Letter of the Week
Doug Strott of Indianapolis may be "a libertarian by party" in the sense that he is identified as such on the voter rolls, but he is assuredly no libertarian [Letters, August 39]. Real libertarians poke a finger in the eye of the oppressor; they do not lick his jackboot.
All New Yorkers need to decide right now whether we are sheep or whether we are free men and women. We can start by refusing to consent to these unconstitutional searches, which are more fitting for a police state than a country that is allegedly trying to "defend freedom." Not only are the bag searches a gross infringement of our Fourth Amendment rights, but they will not make the slightest difference in stopping terrorist attacks. All they accomplish is to make stupid people feel safer, which is hardly the proper function of the police.
Re Aina Hunter's "Keep Moving, Son" [August 39]: One of the original writers for the Voice once said to me, "I never claim to be objective, but I always try to be fair." That principle seems to have gone missing here. While Robert Cornegy's father was and remains a solid voice of both anger and common sense, I believe the remainder of the article to be seriously uninformative and deficient. For instance, no suggestion is offered as to what the police should have done differently in the immediate aftermath of a very ugly melee in which two local residents were also stabbed and/or slashed.
As a resident of Carroll Gardens whose child attended Brooklyn New School (the sister school of Brooklyn Collaborative Studies), I find it rather curious that, as far as I can tell, no effort was made to contact people like the African American woman who was the past parent coordinator of Brooklyn Collaborative Studies and the current chair of the school's parent association; Buddy Scotto, a widely respected local activist; or me (a member of the local community education council). All of us have far more nuanced takes on what has happened than the sources quoted. But then, reporting those perspectives would have undermined the impression that the Carroll Gardens community is filled with racist yahoos out of On the Waterfront.
I wrote my essay to get into law school four years ago about the differential police, and subsequent judicial, treatment young teens of color receive in South Brooklyn compared to their white counterparts. This hypocrisy led me to quit working for the New York court system in a position that asked me to reinforce these stereotypes and actions by the police. In South Brooklyn, "boys will be boys" unless they are black or Latino, in which case adolescent behavior is potentially criminal and needs to be addressed by the juvenile (in)justice system.
When I lived in Carroll Gardens, Carroll Park was the place where young white kids smoked weed, hung out in packs, and often tried intimidating passersby. In Red Hook, kids get picked up for trespassing simply for hanging out in front of a public housing building without ID.
Sadly, this is not some isolated phenomenon, limited to an old-school Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. Rather, this is the American way, where we have racialized crime and continue to perpetrate this great lie that crime is a black thing. So, while I am thrilled to see the Voice publicize the criminalization of young Latino and black teens in Carroll Gardens, I am saddened by the thought that the police continue to operate the same old way.
Aina Hunter's "Keep Moving, Son" is a completely biased portrait of a neighborhood in which juvenile delinquents are supposedly being victimized by antagonistic policemen. I am a young Afro-Hispanic resident of Carroll Gardens and have been for over a year now. I have never once been harassed by local law enforcement officials. However, I have twice been subjected to verbal abuse by the hooligans who attend school and loiter several hours after dismissal. Carroll Gardens is a very diverse neighborhood, and it's completely unfair for the author to suggest otherwise: "the part-hipster, part-yuppie, part-old-school-Italian Carroll Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn." To suggest that racial prejudice plays a part in these actions is borderline propaganda. I'm outraged that there has been no mention of the opinion held by residents here, nor any of the local business owners. I surmise the reason being this would be detrimental to the contrived image of police harassment.Try getting the whole story next time.
Aina Hunter replies:
I'm afraid Trinidad misread the article. The situation has less to do with "juvenile delinquents" and racial prejudice than with a specific fight involving two groups of young peopleone group that lives in Carroll Gardens and one group that does notand a police solution that resulted in making the black and Hispanic kids feel unwelcome. It was not an indictment of Trinidad's neighborhood.
Lioness in summer
Re "Texas Hillary" by Kristen Lombardi [August 39]: Through each of the worst assaults by the Bush administration on rights, civilian bodies, and simple decency, Senator Clinton has generally been on board. She was there for Bush on the resolution to use force against Iraq and insists she has no regrets; she endorsed the Patriot Act's shredding of basic civil liberites. Like John Kerry, she has been helpfully silent on the issue of torture, occupying herself instead with the critical business of hidden porn in video games. She shares the president's enthusiasm for so-called "free trade" and endorses the substance, if not the style, of his opposition to gay marriage. Rumor has it she is prepared to vote in favor of Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, John Roberts.
Given all this, it's certainly no surprise that Clinton finds support among the business and political elite of Texas. The far bigger mystery is why any New Yorker, let alone a reader of the Voice, would regard her rising star with anything but disgust and dread. And please, calling this most undistinguished of right-leaning centrists the "lioness of liberalism" is just gross. It demeans both lions and liberals.
Hunter for the truth
I want to congratulate the Voice on two recent articles by Aina Hunter ["U.N. to Investigate Alleged Haiti Massacre," August 4, and "No Justice for Haiti's Jean-Juste," August 5, villagevoice.com] concerning the situation in Haiti. As a Haiti solidarity activist, it has been frustrating to read U.S. media coverage of Haiti because it so often runs counter to what I know to be the truth on the ground. Instead of writing a story based on U.N. press statements, Hunter went to the neighborhood where the massacre took place and spoke with victims and their families, revealing that the U.N.'s version of the events is not credible. Regarding her story on Reverend Jean-Juste, a prominent Lavalas leader and Aristide supporter, Hunter once again turns a critical eye on the "official" version of his arrest and reveals that he sits in a prison today on trumped-up charges because of his support of Aristide and his determination to work for justice for the poor of Haiti. Ms. Hunter, keep up your principled pursuit of the truth!
Picky, picky, picky
You know, I realize this fouls up Robert Christgau's Nashville-as -pop's-backward-votin'-relation allegory (Rock&Roll&, "Men Like Them," August 39], but I thought it my duty to remind you that Davidson County, Tennessee (encompassing all of Nashville city proper), went for John Kerry in 2004 by a margin of 10 percentage points. Virtually all of our local, state, and federal elected officials are Democrats. Al Gore still lives here, most of the time. We think that Frist fella is just a carpetbagger.Thanks anyway for the props on our seamy underside. We're proud that we do both kinds of pickin'our guitars and our politiciansthe right way.
Jean C. Wilson
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Women's PAC
Robert Christgau replies:
I wasn't surprised to learn that Nashville the city voted for Kerrymost cities did. Wouldn't be surprised either if many in the country-music business are Democrats or lefterI know a few such myself. But country-music artists remain the only musicians' subgrouping to generate substantial Bush support in 2004, and I'd be astonished to learn Nashville's more affluent suburbs, where most of them reside, didn't do the same.
In "Market Crash" (villagevoice.com, July 28), and "Flee Market" (June 9), The Annex Antiques Fair & Flea Market, on 6th Avenue at 26th Street, was mistakenly referred to as "The Chelsea Flea Market." Also, in "Flee Market", it was stated that Con Edison had bought a lot on 6th Avenue and 24th Street last year. In fact, Con Ed has owned that space since 1966 and is currently waiting for Public Service Commission approval to sell it.
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