Letters to the Editor

Jul 28, 2004 at 12:00 am

No voice, no votes

I have to take exception to Jack Lessenberry’s recent observations about black voter apathy (“Barbarians in the Rose Garden,” Metro Times, July 21). I agree that black voter participation has dwindled considerably in the years since the passage of the civil rights and voting rights legislation, but the reason for this is not just apathy but the continued marginalization of those issues that are a priority to African-Americans. The Republican Party has never made an effort to address the issues that are dear to African-Americans, and when they do they do so from the standpoint of opposition. Democrats, for their part, have become so determined not to alienate soccer moms and NASCAR dads that they run from the issues that African-Americans care about. The Democratic Party has been taking from the black community (votes) without giving back (legislation) and that is part of the reason why I believe we as African-Americans should stay home come Election Day. We need to send the message that we are a powerful voting bloc that can decide the outcome of an election but if you want our support you have to earn it not just by giving speeches at NAACP or Urban League conventions but every time you cast a vote or develop a campaign platform. —Dalton A. Roberson Jr., Detroit.


Easy to pick on the poor

I read with great interest Keith Owens’ article about Bill Cosby (“Cosby’s new cause,” Metro Times, July 14). There is a difference between poor parenting skills and poverty. Mixing the two is bad social analysis and Bill Cosby should know better.

Waging war on poor people is silly. You’d be better off developing a program to get them out of their hellish condition. The black experience in America is complex and Mr. Cosby, who grew up poor, should be more sensitive about this complexity. Mr. Cosby is long on words, short on sincere analysis. Poverty, not poor parents or poor parenting skills is the problem. Liberating the poor is hard, unglamorous work. It is reserved only for those who love the poor and want to see a day when poverty is wiped out. —Rev. Karl Robinson, Detroit


Cosby’s words resonate

Growing up a Catholic school kid on the near West Side in the ’60s and ’70s, I had to make many choices. As I left the building I had to survey the playground to see if my nemeses, Hound Dog, Melvin and Little Rick, were waiting for me. This daily drama played itself out because I made a decision that I wasn’t going to waste my time or my single mother’s money and so I would be a good student and get good grades.

One of them asked me if I thought I was better than them. After getting my ass off the sidewalk they just tried to make me a part of, I had to make another choice. Was it worth it? I knew for sure that I would rather take that than have to deal with my mother if I got poor grades. So I did. They made my resolve to better myself stronger just by their harassment.

But now there seems to be more of them and they are winning. Their thug lifestyle and values are the standard and not the extreme. That is what Mr. Cosby was talking about — not some elitist crack about the poor. I coach basketball at an elementary school in Detroit and it is amazing what my kids live through daily. One of my kids was killed my first year there.

If we don’t say something now regardless of whose feelings get hurt, we may lose yet another generation. —Darryle Buchanan, Southfield


Can’t we all get along?

Re: “Local heroics and histrionics” (Metro Times, July 14), I thought it was interesting to find out that the supposed perpetrator of the FUCK PROOF CD-R was Champ. It’s very sad how you watch the music industry in Detroit and see how people turn on each other, when the true essence of the creative process is to be able to draw from and be inspired by other people’s talent. —Richard Wright, Mt. Clemens

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