I can't wait.

Zack Winestine

Richard Esposito's article may win the Voice brownie points with the NYPD and supporters of unrestricted movement of capital, and corporate rather than public control over vital economic functions, but as an analysis of the movement opposed to the latter it fails dismally to meet what I hope remain your journalistic standards.

Not a single protester was interviewed—only cops who had been "bloodied." Couldn't Esposito find any protesters who'd been "bloodied" by the police, and who could have told him what was going on from their points of view? Or wasn't he interested?

As for accusations of racism in the protest movement implicit in statements about police cadets performing as protesters, who were "nonwhite," "not yet college graduates," and "more likely to have a parent who was a partner in a bodega or a newsstand than an accounting firm," how many such people has Esposito encountered on the boards of the great corporations pushing the so-called "globalization" agenda?

P.S. In his litany of "anti-globalization" horrors, Esposito forgot to mention Göteborg, Sweden, where last June police barely missed beating their colleagues in Genoa, Italy, in being the first to murder a demonstrator. Let's hope we Swedes do better in the upcoming football championships!

M. Henri Day
Molde, Norway

It's good to see the Voice recognizing the outstanding work of the NYPD. Richard Esposito's article was the first in a long time that reflects the true nature of these professionals. Thanks for recognizing what the NYPD is about.

Jerome Hauer
Former Commissioner
Office of Emergency Management
City of New York


Thulani Davis ["Spinning Race at Harvard," January 22] writes that the manuscript of Hannah Crafts's novel "was purchased by Harvard for $10,000 from Swann Galleries in New York." This will come as news to Harvard, and it will come as news to the Swann Galleries. Like much in her piece, it certainly came as news to me.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Chair, Department of Afro-American Studies
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Thulani Davis replies: I appreciate Gates pointing out that the manuscript, which the Africana.com Web site states is housed at Harvard, was not purchased by the university. Indeed, Gates himself was the only bidder for the manuscript, which sold for $9775.

Thulani Davis's essay "Spinning Race at Harvard" shows that the author has no understanding about the quality of Cornel West's academic work or social motivations. Among other falsehoods in the article, West did not call the press about his dispute with Harvard president Lawerence Summers, as Davis states. And who are the other professors called in and criticized in the style that West was spoken to "by all reports"?

In addition, Davis's notion that West is involved in a power play that somehow injures other scholars is ridiculous and of her own making. West's tremendous intellectual and spiritual generosity toward colleagues, students, and the public is locally and nationally known and profoundly appreciated. Scholars and artists in Latino communities have benefited from his brilliant intellect and critical affirmation of ways to renew democracy. In this case, his only power play is to interrogate Harvard's motto, "Veritas," in relation to scholarship and the exploration of new knowledge.

Davis also completely ignores the balanced, gracious, and understanding manner in which West has spoken in media interviews about his recent conversation with President Summers.

After reading this mean-spirited and troubling distortion of Cornel West's work and intentions, I'm led to ask about The Village Voice, what is your motto? "Spin"?

David Carrasco
Neil L. Rudenstine Professor
of the Study of Latin America
Harvard University

Thulani Davis shows spunk by challenging Harvard's "Skip Machine," a term used by the late Dr. Barbara Christian (Black Women Novelists), who complained until the day of her death that she was exploited by this operation. Spawned by middle-class feminists, wealthy "progressives," and "neoconservatives" who approve of the Machine's tendency to put racism in the background (the "post-black" scam embraced by outfits like The New York Times and The New Yorker), the "Skip Machine" has power over which black intellectuals will thrive, and which will vanish.

It's about time that a serious wordsmith like Ms. Davis began to raise questions about this tyranny. Good for her!

Ishmael Reed
Publisher, Konch
Oakland, California

Hooray and thanks to Thulani Davis for spinning out of the Gates-West spin business. Well and bravely done!

June Jordan
Professor, African American Studies
University of California


Re "Fade to White" by N. Jamiyla Chisholm [January 29]: Skin bleaching is not just an African or black issue. The "whiter is better" mentality affects practically every society of color today. One of Japan's best-selling cosmetic products for women is skin-whitening cream, and that sentiment is manifest throughout Asia. Until those who perpetuate such ridiculous standards of beauty are taught differently, things will stay the same.

Ann Chung
Seoul, Korea


N. Jamiyla Chisholm's article on skin bleaching was interesting, but this practice has also been going on for years in the U.S.

It was very common for certain African American entertainers even up to the Motown era. It still goes on, but thank God for the ever-increasing trend of self-acceptance no matter who you are!

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