Sidney Burnley
San Antonio, Texas

Deft Hands, Hit Nerves

Coates shows a deft hand at political commentary while respecting the legitimate contributions of men like Cosby. He hits a nerve that needs thorough exploration. The world holds a special view of African descendants in America. How we respond to our oppression and opportunities is often a standard-bearer for people across the globe. This question of class struggle must be resolved, or at least put on the table in an intelligent way. Coates did a much better job of it than Cosby did. Let's hope others follow his lead.

Amandilo Mmelika-Couzan
Chicago, Illinois

Defending the Cos

Bill Cosby may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but at Constitution Hall during the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, he was something many people have come to fear and despise, a herald of truth.

From the news coverage, it appears Cosby spoke of real issues facing black people: apathy, ignorance, and a lack of discipline. His words cut like a knife through the amorphous ideological conceptions of embedded black leadership that fosters dependence among the masses of people. To suggest his motives were directed by an elitist agenda is without merit and a disservice to intelligent people in general and black people in particular.

With this in mind, black people everywhere need to heed the words of Cosby and seriously consider their position in a society structurally determined to destroy them with their own vices.

Khrisna Picart
Jamaica, Queens

Paying the Bill

Re "Ebonics! Weird Names! $500 Shoes!":

In my current employ, it is very obvious to me that if your name is Shaniqua or something with apostrophes and hyphens where letters should be, you had better believe that before you hit the door there is a very distinct visual of who will be showing up. And don't blame the white man for that one—our brothers and sisters who are making it in showbiz have made sure that this is the vision of (their) "black" America. If you want to be a stereotype, then by all means go to a job interview speaking Ebonics. The rest of us take offense because we have to pay for it after you leave.

Paul Thomas
Poughkeepsie, New York

Just Cos

When I first heard about Cosby's comments, I said, "It's about damn time." His points are quite valid. There is little outrage at academic failure in the black community in Baltimore. There are libraries that have been closed and very few black people voiced opposition to this. Like Chris Rock said, "You get more respect coming out of jail than out of college," which tells of how little importance education is in our community. Cosby was right to vent his frustration about our people's lack of progress. He should be commended, not criticized, for having the guts to tell the truth. And the truth hurts like hell.

Charles Lee
Baltimore, Maryland

Godly Governance

Re Rick Perlstein's "The Jesus Landing Pad" [May 19-25]:

I dispute Perlstein's closing statement that "[The problem] is that [Bush] is discussing policy with Christians who might not care about peace at all at least until the rapture." An even bigger problem is that by doing so he is violating the Constitution that he swore to uphold and protect by violating separation of church and state.

Dee Halzack
Lowell, Massachusetts


Congratulations to staff writer Chisun Lee, who received the Best Continuing Coverage Award (Print) from the New York Press Club. The award recognized her series of articles on post-9-11 civil liberties, which include "Devil in the Details", "A Lifetime in Limbo," and "'Red Means Big Brother's in Charge.'"


Leslie Camhi's "Being and Nothingness" (June 2-8) mistakenly attributed a piece of artwork on the third-story window at P.S.1 to James Turrell. The piece, Observation Deck (Queens), was created by Patrick Killoran in 1996.

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