By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
BLACK LIKE WHO, EXACTLY?
When I read the first paragraph of Erin J. Aubry's write-up "Homeboys From Outer Space and Other Transgressions" [August 612], I was livid. Who was this idiot writing about "Chitlin TV"? However, as I read on (note: It took two complete readings for me to actually feel good about the piece), I paid more attention to her argument. Miraculously, by the time I reached the end of the piece, and although I found some of the comments in the article to be a little mean-spirited, I was in agreement with Aubry.
It is true, to an extent, that African-American life is being made a mockery of on television and in other media. But while we are trying to rectify the miseducation of society in the next millennium, we also need to wake up and realize that we don't know ourselves, either. How else can you explain the creation of such shows as Homeboys and its followers?
Aubry admits to watching the Chitlin Networks from time to time. I, myself, prefer to turn to the Lifetime Network, where I can identify with the actress Lorraine Toussaint on Any Day Now. The character she portrays helps to give me reassurance that I am not alone in my views about such sensitive issues as race- and gender-based discrimination, and post-college dating.
Bronx, New York
Either I'm missing the point of Erin J. Aubry's article, or the author is watching television on a planet different from the one I've watched it on. I don't dispute Aubry's premise that television shows (predominantly sitcoms) don't represent any real picture of black life outside of shtick. What I reject is the unspoken premise that television shows represent a real picture of any human life outside of shtick. Perhaps Aubry is looking in the wrong place for substantive portrayals.
Being an African-American female, I learned long ago not to look to television for my identity or anything that might remotely resemble my life. I would prefer blacks to be invisible in the media, like Native Americans. It is better not to be seen at all than to be seen in a derogatory, stereotypical way.
Once again, the NAACP misses the target. Its efforts are needed in areas that directly affect blacks. Maybe the NAACP should focus on developing black entertainment/
news media. Then it would be involved in something that blacks would actually benefit from.
New York City
For Aubry's article, just substitute Latino for black, and you have the same result. I also wish the Latino leadership would focus on education and building wealth instead of what I consider to be a nonissue.
I was startled to read Sandra Ross' divisive OffBeat piece "Stormy Leather" [July 30August 5] regarding the L.A. Leather Coalition's involvement in the 19th Sunset Junction Street Fair. Her article is rife with hysterical projection, unsubstantiated innuendo and pernicious subdivision of the diversity she pays such transparent lip service to. ("Of course, OffBeat welcomes Heather and both her mommies, but we wonder if even they will feel welcome.") The piece seems oddly out of place in a magazine that prides itself on an enlightened social agenda.
Exploiting vague fears of those who are different to fan the flames of hatred is a time-honored tactic of those who would divide communities. This article panders to the worst of those instincts. Ms. Ross states that the return of the leather-identified community's involvement in the fair "is raising fears of a change of character in the diverse but traditionally 'family-friendly' event." Whose fears is she talking about? Her own?
By what definition are gay leather folk who wear different (or less) clothing than Ms. Ross not a part of families? I am a proud member of the leather community, and am also very closely involved with my blood family (including the children), who respect, love and honor the totality of who I am. Kudos to Sharon Delugach of Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg's office for emphasizing this by saying to OffBeat, "There's all sorts of definitions of family."
The "local leathers" (huh?) whom Sandra would sweep under the rug are a major element of the Silver Lake community. I belong to one such group, a fraternal club called the Regiment of the Black and Tans. The Regiment donates thousands of dollars annually to local food banks and charities. These funds are raised in the heart of Silver Lake, by members of the very community Sandra would expunge from the fair.
She closes her article by clearly delineating her us-vs.-them mentality: "Delugach, like the fair organizers, said the event is about 'community.' But whose community?"
Her last three words are particularly disturbing. Webster's Dictionary defines community as "Society â at large; a commonwealth or state; a body politic; the public, or people in general." I wonder who appointed Ms. Ross the arbiter of who is, and is not, a part of people in general?