In response to Keith A. Owens column ("Beyond our rage," Metro Times, Sept. 19-25), I live in Dearborn and am Mexican-American; my neighbors are all Arabic. From my block, I see homes with American flags proudly displayed, but I also see Muslim women too frightened to sit on their front porch. My children attend a predominately Arabic school, and the children there are scared of what may happen to them.
My sister was harassed and sworn at by three white males with an American flag. Just because we live here, we are being targeted because of our skin color. Recently four of my female Muslim neighbors were talking on their porch when three young African-American males passed by, spat at them and taunted them to do something. What could they have done? Is this what life will be like from now on? I love this country, and we all cry for the loss that has happened. Please keep telling your readers to not judge Arab-Americans this way. —Dinna Montana (cq), Dearborn
The American way
I am a Navy veteran ("Our nightmare," Metro Times, Sept. 19-25). I’m concerned about the Bush administration’s talk of war (which Congress has the sole authority to declare). We must always remember what we mean by preserving, protecting and defending our way of life. Our commitment to our constitutional system, our civil rights and civil liberties, and the Bill of Rights are the wisest focus of our attention. If we sacrifice any of them to these acts of terrorism, then the terrorists have succeeded in fundamentally altering our society. Additionally, if evidence specifically identifies Osama bin Laden as the mastermind of the attacks, every effort should be made to bring him and his cohorts to justice. Anything less betrays our way of life. —Bob Clements, Roseville
I read your comprehensive coverage of the tragic events from cover to cover, but I question several quotes in Curt Guyette’s lengthy article. Jeffery Sommers, a history professor in Georgia, claims our bombing of Iraq killed 100,000 children, then goes on to describe Arab anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attacks in Durban, South Africa, as a wonder of "civility." There is enough confusion and horror in these tragic events without dragging in the prejudiced remarks of Sommers, who has his own agenda and is trying to gain mileage for his own views. —Irving Berg, Detroit
A better idea?
Jack Lessenberry ("Reparations for slavery?," Metro Times, Sept. 12-18) is the prototype for the suburban white liberal. I was not surprised to discover that (like most Americans) since he's got his, he wants to keep it. I was surprised that he couldn't come up with a more interesting solution to the slavery recompense issue that current affirmative-action policies.
Perhaps a better solution is to provide free post-secondary education to African-Americans, similar to the tuition-waiver program for Native Americans. This would begin to address the issue of economic reparations for slaves and their descendants and provide constructive rectification for the social and economic legacies of slavery faced by all African-Americans in our society. All Americans — no matter how recently arrived — reap the economic benefits of the unpaid labor of millions of women, men, and children. I, for one, am grateful to the millions of people who died in bondage, so that I can enjoy relative prosperity and privilege, even as a dirt-poor American. —Marni Melody Mix (cq), firstname.lastname@example.org, Detroit
Jack Lessenberry’s column about reparations was disappointing. He made the same typical points against reparations as all the naysayers I’ve heard (black or white). He does, however, offer an alternative to reparations, which is more than most naysayers have done.
According to his logic, the reparations cause is already doomed. Such logic would dictate that abolitionists should have abandoned their cause. For that matter, African-Americans would have dropped the civil rights battles as well. Change in America requires continued effort, usually in the face of opposition.
He states with great certainty that the case is politically and legally impossible to win. In this, perhaps he understands white America fully, and what makes the cause necessary. Why is white America not willing to deem the case worthy of adjudication? Such refusal reveals that the mindset of slavery continues, does it not? We find that in 2001 the positions in the white-black relationship are unchanged since slavery. White America is being asked to consider how they have impacted another group of people, but seems unwilling or unable to do so. How much progress is that since the Emancipation Proclamation? —Marlene Brownlee, email@example.com, Southfield