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Watch The Skies

Posted 2/27/2008

Although President Bush's recent "stimulus package" has been the topic of much debate and gentle humor (Mr. Wrong, Feb. 13), any conspiracy theorist worth his salt in misinterpretation of coincidental events will tell you that the last time this happened (September 2001, under the aegis of "tax rebate") it was followed quickly by the abomination known as 9/11. And although it's unlikely that a cadre of highly paid and influential economic advisers and prognosticators foresaw the events of Sept. 11, 2001, it seems even more unlikely that they understood the contradiction between doling out spending money one week and closing the country down the next. All this by way of suggesting that little has changed since then, i.e., capacity of highly paid professionals (new package dealers) to recognize contradictions in their work.

Michael Folker

Say Poitier

Vincent Williams' article titled "Sidney Poitier" (Social Studies, Feb. 6) has revealed to me again the deadly trap black men are struggling to prevent themselves from getting caught in: the historical lie that "all black men, college-educated or little-educated, are still disgraceful niggers who will never have the full status of a human being." (The Constitution has a "fixed" statement printed in its historical official paper on the 3/5-of-a-man status of black male slaves, which is still believable in 2008.)

Sidney Poitier had two fights on his hands: first, most American-born blacks do not like most British- or French-sounding black folks from the Caribbean region who are now residing or working in America. Black Caribbean workers in America are working long hours, doing the least job titles in a company, or managing their own small community-based restaurants, clothing stores, or food markets, with the profit small but counting.

The black Caribbean workers in America are hard workers with a strong African-centered family support system. They are patient enough to earn the "slow American dollar" that eventually gives them middle-class status in job markets and community living.

The second fight Sidney Poitier had to deal with was his arrogant black presence, with African features that were not drop-dead blackish-looking or, to European "white folks way of thinking," beautiful or handsome. But Sidney Poitier had a marketable presence of an exotic Negro, which made white folks want to see him in the movies.

Some time ago, I read The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier. It was a good book. Mr. Poitier gave us vivid accounts of how hard he worked to secure the American Dream, despite dealing with "in your face" discrimination and being stereotyped.

Sidney Poitier taught me a valuable lesson in his book. We black folks have got to learn to pick our own fights with white folks and their institutions of modern-day slavery. Otherwise white folks might make you loony in the head and enjoy doing so.

When I was a young girl, I heard white folks say, "Date and marry your own kind." Even some people in my family still believe all white people are "the enemy." Traveling opened my eye to reality. Love is humankind, and it ain't about race, sex, or religion. It's electricity in the soul, easy-moving.

A Bermuda motto: "To read on the days you eat." I'm fixing to make myself a good dinner of chipotle corn-bread muffins, stewed chicken backs, and canned collard greens. I heard recently that some of my relatives in Puerto Rico are passing for white. Oh my!

Larnell Custis Butler

Correction: Last week's photo essay about Baltimore's recycling program ("Loading 600 Tons, Feature) erroneously stated that "all kinds of plastic" can now be recycled. Actually, only bottles and jars marked with numbers 1, 2, 4, and 7 are currently accepted by the processor. Not accepted are plastic plates, flatware, yogurt, margarine tubs, etc. City Paper regrets the error.

Editor's note: The Perry Bible Fellowship's Nicholas Gurewitch recently contacted the papers who run his comic and let us know that he was ending its weekly run "mainly because I want to do other things besides be a cartoonist." You can keep up with Gurewitch's adventures via his website.

Next week: EAT, our annual dining guide.

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