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.
--Charmaine L. Bailey
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?
Peter Garrison's overview of instrument flying ["Rush to Judgment," August 612], its risks, and how they pertain to the recent accident involving John Kennedy Jr. and his passengers provided the most informative and well-balanced piece of media output I have read on the subject of that unfortunate event.
As a pilot (instrument-rated), I am constantly amazed at the level of ignorance that is evident in the writing after a high-profile aviation accident, and the sensationalist and ambiguous reporting style that it consequently generates. Mr. Garrison's article neither lays blame nor absolves anyone or anything from guilt; instead, he draws a picture of the real world of operations within the aviation environment, putting the facts on the table for consideration of their merits or lack thereof.
Thanks for publishing Peter Garrison, an informed and reasoning voice.
Re: "On Granada Hills" [August 1319]. I don't know what kind of a sheltered life Harold Meyerson's parents or grandparents lived, but guns were more available and easier to obtain then than now, certainly in the South, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest. There were nowhere near the laws or restrictions. Just think, all of us horrible, ignorant, gun-toting, toothless morons were actually driving around with loaded high-
powered hunting rifles in racks in the back windows of our pickup trucks. We also had more freedom to carry around sidearms without permits.
No, the problem is not guns; it is a total lack of morals and respect, caused by a bunch of liberal elitists, a gutless public school system run by socialist educators, soft judges, self-serving lawyers, mostly left-wing news media and a federal goverment led by the most amoral president in history.
Gun haters always deliver twisted information to suit their own agenda. Not even the total confiscation of every gun in the U.S. will stop lunatics from committing terrible crimes with guns obtained elsewhere, or by other means.
Lincoln City, Oregon
Harold Meyerson's take on the "Old Country," where "anti-Semitism was ubiquitous and guns were scarce," failed to take into consideration that guns were particularly "scarce" for the Jewish populace. They were disarmed by the orders of Adolf Hitler with the supposed intent of "making Germany a safer place without individual ownership of guns." If the people hadn't bought the lie about giving up their rights to protect themselves under the guise of "safety," and guns had been more common, perhaps more of the victims of the Holocaust would be alive today to champion our right to "keep and bear arms."
Re: Danny Feingold's news piece on the new parking restrictions on Sandpiper Street in Playa del Rey ["It's Lonely at the Top," August 1319]. This sort of law enforcement is becoming an all-too-common practice. It's called criminalizing reasonable behavior. Why do so? Because it's easy for law enforcement to look like they are working hard, by creating "instant crime." They can simply write everyone a ticket -- with "probable cause" to harass people who, for the most part, simply want to enjoy a nice view on a pleasant day or evening. Despite the Pacific Division's assertions that this street is a hotbed of illegal activity, they could make only nine arrests? Stake out any block in L.A. County for four months, and I'm sure you could make at least nine arrests. Were one to apply this logic and these arrest statistics to other areas of the city, we'd have to make parking illegal 24 hours a day on every street in Hollywood.
Basically, this sort of approach has more to do with laziness on the part of law enforcement than any real concern for public safety. What better way to up the crime stats and generate some revenue (while looking busy doing nothing) than to make reasonable behavior a crime? Is the public interest served by this? Aren't there any unsolved crimes of a serious nature that the police could better expend their energies on?
Thanks for Miriam Jacobson's enlightening Real Gone article concerning Vancouver and the civilized methods it is employing to overcome the cancer that is the "Drug War" ["Reefer Madness," August 1319]. It proves once again that the war isn't about drugs, but about the individuals and acronyms who are making a financial killing by promoting this terrible war.
Why is the L.A. Weekly so hard to find in Boyle Heights? Is Boyle Heights not part of Los Angeles? Do you think that there would be low readership? If there is low readership in Boyle Heights, it's because the Weekly has very limited, if any, drop-off points. It's easier to find a Weekly in Pasadena than it is in Boyle Heights. Growing up in Boyle Heights, I was not aware that there was such a thing as the Weekly until I got out of L.A.!
In the past six months or so, many of your articles have focused heavily on the City Council elections for the 14th District seat, which includes Boyle Heights. Unfortunately, your articles have not reached the people most desperate for information on the candidates. Your endorsement regarding the candidates seeking the 14th District seat has been in vain, because most people here don't know you exist.
If your newspaper wants to reach the people you write about, then place more L.A. Weekly stands in Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Highland Park. If you want to continue to marginalize communities of color, go on with business as usual; we'll just read the L.A. Times.
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Mexiled in Boyle Heights
A printer error omitted artist Gustavo Vargas' credit in the August 2026 Outlaw L.A. column.