Letters

Bob Murphy
Jersey City, New Jersey

SELLING OUT

I'm not trying to disrespect reality, and I am sure that everyone employed by the Voice (including me) needs to buy baby some new shoes. Still I couldn't help but wince at the, uh, irony on the Web page for the books section, wherein immediately beneath the name of the reviewed book Hatred Of Capitalism ["Pomo Trip," Joshua Clover, February 12] was the hyperlink Buy This Book, as if that were the subtitle, courtesy of your deal with Amazon. If I'm to fight through the dissonance and let someone help me hate capitalism for 20 bucks, couldn't it at least be Booksense.com, or Powells.com? I'm begging, and I won't quit.

Jane Dark
Berkeley, California

ALL THAT GLISTENS

As an African American woman I was horrified to learn about the self-hate epidemic in Africa manifest in the skin-bleaching craze ["Fade to White," N. Jamiyla Chisholm, January 29]. Ghanaians and others in the West African region are born with the blackest and most beautiful skin in the world: skin that glistens in the sunshine, strong, firm skin that makes any color more vibrant. To see an ebony black person in red, silver, purple, or white is breathtaking—a kiss from God.

Maria Jones
Washington, D.C.

IN LIVING COLOR

Is it really so surprising that Ghanaians are bleaching their skin, when the white media are continuously defining what is beautiful, what is good, and what is acceptable?

It is unfortunate that one group can have such a profound impact on world perceptions and attitudes about self-esteem. But it's hopeful that a good number of people in West Africa and other parts of the world aren't buying into the skin-bleaching practice.

It's wonderful that many black people accept who they are and the skin color that goes along with it regardless of perceived advantages or disadvantages. I am optimistic that blackness will continue to prevail as the acceptable color in Ghana and other African countries. In the meantime, let's not be too harsh on those who do practice bleaching. Since they exist, we as black people must accept and respect their humanity regardless of what color they want to be.

Bob Parrott
Detroit, Michigan

400 BLOWS

Nat Hentoff has never been more on target than with his recent writings on Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC school system ["Bloomberg vs. Failing Schools," February 5]. I was a teacher in this system for only a few months, and I can honestly say that the behavior I witnessed on the part of both school and district administrators was disheartening—to say the least.

Teachers are the first line of defense when it comes to the success or failure of their students, but in my experience, the administration and its policies make it extremely difficult for them to do their jobs effectively. There is more concern over whether district-mandated papers are posted either in or outside the classroom than the fact that most of the children can't read or comprehend these postings. Teachers are not encouraged to be creative in planning lessons and structuring activities, but rather are required to follow inane schedules that demand that they teach a certain subject matter, in a certain way, at exactly the same time every day. There is a generalized sense of apathy that permeates the school environment, ultimately trickling down to the students, and effectively discouraging them from reaching their full potential.

As a city made up of many different communities, we must continue to work together and speak truth to the powers that be, and demand that changes be made. Otherwise, as Hentoff points out, we are all doomed to suffer the effects in the long run.

Stephanie A. Elder
Brooklyn

RANT & ROLL

I really enjoyed R.C. Baker's review of Rant, Ian Hunter's latest CD [February 5]. Since this album was released in April 2001, it has not left my car's CD player. It is truly one of the best albums of the year. Its lack of airplayillustrates the sad state of New York radio in general, as there seems to be no room for intelligent rock and roll songwriting—especially if the artist is over 20!

Anyone who was lucky enough to see Ian Hunter perform at any of his three recent New York shows saw something special. This guy still rocks at 60 and his songwriting and performance skills are second to none. He's one of the reasons I still love rock and roll!

Hal Freiman
Manhattan

WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEARTS OF MEN?

Re the item "What Cheney's Hiding" in James Ridgeway's Mondo Washington column [February 5]: Vice President Cheney is trying to cloud men's minds, as the Shadow used to say in a popular radio program of the 1940s. There is a serious difference between a United States president's struggle to preserve confidentiality between himself and his White House aides (who are paid to give the president all sides of an issue) and Dick Cheney's misguided belief that when he talks with private citizens who are lobbying him for some specific action on their own behalf, such communication requires confidentiality.

Presumably, and supposedly, presidents of the United States and their aides are trying to function on behalf of the public good. Lobbyists function only on behalf of their clients. I am deeply troubled and saddened that Cheney does not see a huge difference in purpose between the confidential advice of aides and the pressuring of self-serving lobbyists.

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