Tuesday, May 1, 1990
THE OPINION PAGE
Managing Editor Richard Mclntire
News Editor Craig Avondo
Sports Editor Jody Riddick
Consulting Editor Robin Sawyer
Graphics ConsuIting Diane Patterson
Staff Artist Kevin Cruz
Production Manager Craig Avondo
Circulation Manager Mike Stone
Photographers Richard Mclntire
Staff Writers Nicholas Allen,
Kenneth Bazemore, Uchenna Bulliner, Cindi Blount, Ginger Blount,
Daryl Brown, Dwayne Collins, Trina Coleman, Beverly Johnson, Eric
Jones, Florencestine Jones, Paquin McClain, Cathy McGee, Ursula
McMillion, Becky Overton, Sylvia Purvis, Jody Riddick, Kimberly Robin
son, Chukundi Salisbury, James Sims, Mike Stone, Tammy Taylor,
Vickie Webb-Thomas, Albert C. F. Woodley, Kenneth Valentine
Ths Compass is published by Elizabeth City State University students under the direction of the
Department of Language, Literature and Communication, Dr. Anne Henderson, Chairperson, and Mr. Stephen
March, faculty Advisor.
ne Compass welcomes Letters to the editor. LettersshouldbesenttoECSU Box 815, Elizabeth City,
NC 27909. All letters must be signed and include the writer's address and telephone number. They may be edited
for length, clarity, and taste, as well as accuracy and grammar Because of limited space, not all letters can be
The failure of the tennis team and the softball team to
go to the CIAA Spring Tournament in Winston
Salem is inexcusable.
It makes no sense that these two talented teams, after com
peting all season, will not get the chance to participate in the
Students who play spring sports look forward to the CIAA
Tournament all season. As one team member put it, “You work
all season, and when that trip that you look forward to is
snatched away from you, it’s just disappointing.”
CIAA rules state that the win-loss record of all teams par
ticipating in intercollegiate sports must be reported. But no
stats, no win-loss records were turned in to the Sports Informa
tion Director, for either the softball or the tennis teams.
The responsibility for this failure lies clearly with the
coaches of these teams. The coaches should either be keeping
accurate records of these games. Or they should be responsible
for having someone else to keep the records.
A larger problem here lies in the University’s indifference to
spring spons. After basketball season, the Athletic Department
seems to lose interest in spring sports. For two years in a row,
the track team has attended less than half of the meets sched
uled. The tennis team is coached by an individual who lacks
any experience in competitive tennis. And few, if any, admin
istrators and faculty members show up at the games.
The unfonunate thing about this problem is that the students
who play spring sports end up being the victims.
We believe these students deserve better treatment.
The death of Ralph Abernathy marks the end of a
chapter in the history of the American Civil Rights
Abernathy stood in the forefront of this immensely tense and
rrtoving period in our nation’s history; he helped organize and
lead the Montgomery bus boycott of 1956, and along with
Martin Luther King Jr., he founded the Southern Christian
Abernathy was a front line warrior in the battle for social
justice. He was cursed, beaten and jailed; his home was dyna
mited, and his property confiscated. And he lived in fear for
his life. Yet he never gave up his battle for equality. His
struggle led to sweeping social and legal changes which bene
fit many of us today.
Sadly, the last year of Abernathy’s life was marred by con
troversy over his biography. And The Walls Came Tumbling
Down, in which he alleged instances of King’s sexual infideli
ties. Abernathy—who defended his revelations by saying he
wasn’t reporting anything that wasn’t akeady known—was
vilified by many people, including some of his closest friends.
We are not choosing sides in that controversy; however, we
believe Ralph David Abernathy was a man of enormous
courage, devotion, and compassion.
And we join his family and friends in mourning his passing.
Po You waht
T& Fiyro CUBA? Do you
&OVERH MEKT oWCtM
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What are your feelings
about the new campus-wide
policy against smoking?
“I guess people have a right
to clean air. There should be
a smoking section in the
‘I feel it'sgood because, like
the Surgeon General says,
second haind smoke is just
as bad as if you smoked.
Smokers take away our right
to clean air.”
Long Island, NY
“I think it’s fair. I smoke, and I
can't stand the smell myself . It’s
for this reason that I often go
outside to smoke.”
“They should have a
designated place to smoke,
but you really can’t tell
someone not to smoke.”
'African-American' affirms history
By Angela Lightfoot
To say I am an African-American
means that I am an American who not
only has ties to this country, but who
also has ties and, yes, roots, in Africa.
Since we as blacks possess a bi-cul-
tural heritage, labeling ourselves
“Black” denies a significant part of
Although as a race we have long
been known for our endurance, the
time has arrived for us to also be
known for our cultural and historical
identity. The term that best sums up
those things is “African-American,”
An increasing number of black
leaders are saying the same thing.
‘To be called black is baseless,”
proclaims theReverend Jesse Jackson.
“To be called African-American has
cultural integrity. Blackisnotaproper
way to classify a race of people.”
“African-American, like other eth
nic descriptions, is an accurate identi
fication that places black Americans
firmly with an ethnic, cultural and
historical concept,” says John E.
Jacobs, President of the National
“The term Afro-American con
notes a more positive image,” says
Mary Futrell, President of the Na
tional Education Association.
When other minorities came to the
United States, they kept their cultural
names. Jews became Jewish-Ameri
cans and Italians became Italian-
Americans. Why should we be any
I do not believe we should sacrifice
our cultural identity in order to be
accepted. America has conditioned us
to to try to adapt to the prevailing
culture; however, if this continues, we
will be in danger of becoming a race
unaware of our own unique and rich
Opponents of the name change feel
that the issue is exhausted, and is
unimportant. They also claim that the
issue diverts attention from more
important black issues.
In my opinion the term “African-
American” directs our attention to our
status, and creates and preserves our
By using the term “African-Ameri-
can” we can raise our awareness of
our cultural heritage, and even help
improve our political and even eco
nomic status. A race of people con
scious of its identity and interests tend
to maintain upward mobility.
Also, our name change would
promote greater unity. It would en
courage all African descendants to
join together and be an effective force
for finding solutions to problems we
face—like widespread drug abuse.
Gang violence, drugs: a national nightmare
By Jeff Vinson
Gangs are taking over the streets of
Los Angeles and other cities around
the country; and no one seems to be
able to stop them from kilUng and
These gangs operate very differ
ently from the gangs of the 1950’s,
with their brass knuckles, zip guns
and switchblades. Today’s urban
gangs use automatic weapons, includ
ing Uzis, sawed-off shotguns and high
powered automatics—all bought with
their drug money.
The two problems, of gangs and
drugs, are interrelated. The crack
problem has turned the streets of LA
and other cities into a war zone. Drug
dealers as young as 15 years old roam
the streets in customiz^ BMW’s and
Mercedes Benze's. Some carry Uzis
and AK-47 assault rifles. It’s not sur
prising to learn there were 5,000 gang-
related violent crimes in Los Angeles
The lure of fast and easy money
from drugs attracts children as young
as nine into the u-ade—to stand on
street comers selling nickel and dime
bags of crack. Some of them can make
$400 a day.
Drugs dealers are also using kids in
school to deliver drugs. And the big
money gangs make from drugs—as
high as one billion dollars annually
according to official estimates—also
corrupts law-enforcement officials,
with more and more reports of police
on gang payrolls.
The police lack the weapons and
manpower to effectively combat gangs
on their own'territory, which has
become a killing zone.
Gang members have a twisted sense
of values. For example, drive-by kill
ings—shooting innocent people in
cold blood—is considered an admi
rable act among gang members. Gang
members say they get a feeling of
power from killing one or more of
their rivals. Their ideas and values are
driven by hatred. For example, the
Bloods and Crips hate each other so
much that the Bloods have eliminated
the “c” from their graffiti, replacing it
with with “k.” Some Crips members
avoid using the letter “b” in their
The release of the movie Colors
has raised public awareness about this
problem. The film was based on the
gangs of Los Angeles, concentrating
on the Bloods and Crips, the two most
powerful rival gangs.
The Bloods and Crips gangs alone
accounted for 400 killings in Los
Angeles during 1987.
Not all of the victims were gang
members; tragically, as with any war,
there are many innocent victims.
One gang member, Michael Hagan,
was convicted of first degree murder
in 1986 for shooting a girl in the back
during a drive-by shooting. Hagan,
who had been drinking and smoking
PCP with his “home boys” went into
a rival gang’s turf, and fired 15 shots
into a group of young people, killing
Hagan showed no remorse for the
murder during his trial. His only
comment was “I’ll be known for what
I did on the streets.”
Although kilhngs like these are
common in Los Angeles, and other
big cities, the problem of gang vio
lence is invading smaller areas as well.
Using their cities as a power base,
gang members are going into smaller
cities and towns, to expand their drug
Gangs are becoming an increas
ingly dangerous blight on the nation’s
life; the problem is made all the more
alarming by the lack of a concerted
national policy to deal with the threat
of gangs, and their destructive corol
The government and private citi
zen’s groups should unite forces to
solve this national nightmare, which
is claiming so many young victims.
But the solution does not necessarily
lie in tougher laws and harsher penal
ties for crimes. The real problem is the
poverty, hopelessness and despair that
To the Editor:
Thank God for the Sphinxmen, a
group of young ECSU men who vol
unteered to help at the Albemarle Food
Bank on Thursday, April 5.
We are always in need of help. This
particular day a delivery from Nor
folk was late. We called one of our
stand-by volunteers who was not hope.
We proceeded to do the best we could.
Talk about the calvary coming to the
rescue! In walked twelve young men
in their black shirts and trousers to
My first cry was, “Can anyone
operate a fork lift?” My spirits up
lifted when I heard a “yes” and we
The mick was unloaded. The guys
helped us open boxes and load our
freezers; they did everything we asked
even to helping us get the trash out of
It is this spirit of cooperation that
gives us the inspiration and ability to
continue our ministry to feed the
hungry in Northeastern North Caro
Again, I say, “Thank God for the
Special Events Coordinator
Albemarle Food Bank i
Elizabeth City, N.C.
(Editor’s note: The Sphinxmen are
Darnell Bames, Dorteo Davis, Ernest
Caldwell, James Hargett, Dennis
Blount, Jeff Moore, AlphonsoGibson,
Ellis Freeman, Harvey Bullock, Ch-
bito Swain, Jeff Vinson, Regginald
Wilkins, and Tim Harrell.)
homelessness, and poverty.
In a random poll of 100 ECSU
students, 70% viewed the namechange
from Black to Afro-American posi
tively. Forty-six percent of the re
spondents agreed that the name change
would reinforce cultural pride and/or
add a sense of identity. And 24% felt
that if the change were taken seri
ously, it could improve our political
and economic status.
“There is an inner need in all of us
for belonging,” said ECSU student
Melvin Hall. “Therefore, if someone
can identify himself as an Afro-Ameri
can and use this identification in a
positive, motivating way, good for
The term “Black” should only be
an adjective that describes the ab
sence of light and not a name for us.
demand. This is an idea whose time
ghetto residents must face each day. ^
Gang members say they join gangs
out of a need to belong, and a feeling ‘
of power. Many of these young people
are from single-parent homes, and
gangs provide them with a convenient
sense of family.
Addressing the deeper, underlying !
problems that breeds the gangs and ;
their corollary problem of drugs, ;
should be our new national mission. ;
The cold war is over, but there is even .
more dangerous war at home. We ,
must act to solve this problem before \
we are destroyed from within.