As a high school teacher on NYC's Lower East Side, I am profoundly concerned by the Voice's decision to publish "Close-up on Chinatown" by Francine Russo [November 6-12]. The article's language is appallingly reminiscent of the anti-immigrant rhetoric of proponents of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, who argued that the Chinese, because of their "indecipherable," "foreign," and "peasant" culture, as Russo described it, were inherently incapable of acculturating and becoming American. A closer look at the act reveals that the country, having recently completed the transcontinental railroad, needed to distract European immigrants from their ongoing poverty in the face of industrialization.
Russo's article similarly assuages the consciences of young, middle-income apartment seekers, who needn't feel so bad about displacing non-English-speaking "peasants."
The tagline for Ian Urbina's "Broadcast Ruse" [November 13-19] incorrectly stated that the writer is based at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. Actually, Urbina is based at the Middle East Research and Information Project in D.C.