Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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Indiscriminate thoughts on discrimination

George Foster - December 7th, 2006
Indiscriminate thoughts on discrimination
Thank goodness for modern technology.
Without the small digital camera that filmed Kramer… I mean, Michael Richards, his racial tirade might never have been revealed. If nothing else, our camera-phone obsession should provide a deterrent effect that may help eliminate such acts of racism.
A white man calling an African-American “nigger” over and over is bad enough, but the same guy taunting black people about lynchings from another era transcends stupidity.
Don’t worry, no matter how many times Richards apologizes, he has received his punishment – his career in entertainment is over. Richards’ typecasting as quirky “Kramer” has been replaced by the notoriety of the most notoriously racist outburst in film history.
The Michael Richards incident is proof that racism is still pervasive though looked down upon by most Americans. That hasn’t always been the case.
I’ll never forget an infamous story of Ty Cobb, the greatest baseball player of all time and maybe the most hated. In the early 20th century Cobb was a noted bigot and generally vile person.
When Cobb jumped into the grandstands during a game to pummel a severely handicapped heckler, the league suspended the Hall-of-Famer for several games. Though his Detroit teammates hated Cobb too, they refused play during his suspension in support of Cobb. You see, the heckler had done the unthinkable for that era; he called Cobb a “nigger-lover”.
“Nigger” isn’t even listed in the official Webster’s Dictionary I use, but it has to be the most interesting word in the English language.
As a white man, I am not only uncomfortable discussing the N-word in this column, it makes me uneasy to say the word aloud at this moment while alone. Why? Because of what “nigger” represents.
Nigger means whites snatching Africans from their families and homes and being shipped thousands of miles away in chains. Nigger means being whipped, shot, or lynched without regard to any basic human dignity. Bottom line, the word “nigger” represents blacks being forced into slavery and treated as animals or worse.
On the other hand, African-Americans often use the N-word when describing each other. Rap songs sung by blacks frequently use the word when discussing their friends.
Black athletes sometimes refer to each other as “nigger” with a positive meaning of strength and courage.
Several years ago, CMU’s white coach asked and received permission from his black basketball players to use the word “nigger” with its positive meaning during practice. Someone overheard the white coach using the word with his players and he was soon fired.
The moral to the story seems to be that racial and ethnic slurs may be negated if the historic victims use the otherwise inappropriate insults. If you are a white Anglo-Saxon man, you won’t get away with saying anything remotely racist. And rightfully so.
In the case of U.S. Senator George Allen, justice prevailed again when a racist was exposed in an unguarded moment on film. As a Caucasian, Senator Allen referred to a filmmaker of Indian descent covering his campaign as “macaca” (monkey). Allen also welcomed him to America (the filmmaker is a native of Virginia). From the time of his racist slip, Allen’s popularity dropped from a double-digit percentage lead over his challenger in the Virginia polls to losing the election by an eyelash.
Ironically, Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate in the recent election by one seat and Republican Allen’s razor-thin loss was the last Senate seat to be decided. Whoever said one person can’t affect the outcome of an election?
Amazingly, one word on film was enough to change the course of history.

 
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