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Letter-Writer's Prose Shows He Knows Little About Racism

In the Jan. 1 Mailbag ("Mexicans Are Bringing the United States More Racism?"), Bryan Smith asks rhetorically, "Can someone please explain what the 'white person's point of view' is?" Whether he realizes it or not, I think he answered his own question. Two sentences later, he says, "Implying that all people of one race share common views is about as racist as you can possibly get." I've always thought that complicity in genocide is about as racist as you can possibly get, with hate crimes and discrimination close runners-up.

The fact that Smith gives so much weight to generalizations makes me wonder if he or anyone close to him has ever experienced more serious forms of racism, like police harassment or racialized poverty. If his hierarchy of racism puts generalizations so close to the top, I have to wonder if generalizations are the only "racism" he's ever experienced.

His opening sentence--"At what point did racism become so acceptable?"--also makes me wonder about his experience. Suffice it to say that to a lot of Americans, the idea that the acceptability of racism is a new phenomenon would be laughable, at best. Smith writes from the perspective of someone who probably hasn't been on the receiving end of much racism.

Certainly, there is a diversity of perspectives within any race. After all, perspectives aren't biologically determined--and unless Eva Zorrilla Tessler (TQ&A, Dec. 11) was making that claim, I fail to see any problem with her comment about the "white person's point of view." She was talking about a point of view shaped by experience.

Incidentally, did Smith not see the irony in his own generalizations about Mexicans?

Matt Peters


It's Hard to Understand a Point of View If That's All You Can See

I could not resist responding to the comments made in the Jan. 1 Mailbag. From a white-male point of view came institutionalized slavery and racism in this country, not to mention the repression of women and so-called manifest destiny, which made reasonable and rational the destruction of cultures and confiscation of land for a righteous cause.

As to "anywhere there is a Mexican, there is Mexico": Is not the stated policy of the United States similar? Wherever in the world an American is killed or wounded, there is a need for investigation and, at times, a course of retribution.

In actuality, for someone to claim to not see a white male point of view may only mean he is immersed in it. This is not an affliction specific to white males, thank you. As for an apparent fear of Mexicans taking over (what was once theirs; how long do territorial disputes last? Let's ask the Irish or those in the Middle East), I would think when a white-male-point-of-view society at last comes to grips with its failings and begins to correct them, there may be a premature sense that all is right.

To the point about Mexicans being racist: Yes, there are racist Mexicans, and yes, they need to change. It is time to look at ourselves and join the new millennium.

David Bayardo


I'm Sick and Tired of You Liberals Picking on Bigots!

I am sick and tired of liberals and the media (which is basically liberal) making assumptions about people based on their personal religious views on the topic of gay marriage. Just because someone does not believe in gay marriage does not mean that they hate gay people ("Get Out of Town!" Dec. 18).

Tim Bee, like myself, is a Christian. The Bible tells us in many places that homosexuality is wrong. It is a sin and goes against God's wishes. Also, marriage is a concept created by God, not man.

I've met and spoken with Tim Bee and know that he does not hate gay people. He lives his life by God's word as best as he can, just like all Christians. It is mind-blowing to me that the same people who jump so quickly to defend the ideals of others would judge someone so quickly without taking the time to understand his/her point of view. I don't support gay marriage, because it goes against my religious beliefs, but I don't hate gay people. I believe in pro-life, but I don't hate women who get abortions or the people who give them. I don't like Barack Obama, but that doesn't mean that I hate black people. See what I mean? That is the jump you are making, and it is stupid.

Shame on you, Mari Herreras; you are the one who is bringing hate into the equation--your hate for Christians and their beliefs. If your gay family members want to get married, they should move to Connecticut. Don't want to move to Connecticut? Then suck it up. This country was founded on the truths of the Bible, but we have sadly fallen away from that. Leave Tim Bee alone, and remember not to judge someone by their beliefs.

Taylor Hardy


And Speaking of Hatred ...

I was appalled at your critics' picks of the year's best music ("Listen to These," Music, Dec. 25). Shelby Lynne? Beck? Death Cab for Indiefags? Conor fucking Oberst?! I suppose if we're not crying while we wank, it's not good.

Not one of your critics selected the year's real best album, the international smash We Started Nothing by The Ting Tings. Can't be good if it's fun, right? And what about Black Mountain's In the Future? Does that not count because it came out way back in January? They put on the hands-down best show of the year at Club Congress.

Didn't U2 or REM release albums this year? Rock critics are idiots.

Peter Mattsson


Yet Another Volley in the Hermitage Cat Shelter Debate

At last, an unbiased article on the situation at the Hermitage. Tim Vanderpool did some good investigative work in "No More No Kill" (Currents, Dec. 18). I was a volunteer at the shelter for eight months before I, along with about 50 other volunteers, was banned, and I would like to comment on two charges that were made by Karter Neal.

First, Neal's charge that the previous staffers were "hoarding" animals is laughable. Director Mary Jo Spring got rid of all the longtime staff in May 2008, using the false allegation of "hoarding" to justify her actions. Spring then joined forces with Neal to have more than 70 unadoptable cats euthanized, presumably thinking that there was nobody left to protest. The "hoarding" charge can be disproved by looking at the 10-year adoption record: It is not six cats a month on average as Spring once claimed; it is 25 a month.

By June, when Dr. Neal became involved, the Hermitage was in turmoil. The new, much-reduced staff was unable to keep up with the cleaning, especially since most of the volunteers who helped clean were not permitted to enter the facility. Dr. Neal is right in saying that when she became involved with the Hermitage in June, it was indeed "filthy," but that is no reflection on the former staff since they were long gone. It is an indictment of the policies of the current board of directors.

Valerie A. Conforti


We'll End on a Positive Note ... Sort Of

Catherine's O'Sullivan's column on materialism was right on (Dec. 25)! It should be required reading for every class in religion, social studies, history, anthropology, etc. Sadly, it's all too true!

Lois Smith

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