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No Vote

Posted 9/12/2007

Unless someone offers me a magical "cure" for B-more, I can't imagine voting in the local elections, and I've lived here for the past eight years ("It's Just Politics," Feature, Sept. 5).

Nothing will change. Rich people will buy up, gentrify, and culturally strip any quasi-charming little neighborhoods, and the rest of the city will remain such as it is, Marc Steiner notwithstanding.

Gee, Granddad, why can't all these angry people get jobs in manufacturing and steel plants, just like it used to be?

Well, because they all refuse to be business owners, real estate agents, D.C. employees, investment bankers, or waiter/bartenders with three other jobs.

Vote? Why?

Michael Eckenrode

Regarding Crack Fashion

I found some interesting thoughts flowing in the article by Vincent Williams (Social Studies, Aug. 29) that were authentically honest about the uncivil or unmannerly characteristics of some of our black youths, and some of our older adult black males who have a lack of proper wearing dress code. I think black men who wear low-slung pants that expose the dividing line between their butts and cheap-looking plaid cotton drawers are freakish--a shameful display of souls not worth anything.

As an Afrocentric feminist who is not interested in dehumanizing a large population of young black males who have de-Africanized their mental psyches to obtain the idea: "I'm not going to be the white man's nigger, that's why I dress the way I do." I suppose that is one way to get attention for yourself when you can't read the label on your underwear.

As a black people, we have always dressed with great pride. I can't imagine why we as black people want to dress "down" to look unpleasant or offensive unless it's self-hatred or a generational curse.

I admire the way Tiger Woods, CNN anchor Don Lemon, and Barack Obama dress. It's clear to me that they like nice clothes, which is the signature of their "positive" thought process. Truly, I like Barack Obama in a short-sleeved casual shirt. Obama wears the best-looking belts with his pleated pants (expensive but simple in design).

My father, Lonnie Custis, wore the best-looking leather belts when he wore a dark Sunday suit or with everyday clothes. To this day, the first thing I notice about a man is his belt. Then his shoes (polished and no run-down heels). I do not like to see men with cheap belts that curl over the top and holes that could fit a fork (table) finger through it. Clothes are an investment. Treat with care.

When I see young black guys showing their ass in low-slung pants, I think of the poem "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks. It reads:


The pool players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Larnell Custis Butler

Correction: In our primary endorsements ("It's Just Politics," Feature, Sept. 5), we incorrectly identified 1st District Democratic candidate/CP endorsee Donald John Dewar III as John Dewar III. City Paper regrets the error.

Editor's note: It is with great shock and sadness that we report the death of longtime CP contributor Ralph Brave. According to the Sacramento News and Review, a California alt-weekly where Ralph was also a contributor, he died of lung cancer on Sept. 1 in Davis, Calif., at age 54.

Ralph approached CP editors with pitches sparingly, but the news stories and features he wrote rarely failed to fascinate and shed new light, primarily on the ways that science and society and politics meet and often clash. Over recent years, he brought global warming down to an uncomfortably intimate perspective for Marylanders ("Three Feet Higher and Rising," Feature, July 12, 2006), autopsied the state's shortsighted selling off of its energy future to Constellation Energy ("Power Failure," Feature, April 5, 2006), examined the rich potential and bureaucratic stasis that is solar energy in Maryland ("A Place in the Sun," Feature, July 13, 2005), and took area law enforcement (and the governments that fund them) to task for dragging its feet on fully exploiting DNA evidence in solving crimes ("So Much for the Evidence," Feature, Aug. 7, 2002), among other articles.

In addition to being a dogged reporter and researcher and an unfailingly nice guy, Ralph was fueled by a genuine passion for understanding often complex information and issues and then relating them to readers in a way that would not only enlighten, but that would make a difference. Ralph's work speaks for itself, but we can add that he made a difference at CP, and the paper, and the world in general, will be a poorer place without him.

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