I am writing on behalf of the Arc Detroit, the local chapter of a national organization advocating on behalf of people with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities and their families. The purpose of this letter is to protest in the strongest terms possible Liz Langley's derogatory use of the word "retard" in her column ("Fakes and Pains," MT, Nov. 22-28).
Ms. Langley, in an attempt at humor, referred to persons who are rooked at spending their money for nonuseful items as "some retards who thinks your carnival game is for real."
The word retard has extremely hurtful impact on people with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc has spent the better part of the last half-century advocating for the rights and dignity of people with mental retardation, one aspect of which is the eradication of the word "retard" as a slur.
In short, Ms. Langley has grossly offended a large population within the City of Detroit and her flippant use of the word "retard" cannot be tolerated. Ms. Langley would no doubt never use an epithet to refer to those of the Jewish faith or African-Americans, or any other select group of individuals. An apology would be appropriate in this instance, along with a sincere commitment to refrain from hurtful and derogatory language in future columns. —Henry M. Johnson, Executive Director, The Arc, Detroit
W. Kim Heron, MT managing editor, responds: Mr. Johnson is right. The word should not have appeared in that column or context and we regret that it did. We will strive to ensure that doesn’t happen in the future.
Wonderful and well-researched and informed piece on the Rockrgrl Conference "Got the beat," MT, Dec. 6-12). Sorry we didn't meet up there in person--where I moderated the "Can Artists and Journalists be Friends?" panel and performed at Gibsons with the Brain Surgeons, or last summer, when the Brain Surgeons headlined I-Rock in Detroit. Maybe next time. —Deborah Frost, New York, New York
Jack Lessenberry, your column ("Myths about the election," MT, Dec. 6-12) was sensible, clearly written, free of cant. Are you available to be corrupted by power and run for political office? —Michael H. Margolin, email@example.com. Detroit
Jack Lessenberry's politics and prejudices are very different from my own, but in "Myths about the election," he is right on target. We will
survive. We will get back to normal — such as that may be. —R.S. Campbell, Rochester Hills
Hey, Jack, better a right-wing judicial coup than a left-wing one ("Crimes low and high," MT, Dec. 13-19)! And you quote from that intellectual heavy John Kelly from that world-renowned institution regarding his moronic observation regarding the courts conclusion! Wow! You've changed my mind! I want to change my vote! I made a mistake! What do you mean I can't vote twice! What kind of rascist, (cq) reactionary country do we live in anyway? —Philip Katz, firstname.lastname@example.org, Bloomfield Hills
Jack Lessenberry responds: Evidently, one so bad you never learned how to spell racist.
Light on Scott
I enjoy reading MT online during my lunch hour. I especially enjoyed the recent article about Jill Scott ("Herself every time," MT, Dec. 6-12). Several people have mentioned her and I didn’t know who she was. Thanks, MT, for putting some light on her. —Teressa Butler, Detroit
Hey, the MT radio station (radio.metrotimes.com) is really cool. How about some more Motown music and some more techno? Good luck with the idea. —Kevin Hall, Cambridge, Mass.
Adam Druckman replies: Well Kevin — since mtRadio only plays Detroit-area bands, we like to think it’s all "Motown" music. But seriously ... if you’re referring to Berry Gordy’s more famous mid-’60s variety, that’s a little outside of our scope (in part because of copyright and permission issues). mtRadio exists to promote current Detroit artists. Thus, we only play tunes sent to us by the artists themselves. Speaking of which, we’d love to play more techno. Here’s an open call to Detroit’s techno scene — send us your tunes!