Letters from the week of March 11, 2004

John Monkton

The Pit of Hell
Phoenix's own Bob Guccione: Upon a recent trip to Phoenix, I picked up a copy of New Times to see what was happening in the area. I happened upon the article by Stephen Lemons titled "Freaknik Flossin'" (Inferno, February 26). Wow, was I blown away! I can't believe he can get away with writing about the things he described. It seemed like something out of Penthouse magazine. I definitely would not want my wife to read it, but it sure stirred my curiosity. However, this is not the type of journalism that should be allowed in a public forum which minors might get hold of. What would your (or Mr. Lemons') mother have to say about such trash? Who gives you the right to publish this kind of filth for the general public to read? Someone should pull your plug!

Ralph Lassiter
Little Rock, Arkansas

Racist Rebukes
We all have struggles: "The New Racism" article was a little disturbing (Paul Kix, February 26). I can't seem to understand where the racism is coming into play. Just because they would not let the group perform didn't have to do with the color of their skin. According to the article, not all the members were black. And the gentleman, Michael Mack, whose son didn't make the basketball team wasn't because he was black, maybe he just wasn't very good. I get upset being a white with just as many struggles as anyone else. But some blacks of today just want to segregate themselves. They want a black student union. Show me the white student union. Why is it always the whites being racist? The blacks just do it to themselves. So quit whining, quit blaming everyone else and learn to look past the color of your own skin.

Charles Huber
Via e-mail

Can't we all just get along?: I am a freshman currently enrolled at Millennium High School. The article written accusing Millennium of being racist was completely out of line. To start things off, the Impact club should not be allowed to perform to a song that has the word "hell" in it. No other club is allowed to, and it's against school policy, so why should the rules be bent for one club? The dance line performed to the song "Born to Be Wild." How is that in any way even remotely similar to the rap and R&B songs the Impact club wanted to perform to?

I am a manager for the boys' basketball team. I can honestly say that Tim Butler is in no way racist. Have you seen our varsity basketball team? Two or three starters every game are black, and more than half the team is black! Whoever said that no black kids made the JV team was wrong. This whole argument was just some parent who was mad because his kid didn't make the team.

Millennium teaches about many diverse cultures and backgrounds. All of these problems and accusations were blown completely out of proportion. If you took a look inside the day of a student at Millennium, you wouldn't see racism, you would see students of different races getting along, and being friends. If you ask me, parents are the problem. They are the ones who build hate.

Amy Wong
Via e-mail

Neither "new," nor improved: I am a 2003 graduate of Millennium High School, and currently attend ASU as a computer science major. I have seen and experienced racism, both blatant and "new" (it isn't new; people are just noticing it more), as I am multi-ethnic (Indian, Peruvian, Native American). I was born and originally raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the melting pot is certainly more pronounced.

Arizona has a long way to go before it will reach that level of integration. I don't even feel bad about saying Arizona is fairly rife with racism, whether at stores, on the street, or at one of the largest universities in the world. But I can say that Millennium was a place where I generally didn't experience that.

I met some of the greatest people I have ever met in my life at Millennium, staff and students. People -- not white people, black people, brown people -- just people. I learned that at Millennium.

Racism has changed in our country. It isn't nearly as blatant as it used to be. It wouldn't allow our society to function. Rather, it has migrated to our thoughts, feelings and acts. We do little things that we don't notice, and when others do, we don't understand how they do, and get angry. Racism has become so institutionalized that some of us have grown complacent, and don't wish to fight anymore. Even if there is not a real problem, the fact that people feel that way proves that there is work to be done. Instead of ignoring it and calling it sensationalism, why can't there be a summit, where feelings can be expressed? Use it as an opportunity to grow. Apathy and perpetuating the myth of racism being extinct are as harmful as racism itself.

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