Letters to the Editor

Jun 6, 2007 at 12:00 am

Right about hate

Re: Larry Gabriel's editorial, "Black Christian hate" (Metro Times, May 30) — thanks for telling it like it is. Hate and discrimination are the same no matter how you try to spin it.

Growing up fatherless and Baptist in Detroit, I was so confused by the church as a child. I knew I was gay at an early age, but after the sermons, I felt like I was worthless, and I couldn't imagine talking to anyone in the church about what I was feeling. I wanted to kill myself after some of those sermons. I went to the church hoping to get answers, acceptance and maybe just a little understanding. I left the church feeling dirty, worthless, subhuman and destined to head to hell wearing a pair of gasoline drawers!

I was always conflicted knowing that Jesus could hang out with bums, whores, and lepers — hell, even lawyers! — but there was no room for me. That's when it got down to asking the Big Daddy in the sky to adopt me because my biological father wanted no part of me, that God was all out of space in his infinite heart for a worthless home-wrecker like me. I felt set up. I felt the hypocrisy of an institution that would blame me, a child, for the destruction of the black family and all the problems of the world.

As a child, I felt that I was somehow responsible for the destruction of my family. It was never my father who abandoned a woman with five kids. It wasn't the lack of money or opportunities in my community to keep him gainfully employed with enough money to support his family. It wasn't either of their subpar educations. It wasn't the liquor or drugs. It was my faggot butt.

I don't live in Detroit anymore, but my family is still there. I don't go to church anymore, either. Both environments are too hostile and too full of themselves to really know how simple and all-encompassing the message of love is for a man like me. I haven't given up on God: He keeps me very well, thanks. I am stronger than many because I made it out of some of the toughest hoods in Detroit, not only black, but gay and black — and I am alive, well-adjusted, happy, doing well and some of my best friends are straight!

Thanks for the story, and telling it like it is! —Name Withheld


Immigrant bill harsh

Jack Lessenberry and I agree that this country needs to help its immigrants become citizens, but I think one of us may be wrong about the current immigration bill (mentioned in "As Michigan crumbles," Metro Times, May 23). As I understand it, the bill would require many immigrants to pay large fines, go back home for several years and restart their effort to come to this country legally. I doubt if the people who would be affected can afford the fines. And where will they work during the time they have to spend in their home countries? After all, they left and ran the risks of being illegal because things weren't very good at home.

A second part of the bill would create a caste of "guest workers" with no hope of becoming citizens. This would set them up for all kinds of exploitation such as bare-bones wages, no health benefits and perhaps not even protection under the law.

We need to treat our immigrants better, but the current plan in Congress won't do it. But what can we expect from what passes as the American government in these days? —Frank Bredell, Lincoln Park


Never forget

In his letter regarding the "Sambo" tiles ("Smashing Sambo," Metro Times, May 23), Terrance Hinton of Detroit states that there are no institutions, educational or otherwise, preserving relics that glorify the genocide of Native Americans, Jewish holocaust and other examples of man's inhumanity. He is mistaken. There are numerous institutions doing just that. There is a National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and another Holocaust museum right here in Farmington Hills. Among many facilities documenting the fate of Native Americans is the Wounded Knee Museum in South Dakota. These institutions do not attempt to glorify racism or genocide, but, nonetheless, they contain exhibits that are as profoundly disturbing or offensive to Native Americans and Jewish people as the Sambo tiles are to African-Americans. For years, Wright Museum in Detroit had as its centerpiece exhibit a depiction of Africans suffering on a slave ship.

These are not attempts to glorify horrifying historic episodes, but to preserve history. History is what it is, good and bad. Imagine the uproar that would arise in the African-American community if our society attempted to destroy all evidence of past racism and slavery. Regardless of the victims' ethnicity, we as a society must acknowledge the injustices of the past and not forget. Though they are uncomfortable to see, disturbing and offensive images of our past are a powerful warning to society that it must never happen again.

Those who fail to remember the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them. —Doug Donald, Clawson


Errata: In our Letters to the Editor section in the May 30 issue, we failed to include the affiliation of John Corbin, in his response to Rebecca Mazzei's article "Smithson's Institute." Corbin is on the exhibitions committee of Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and co-curated the exhibition Rebecca Mazzei described. In the same issue, the two historical photos on page 15 that were credited to Leni Sinclair are actually by unknown photographers. Also, one photo caption gave the incorrect first name for a Between the Lines co-publisher. The caption should have given her name as Jan Stevenson.

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