By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
There is, however, one correction that needs to be made. In the article, there was a reference to the Indian government's attack on the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar. Kamber referred to the Darbar Sahib as the "Golden Temple." In the Sikh context, this is incorrect. The venue of learning and congregation in the Sikh context is popularly referred to as a Gurdwara; in this case, the name of the Gurdwara is Darbar Sahib. Darbar refers to a king's court; here it refers to the Court of the One (God). Sahib is a term of reverence. The name "Golden Temple" was coined by the British in their insensitivity to and ignorance of the Sikh way. "Golden Temple" does not in any way reflect the immensity of the Darbar Sahib. Furthermore, a temple is a place of worship, while a Gurdwara is not simply that. To Sikhs, the One Creator is omnipresent; therefore, one can worship the One anywhere. A Gurdwarais a site where the Sikhs' spiritual, political, and social affairs are addressed. Historically, the Darbar Sahib has been regarded by Sikhs as of great significance, and for centuries it has been a focal point of Sikh resistance to tyranny.
Also, Mr. Kamber mentioned that the Indian government repressed the Sikhs and that the Sikhs responded to the government's shelling (it was much more than that) of Darbar Sahib by killing Indira Gandhi. In fact, thousands of innocent Sikhs were massacred during this attack. I hope the Voicewill continue to look into the Sikh perspective.
Michael Kamber's article "On the Corner" should serve as a wake-up call to all New Yorkers on the need to reduce immigration to levels that America can absorb. But it tells only half the storythe people standing on street corners are replacing American teenagers who need entry-level jobs to learn how to support themselves.
The city comptroller's office has estimated that New York City's teenage employment rate is 20 percent, which is 25 points less than the national average. The reason for the disparity is that New York is overpopulated due to immigration.
The comptroller's office is advocating public service jobs and tax breaks to increase employment, and those are good things. However, the number of immigrants in New York is severely impacting the lives of American children, with overcrowded classrooms and few jobs. That would make an excellent follow-up article for Kamber.
Ed Price, President
Tri-State Immigration Moratorium
Michael Kamber replies: There is anecdotal evidence that immigrants do indeed compete with entry-level American citizen workers. On the other hand, the wave of immigrants in the 1980s is widely credited with stimulating New York's economy during tough times. There have always been movements to close America's doors to immigrants; fortunately, these were not successful before my grandparents arrived hereor yours.
I have just finished reading Michael Kamber's series of articles on the new Mexican migration to New York City ["Crossing to the Other Side," April 17; April 24; May 1]. I am very pleased by the balance in the stories as well as with the fact that The Village Voice took the time to cover this important issue from the human side of the equation rather than employing the rhetoric often found in other publications. I will be using these stories in my upcoming courses.
Arturo Gonzalez, Assistant Professor
Mexican American Studies
University of Arizona
TAKING DRUGS WHILE BLACK
In response to Jennifer Gonnerman's "Tulia Blues" [August 7]: Although the massive Tulia drug bust that devastated a small Texas town is perhaps the most egregious case of racial profiling, the problem is by no means limited to the South. U.S. government statistics reveal that the drug war is being waged in a racist manner throughout the nation. Although only 15 percent of the nation's drug users are black, blacks account for 37 percent of those arrested for drug violations, over 42 percent of those in federal prisons for drug violations, and almost 60 percent of those in state prisons for drug felonies. Support for the drug war would end overnight if whites were incarcerated for drugs at the same rate as minorities.
Racially disproportionate incarceration rates are not the only cause for alarm. Putting nonviolent drug offenders behind bars with career criminals is a dangerous proposition. Prisons encourage violent habits and values rather than reduce them. Most drug users hold jobs and pay taxes. Rather than waste scarce resources turning potentially productive members of society who use "recreational drugs" (other than alcohol and tobacco) into hardened criminals, we should be funding cost-effective treatment.
The Lindesmith Center
Drug Policy Foundation
Re "A.I., A Butch-Dyke Fantasy," [July 31]: Thanks to Eileen Myles for a refreshing take on the film. Reading her piece, I had a dozen "oh yeah" reactions as I remembered the scenes and saw them in a new queer light. Unfortunately, most U.S. moviegoers, docile product-roids that we are, didn't get it, and the thought that the masses will perceive the queer subversion in a Steven Spielberg film is hope-inspiring but unlikely. This is a shame, because with the queer reading A.I. becomes a much better movie.