists' and designers' joy and inspiration of this cen- tury. But it is much more than that: over 300 beautiful il- lustrations, many in glorious color, show and combine Israel's art and culture with biblical quotations that predicted the development and application of Israel's arts and crafts. Just as you cannot help finding treasure wherever you dig in Israel's sand and soil, so you cannot avoid discovering ideas in the wealth of this book's text and pictures. There is something for everybody in its chapters on archaeological findings, (some dating back to on the first "mass production" of delicate glass vessels of the Early Roman Imperial period, on iron tools of the age of Elijah or the Israeli pottery of the Iron Age whose technology is already com- parable to modern conveyor belt manufacture. From a chronological table of cultural and artistic periods and a general pictorial survey of a variety of historical crafts, the book devotes in- dividual chapters to modern crafts which include "gold and designs and mak- ing of jewellery; "clay and on pottery; "threads and fibres" on embroidery, weaving, batik, silk screen design, applique, patchwork, bobbin lace work, rug and handweaving fabrics and designs. There is a chapter on "working" on original art work of a wide variety of material and dyes and a chapter on Maskit: Israel's centre of handcrafts. No other book I know of has so effectively managed to combine the past, present and future of human artistic endeavors and aspirations. It is to be thoroughly recommended to anybody tak- ing an interest in ancient and modern design because Jewish craftsmen have not only learned and imported their arts from every corner of the globe but and I can do no better than quote the introduction "have borrow- ed colors from the cobalt sky, the fields of citron, olive, and date, the sands of the Negev, the sun baked hills, and the gold of Jerusalem; they have taken the shapes of the Bedouin tent, the roaring sea, and the shallow hills. They have mixed these colors and shapes into a new creation, which is a reflection of Israel itself." I would consider buying such a gift money well spent for anybody who loves beauty for its own sake but especially for both students and teachers of arts, crafts, and designs. EVA BREWSTER The unformed mind By Louis Burke, Lethbridge teacher Society usually thinks of the young as flex- ible. Youngsters are supposed to be able to adjust easily to new situations and absorb everything that comes their way; the good and the bad. Difficulties and problems are supposed to flow over them like water off a duck's back; no harm done. This is a serious error and the source of much agony because the young are far from flexible. Young people belong to the formation stage in human growth. To put it another way they are unformed: parts are missing: development has not yet appeared. They are incomplete, and this is particularly true where mental growth is concerned. This concept of the yet unformed mind has impor- tant applications for home, school, and socie- ty in general. To illustrate. The incomplete mind possess- ed by the young does not have an abundance of natural, instinctive creativeness so loved by those who continuously push young people forward as the saviours of mankind. The young mind, like an incomplete engine, will sputter and spark. To expect it to do otherwise is quite idiotic. Not that some sparks are utterly insignificant. They are not. But they ought to be taken for what they are sparks. Yet some educators and others base classroom practices, indeed build a whole philosophy of education, on the erroneous principle that the intellectual spark is the im- portant thing, in fact, the only thing in education. This is a disservice to youth and a smoke-screen for the public. Youth requires a long and careful formation where even the repetitious and tedious has a place to play. Education is not a thrill a minute. The problem of the unformed mind finds its way into the home, too. Parents foist decisions on their young which are far too dif- ficult for them in their undevelopment. Even small children in this part of the world have to make big decisions on what clothes to wear. The parental reply "wear what you or "I don't care" is stupid, cruel and vicious. The child's question is really the statement "tell me what to wear, please." Certainly, there exists a vast neglect in family life education, but the biological aspects are insignificant when compared to the psychological and sociological. Some parents, like some teachers, have absolutely no aptitude for parenthood. Far too many assume it to be an affair of nature and would be most surprised to discover that planned and selective parenthood, once the gimmick of the Nazis, is on the boards for tomorrow's super-society. Sad, but fact! The young, therefore, do not possess the flexibility of mind most people attribute to them. Flexibility of mind belongs to the mature mind only, and it takes many years beyond youth before this is achieved. In some people, of course, it is never acquired as is known from the many perpetually immature people to be found everywhere today. Thus, society should seriously re-examine many of the psychological principles which are being continuously promulgated by pseudo-thinkers who pass for experts. With regard to the young and the unformed mind, we have lived long with much error. The young are not by nature endowed with creativity and decisions are hard to make for the very young. Parents and teachers should re-think much of what passes for modern psy- chology and education. Swedish clean-up By Colin Narbrough, London Observer commentator STOCKHOLM Readers of Scandinavia's biggest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, have won a major battle to clean up their newspaper. From this week the paper is no longer carrying pornographic pictures in its entertainments section. Until now the section had been a breath-taking blaze of sex show and blue film advertisements, each vying with the other for the status of most out- rageous. Live shows with petting, half savage les- bian intercourse, "orgasms in group sex and topless, bottomless and naked mistresses of love, all dutifully illustrated of course, were routine items in the entertain- ment pages, slotted in between the section for cheap trips to the Costa del Sol or Rhodes and the day's television and cinema programs. Despite the usually open-minded news- paper's ban on "dirty" pictures, a few sex clubs and so-called "porno-bars" were adver- tising this week. But now they are reduced to the written word only and, furthermore, restrjoved to a single column and the smallest type available. But the new, sombre presen- tation nevertheless offers all the same joys of sexual variety and deviation that were on sale before the picture ban. The phenomenon of the leading newspaper in Sweden a country that has after all built up a solid, international reputation for its liberal attitudes to pornography and sex- related issues suddenly putting a stop to what readers consider offensive pictures is clearly a part of the general tightening of the free rein society has enjoyed here for many years. One of the official reasons given for the move at Dagens Nyheter was the paper's desire to end the exploitation of women, a theme of considerable debate in the paper itself and in the country generally. Earlier this year it stamped out blatent adver- tisements for sexual contracts in the personal column in response to charges that it was helping to promote prostitution. There was also a case recently of a major co-operation chain that decided to stop the sale through its shops of two leading semi- pornographic magazines. The decision was attacked because of the way the censorship was imposed, but it came no doubt under heavy pressure from the co-operative's customers, largely housewives, tired of being slapped in the face by pornography at their supermarket or newsstand. The rejection of super-liberality by a broad section of the Swedish public is also being felt in narrower confines. Earlier this month a government committee that has spent the past 10 years studying "sexual and cohabitational questions in relation to educa- tion and information" came out strongly in favor of sex-instruction linked to lasting human relationships. The mammoth committee report considers faithfulness in human relations to be a basic value of society and calls for schools to reject unfaithfulness when instructing students in sexual matters. While this is all offered in the name of love (something quite distinct from marriage) the report has been criticized for being too moralistic and running the risk of gross hypocrisy. In the church, too, there have been signs of a backlash recently, es- pecially over women in the priest- hood A number of bishops have come out firmly against ordaining women, much to the surprise of people who always looked to Swedish Lutheranism for guidance on how to run a progressive religion geared to modern society. While the clamp-down on public porn- ography and male chauvinism in the bishoprics represent the two opposite ends of the scale, at the same time they illustrate the' general retreat in Sweden to positions on moral questions that have not been held for years. The clean-up looks as though it will not stop at sexual morality. Moves are already under way for tougher liquor legislation (including watering down the beer) and a powerful lobby in parliament wants to price cigarettes off the market altogether. ANDY RUSSELL Great Plains area comes alive "The Last West" by Russell McKee (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 312 pages, dis- tributed by Fitzhenry and There was a time when the Great Plains country of North America was considered a place to be avoided at all cost; a merciless desert, where at worst men died of thirst or at the hand of hostile Indians, or at best had their powers of endurance taxed to the limit. Russell McKee is a historian's historian, a man of humor, persistance and no little en- durance himself. For anyone who delves into the past, for as far back as he has done, has to have some staying power. "The Great Plains are not a comfortable he opines, "and their history has often been violent, or desperate, or foolish The idea was to write a descriptive book for those who would rather read about the region than travel through it. As the project progressed, it changed" a condition common to putting together a book of this nature, and brought about by people supposed to be dead for a long time, rising up, moving around, and becoming at times "extremely independent, even fractious." Such a condition speaks well for the author's ability to warm up even those long dead. The author certainly brings alive this land's fascinating and colorful history from the time man first began trying to control it about years ago, when the plains were one of the lushest environments on earth. So begins the story and he traces it through to more modern times, the era of the Spanish conquistadores followed by the fierce tribesmen, who were among the most for- bidding cavalry of the world in their time Then came the mountain men, French and English explorers, the beaver fur traders, and more recently, the cowboys, cattlemen and homesteaders all adding their contribution to a vividly active history of much fascination and no little adventure. The author winds up his book with an unusually perceptive look into the future of the great plains' potential as a food growing place to at least partly meet the world's demands. Russell McKee grew up on the long grass prairies of Illinois, became a newspaperman, served as a soldier in the Second World War, and joined the Michigan department of natural resources in 1952. His first book. Great Lakes Country, was published in 1966. His fascination with the Great Plains region of the U.S. and Canada began in Mexico 20 years ago. He describes it as a strangely beautiful region, "a land with a past and a future, but almost no present." Unlike many history books, this one is not just a repetition of things written before, but reflects the author's penchant for depth of research blended with a delightfully humorous style. It is a book written with deep understanding and love for the region that is his subject. For the western history buff or the student, The Last West is a real treat.