Letters to the Editor

From the issue of March 15, 2001

Notice: Miami Police Department Job Fair
Applications available in the warden's office: Regarding Tristram Korten's story "Under Suspicion"(March 1), I'm convinced that local police departments recruit their officers from various prisons.

Sadly cops tempted by easy money is a problem everywhere. And inconceivably, cops are supposed to police themselves. Almost always, though, crooked cops are protected by their own.

The CIA and FBI require their employees occasionally to undergo lie-detector tests, and they are watched for changes in their lifestyles. Such regular checks should be mandatory for police as well.

Berny Shomstein
Miami

Corruption Endgame
Why do you think they call them pawns? So City of Miami Police Chief Raul Martinez wants to conquer corruption within his own department. Why? King sacrifices pawns, king survives.

Clyde Cates
South Miami

I Don't Enforce the Law; I Am the Law
And lawlessness is my shadow: As usual for New Times, "Under Suspicion" was fact-filled, but it failed to describe the underlying or theoretical nature of the beast. Police power gone awry (in no way limited to corrupt officers), or totalitarianism as Hannah Arendt calls it, occurs when the offending party becomes so intertwined with the ideal or image he claims to represent that he fails to separate the two. Once this happens the ideal is conveniently discarded, like a snake discards its skin. According to Arendt the offending party then becomes the law (or ideal or image), and in so doing replaces it.

"Look, it's over there," the culprit might say. But while others are looking at the image, he comes like a thief in the night, ready to burn and murder and pillage.

Manny Losada
Miami

This Law Is Real, and So Is He
He'd really rather not have to sue you: In her article "A Moveable Feast of Lawsuits" (March 1), Susan Eastman wrote about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Martin Marcus, who I have known for many years. I chaired a voluntary fair-housing organization for more than ten years in Miami-Dade County. We produced a video for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which included handicapped accessibility long before it was popular.

It is my pleasure to know that our efforts were not in vain. I am sure Mr. Marcus did not know of our efforts, and I never anticipated that someone I know would put a face on the written laws and ordinances. I hope we all will see the need to comply with the ADA without being forced to through the courts.

Pat Mellerson
Miami

Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error in "A Moveable Feast of Lawsuits," the nonprofit organization Access Now was incorrectly described as having joined with Martin Marcus in suing local businesses for noncompliance with the ADA. Marcus and Access for the Disabled have been co-plaintiffs in several such lawsuits. New Times regrets the error.

Whatever Happened to Self-Respect?
It got trampled by bitches and skanks and hoochies and countless rows of gold teeth: Let me start off by saying Tiffany Madera's article about the film Dirty South("Bastard Out of Miami," February 22) was disturbing. In fact it really needed to have a disclaimer: "The views and activities expressed in this article are in no way reflective of the entire black population of the South." Don't get me wrong. I respect the fact these hip-hop artists are making an effort to be enterprising. But that very same method has proven to be detrimental to practically a whole society of people.

For example on several occasions I have gone out of town, and people were shocked I was from Miami. The media and this form of video debauchery perpetuate a negative image of black women (black men as well but primarily women). The constant message is that black women are bitches, 'hos, sluts, and skanks, and that all Southern blacks behave like those men and women in the film. Believe it or not, some of us have decorum, respect for our bodies and selves, are intelligent, do not have outrageous clothing or hairstyles, do not have gold or platinum teeth, and can speak on levels beyond Ebonics.

Tiffany Madera, of course, is not to blame for the poor image people have of Southern blacks. But I do charge her with passive malevolence by not providing a positive comparison within her article. Although I should respect others' opinions, you can see why some people might be outraged with comments like this: "The Dirty South [is] pure sex: “Tongue, dick sucking, ass shakin', ass humpin', pussy poppin', everything -- practice makes perfect!'"

Madera interviewed two people who have become poster children for Southern blacks [Luther Campbell and Atlanta rapper Khujo]. Oxymoronically Luther Campbell actually twisted his lips to say, "We in the South are a bunch of outcasts; nobody really respects us." Gee, I wonder why? It is as if we have all been chucked into this degrading, immoral pit of despair. It's the same as the world viewing all Latinos in South Florida as Cuban, because of what is portrayed in the media.

I am truly a girl raised in the South. Nevertheless neither my associates nor I paint anything near the colorful picture described in Madera's article or portrayed in those videos. We are down-to-earth, approachable, intelligent people, with a positive, conventional morality and ethics. The sad thing is that media and music continue to hype this sick stereotype without offering an alternative, because the alternative doesn't sell. Also the artists don't take responsibility for the fallout of their actions. Because of the actions of a few, who get all the publicity, people like myself have to practically fight to protect our bodies. Recently at a nightclub, while dressed decently, some guy had the audacity to try feeling me up. Aside from a verbal thrashing, I had to physically grab his hand and let him know that just become some women will consent does not mean I will. Respect me, damn it!

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