Letters to the Editor

Sep 17, 2008 at 12:00 am

Strong reaction

I have been a fan of Metro Times since before Desire Cooper was the editor. Jack Lessenberry is one of my favorite reporters. Most of the time he is on the money. But the Sept. 10 Metro Times cover, "The adventures of Kwame-Man," is extremely offensive to me as a Detroiter and as an African-American.

I am shocked by your insensitivity to the persons who are voters and residents of Detroit, and the vulgarity of expression intrinsic in your caricature. You have incorporated every racist stereotype possible: gold suit, leopard cape, large "K" necklace symbolizing your notion of ghetto "bling," big fist, the earring which Mayor Kilpatrick has not worn for four years. Is that what you really think about the highest-ranking elected African-American official of the city of Detroit and in the state of Michigan?

Would you have published as a cover a disgustingly sexist stereotype of the governor, a white female? Or a caricature of L. Brooks Patterson drinking or standing in front of buses, resisting school integration in Oakland County? I doubt that you would have published even on a back page such a brazen affront to the members of the majority population in the state, because there would have been immediate and swift consequences. You have so little respect for Detroiters that you feel that you can mock in a racist fashion aspects of our culture and our highest elected leader, and that there will be no consequences. You are incorrect.

Your coverage on issues involving Detroit, although slanted, is generally dignified. But, you went way overboard this time. I am disappointed in you and, in my view, you owe Detroiters and Mayor Kilpatrick a deep and sincere apology. —Sharon E. Bernard, Esq., Detroit

Angered by cartoon

Wow. What a cover story. What an insult.

I've written my last article for Metro Times.

Last week's caricature of the outgoing mayor was overkill at best, and prejudicial at worst. I won't associate with it. Metro Times has opportunistically bought into the double-standard that has guided the coverage of Mayor Kilpatrick since January. You, like the mainstream press, have gone from reporting the story to abusing its subject.

By comparison William Hackel, the former Macomb County sheriff who was convicted of raping a woman in 2003, was never forced to endure this kind of ongoing ridicule. Attorney General Mike Cox was never lambasted like this for cheating on his wife. And L. Brooks Patterson got away with multiple drunk driving offenses with little more than a few forgettable passages in the press.

Communities cry foul whenever racism is injected into a conversation, but what do you call a reference in caricature to a mayor as a zoot suit, gold chain and fedora-wearing, Bible-manipulating pimp, especially when two of the aforementioned political leaders were granted the latitude and privacy to reshape their images and return to hypocritically comment on Kilpatrick?

The ongoing coverage has, of course, been warranted. The analyses have to be there. Even the mayor's detractors have had valid arguments — there are two sides to every story. But there is no excuse for any newspaper to demean the man. That's not our job. That's foul.

There is bias here. And abuse. And stereotyping. And racism.

I won't be party to it, even in a byline.

It's been real, MT, for ten years. God bless. —Khary Kimani Turner, Detroit

Full disclosure: The author is a member of former Mayor Kilpatrick's extended family.

Kwame's appeal

I read the first two or three paragraphs of the your editorial, "Guilty as charged" (Sept. 10), and thought the same thing: "Bullshit." That was totally true. As an African-American woman, I knew that female supporters, who didn't have anything to gain from the Kilpatrick administration, would forgive any and every thing he did, because he is a handsome, black male. (He's good-looking and intelligent, so he's excused!)

But this black woman enjoys judging by the facts. Is Kwame handsome? Yes! He's fine as hell! But he lied under oath and was caught up in those lies. He lied the entire time he was in office and now that the evidence is there. Kwame does not care about the citizens, the city, the city workers — hell he doesn't even want to live here! Usually, he's conveniently away on business. (Coleman Young never did that!) And he even has the nerve to have a "summer home" in Florida! —Bonita Grier, Detroit

Less than a man

He couldn't even go out a real man. No surprise. His resignation speech was more or less all bull from the start. He started it like he had finally seen a vision of all that he had done wrong. But in the end it was the same, very young Kwame Kilpatrick that hadn't learned anything about becoming a man; he once again chose to blame someone else for his final downfall: Governor Granholm.

Funny I don't remember how many times I criticized Gov. Granholm for not acting fast enough. And you could see that Granholm didn't want to be in the position of being forced to conduct hearings to remove this mayor. Granholm finally caved in due to pressure from the city of Detroit, the council, the business owners, even the leading black pastors in the city.

But instead of apologizing to all the people he hurt or to the two upstanding cops he fired for no good reason, or saying he was sorry for costing the city millions of dollars, he gave an empty speech about how he so loved the city and its people, and that alone was the reason for finally submitting his resignation. In reality, he was looking out for was his own ass. He blamed the woman who never wanted the role in the first place, but understanding once she finally did remove him, he would lose the only last thing he could use for a plea deal: His very resignation. He didn't resign because he loved anybody or anything. He resigned because if he didn't he would have faced 3-15, instead of 120 days. —Linda Valerio, Detroit

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