Letters

For the week of 06-29-2000

Race Scarred

Raise standards: You recently published two letters to the editor that were offensive to me, and of little intrinsic value to our community at large.

The first letter, "Mutton Jeff" (published May 11), was from an anonymous writer. While taking Jeff Ofstedahl to task for "attacking the messenger" in Ofstedahl's April 27 letter to the editor, the writer accuses him of shilling (poorly, it is suggested) for the gay community and somewhat triumphantly provokes the public to dismiss Jeff as "another walking statistic." The dramatic difference between Jeff and the writer of "Mutton Jeff," I would suggest, is the presence vs. the absence (respectively) of courage and, therefore, character.

In the second letter, "White guilt," published June 15, John Sheehan from Sun City takes Michael Lacey to task for his "Bad Dog" article of June 1.

Mr. Sheehan charmingly refers to African Americans as "niggers" not once, but twice. He further elevates his message by encouraging Mexicans and African Americans to stop their whining and grow up.

New Times, for some unimaginable reason, deemed both of those letters to be worth the cost of ink and paper. One appears to assassinate the character of a man while the other dismisses two entire races.

Perhaps New Timeswould argue that its intention is pure -- that it is simply demonstrating some pervasive bigotry rampant in our culture. I would argue that debate of this nature only contributes to escalating bigotry and furthering divisiveness in our culture.

Do we truly benefit from the publication of these kinds of outbursts? I would personally love to live in a community that embraces a higher standard of tolerance and compassion. The responsibility for achieving that standard belongs to the entire community. Can New Timesdo its part by raising its editorial standards?

Sue Tormala
Phoenix

Wrong number: Please issue a disclaimer to the "White guilt" letter, since I am receiving obscene phone calls and threats. I am John Sheehan who resides in Sun City West, not Sun City, and am in fact the only John Sheehan listed in the phone book in any of the Sun Cities. The real writer of the letter is not listed in the phone book at all.

John Sheehan
Sun City West

Editor's note: Got that, people? The writer of the "White guilt" letter has an unlisted phone number. If you are calling the John Sheehan listed in the book, you are calling the wrong party.

Heal thyself: I would like to begin by saying that I agree with John Sheehan, that white people need to stop feeling guilty about what their ancestors did 300 years ago. I believe that there should be some kind of reparation, preferably of monetary nature, for those past human rights violations and inhumanities. Black people also should stop using the past as their reason for failure today. We need to stop acting like the victims we once were. We are in control of our destinies now and there is no excuse for any of us not to succeed if we try.

As far as running our own countries is concerned, Mr. Sheehan, white people have been in control of the government in Africa for years -- or have you never heard of apartheid? So if Africa is corrupt and backward, you have only the white man to blame for it. Africans were running their own lands until the white man arrived and decided that greed and profit and slavery should rule a nation instead of the kings and queens who were born there.

The same mentality brought corruption and slavery to America. Americans, real Americans, were running this country, too, but there is no profit in peace. The real Americans lived in harmony with the environment until, you guessed it, some greedy, self-serving white people came over and decided that the savages should not control the land anymore. Sharing the abundant riches that were found to be here was never an option. Of course, the settlers had no problem allowing the Indians to make it possible for the newcomers to survive in their harsh, new world, and they repaid their kindness with the very savagery of which the settlers accused the Indians. Those Indians survived the diseases that the settlers brought with them from Europe and the general murder and mayhem that nearly wiped out tribe after tribe were herded onto the reservations that we see today.

So in reality, when John Sheehan says that the blacks and Mexicans need to run their own countries, he is talking about himself, also. If you are white, then you came from somewhere else and need to go back and learn how to run "your own country." He sounds like he's doing his fair share of whining, too. Maybe he should have spent more time in school studying his spelling, vocabulary and history. Perhaps then he would have more understanding and tolerance of others. His letter is indicative of the kind of ignorance that resorts to using the same old tired derogatory and inflammatory verbal triggers that are designed only to incite hatred and division among people. His letter displays just how illiterate he is. While he was sleeping, the world changed.

Carla Rivera
via Internet

Tainted whine: I agree in part with the "White guilt" letter. I heard an interesting thought brought forward recently. The Jewish people went through the Holocaust. They seem to try to learn and grow and hope others will learn from it so it's never repeated. It might be well if slavery and discrimination were viewed in the same way. Whining doesn't improve anything.

It's a very large job to be a man in today's society, and perhaps that is why we have many women CEOs and ladies have to raise their children alone. Now is the time to stop looking at each other by race and color, as we are all Americans and have very heavy loads. We must pull together as proud Americans.

Beverly Smith
Fountain Hills

Correspond dunce: John Sheehan completely missed the main point of Michael Lacey's column. The most telling point of the column is that an American citizen, like Sheehan himself, can be singled out for being different -- elderly, for example -- and be beaten bloody, and the people responsible will escape punishment simply because their parents are affluent. Of course, Mr. Sheehan has the recourse -- if he survives -- to sue the parents.

Sheehan is so busy spouting venom that he doesn't even notice the abridgement of his own rights -- the rights of middle-middle, or even upper-middle-class people -- in favor of citizens with more money or more notoriety. While Sheehan's attention is directed toward minorities and the abridgement of their rights, his own are being violated. I find this to be amusing in a sad way.

It is pointless to try to reason with such a person as Sheehan. He has carefully overlooked the irony of expecting countries whose resources and economies have been ravaged by Europeans for centuries to build a mini-America out of the ashes on Sheehan's time schedule. Mr. Sheehan doesn't have the brains God gave a grape. His inability to express an opinion without hurling racial epithets only serves to highlight his own mental deficiencies. Our only consolation is that, as a Sun City resident, Sheehan may have only a limited amount of time to spread his stupidity.

Name withheld by request

The Rap on Eminem

Don't listen: Attempting to moralize rap is senseless, and I'd expect to read that kind of shit in the Arizona Republic.But you guys, too? What's up with that? So Eminem hates gays ("'F' Wordsmith," Andrew Miller, June 15), so he beats his wife, so he rhymes about crazy shit. Of course it's wrong! Since when have I looked to music for moral guidance?

I listen to Eminem because he says what he feels to some dope ass beats -- period. I don't agree. I don't beat gays -- or my wife, for that matter. I'll never cut myself. I'll never take a hundred pills before I drive. But I will play the shit loud with my windows down and my middle finger up!

This is the same kind of shit all the religious radicals tried to do to Elvis. The same thing the right wing tried to do to all the gays. Forget it -- this is the U.S. of Fucking A., and we get to say whatever we want. And if you don't like it -- don't listen. That's what I do to you!

Name withheld by request

Fare EnoughCasa wary: Carey Sweet's review of Monti's La Casa Vieja ("Mill Rut," June 15) is right on the money, unfortunately. Forty years ago, Monti's was where we took visitors whom we hoped would move to Arizona. Now it's where we take the ones whom we pray will just keep moving, on to California.

Sheila Dickson
Phoenix

Face of ChangeScary recollection: I admire you for printing a story that many of our "contemporary" newspapers would neither take the time to write, nor have the guts to print ("High Marks," Dewey Webb, June 8). Your story reminded me of a program that I saw at the age of 13 (I am in my late 30s) and how it made me feel. And how I discontinued my destructive pattern. Someone like The Scary Guy can make an impact on people's lives. As I read the article, I realized how I had "slipped" and was using some of the same stereotypes that The Scary Guy brought up.

Oftentimes I do not agree with your slant or opinions pertaining to current events. Thank you for your refreshing views, and the courage to print a positive article like the one on The Scary Guy.

J. Henry
Scottsdale

Insuring IllegalsDisregard for law: Senator Joe Eddie Lopez wants us to believe that people who have already violated our immigration laws, and violated laws against driving without a license, would "like to buy car insurance" ("Illegal Turn," Gilbert Garcia, June 8). Besides a pattern of disregard for the law, most illegal aliens would not buy car insurance because it makes no sense. People buy car insurance and other kinds of insurance to protect their assets in case they are sued. Why would anybody who has no assets, and who might very well be using an assumed name, spend hundreds of dollars a year to buy auto insurance?

Lopez also believes that since illegal aliens are here and are driving anyway, the state might as well sanction it by giving them licenses. What about just enforcing the law? How about cooperating with the federal government in apprehending and deporting illegal aliens, and imposing a 10-day stay in a county jail for anyone (illegal alien or citizen) caught driving without a license?

Ira Mehlman
Marina del Rey, California

Southern exposure: Very well-written story that covers a lot of the angles of a problem that has its roots in the flood of immigrants (illegal and otherwise) coming across the border. The federal government is merely reaping what it has sown, after years of ignoring the problems in Mexico and South America.

I watch as big business exports jobs to "Third World" countries and floods parts of this country with "legally sanctioned" workers to supposedly do what Americans won't. We might as well give Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico back to the Mexican government.

I watched a young Mexican man come into the Chandler MVD office and apply for a license. He had no social security number, no birth certificate, couldn't speak English and probably couldn't read the license manual. But he was ready to drive. I am sure he didn't know or care about what "auto insurance" was, either.

Either open the borders or build another Berlin Wall. You can't have it both ways. This driver's license problem is just the tip of a very huge iceberg.

Vincent Speshock
via Internet

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