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Leo The Lyin'

Posted 7/2/2008

I wasn't going to, but I couldn't help myself: Leo Williams, you, sir, are an idiot ("Barack Obama Not the President for Black or White," The Mail, June 25). For one, Barack Obama has never declared himself "leader of all disenfranchised black people," or has been anointed such proclaimed leader. That would amount to you saying that George Bush Jr.--who failed every business attempt he made, and was called stupid by Reagan--means that all the white Texans and Americans he has "led" are as stupid and flush with cash as he is!

You would have us believe McCain, a man that relies on his baby momma's money (not the ex-model chick he dumped and divorced when he came home from Nam, because she got a little too "plump and jiggly" for his taste), is the self-proclaimed leader of all white people, and that through his sterling example, all white people are doing rich as his old girl? None of them are bothered by $4 gas? None of them are bothered with shrinking equity and foreclosures? None of them are fretting about education costs, job security, retirement, food costs, childcare, or health care? Yeah, all white people are rich and doing lovely, because John McCain, Dick, and George have taught them everything they know about how to stick it to the market! You sir, are an idiot.

It is not the job of any one man, not even Jesus Christ himself (if such a man existed), to teach entire groups of people how to be fiscally or morally responsible. If God can't scare people, with the promise of eternal damnation and hell, to be better men and women, no one man can do it either. Yeah, black people generate lots of cash, and they blow it. But don't you dare sit back, you armchair politician, thinking that white leadership has insulated all white people from poverty, crime, and a host of other pitfalls black Americans suffer. We are all hurting together, and it just so happens the Republican Machine doesn't have anything to offer in the form of "inspiration" or knowledge when it comes to the economy. (By McCain's own admission, he doesn't understand economics--he is just smart enough to marry rich--and how does that benefit all white people?) How dare you try to give Obama a task that is not applied to white politicians, that he must lift black people out of poverty--all of them--before he be worthy enough to lead white people? More than that, why is he just a "black" man? Why discount the fact that 50 percent of him is white! Or are you of the era where the one-drop rule still applies? I am betting, from your flawed and baseless analysis of the upcoming election (you can't be racist if you work for Dionne Warwick can you?), that you are of a breed that is fast filling nursing homes and graveyards. None too soon--you don't have a clue that one day we will all simply be "American"! Get used to it.

Wallace Farmer

After reading the hateful and haltingly racist letter from reader Leo Williams, I am even more convinced that race relations have much farther to go in the United States. Every blog online has these "secret racists" venting their bigotry--I've never seen such hate! This regular Mail contributor has shown himself to be one whose letters I will silently boycott from this point on--do you hear me Williams?!

I often think to myself, "These racists are some black person's co-worker or boss," maybe even someone's doctor or accountant. It's ironic that so many people in the United States say that they are Christians and follow Jesus, yet hatred is so plentiful and surprisingly vocal. We march for abortion, GREEN, Darfur, Tibet, and everything else. The new renaissance will orient itself to the causes of human equity.

Certainly Obama-watching has become a national pastime, and the vision of what he represents to American culture and politics reformatively is something never seen before. Obama has it together. With all of this novelty usually comes jealousy and idiotic cries for attention like the one from Williams' silly pie-hole.

Williams, you are really a silly person, because first you say "[Barack Obama] who comes from a race of people who don't know how to utilize the free-enterprise system for their own welfare," then you say "However, they still depend on white America for almost everything they desire or need" in the same paragraph. You can't even drink your own silly racist Kool-Aid! Shame on City Paper for publishing such an nonsensical piece of bigotry!

People like you, Williams, will never change. The only thing that will wipe away hatred in America is time. Time and new babies born. I have never benefited or relied on "white America" for anything. Do you know a rich white person who is going to give me money or something Mr. Williams? Of course you don't--so just shut up! And in response to your other statement regarding Obama "white Americans who can show him how the free-enterprise system works for them," I have my own business, I live a clean life. I'm a good person, anyone can make it in America. It's not about what color you are.

As for your election prediction, I've given $75 to the Barack Obama campaign in June. (My goal is $100 per month between now and the election.) I hope it helps our worthy candidate. I'm "utilizing the free enterprise system for my own welfare" and the welfare of all Americans, thank you very much.

Billy Wilkins

Re: The History of Palestine

I want to reply to the discussion on Palestine and Palestinians ("Actually, Palestinians and Palestine are Real," The Mail, June 25).

The facts are as follows:

1) The land on either side of the Jordan river was originally known as Canaan, later the Land of Israel. It became known as "Terra Palestina" in about 100 AD. The Romans renamed the land "Terra Palestina" after the arch enemy of the Jews, the Philistines, as revenge for the Jewish revolt in which the Romans had incurred enormous losses.

2) The Arabs do not have an Arabic word for that land. "Filastin," which is what they call it in Arabic, is the Arabized version of the Latin "Palestine."

3) The "Palestinians" of today are really Arab Muslim Palestinians. They are only one of many ethnic groups that have always inhabited that land. The Orthodox Christians have lived in Palestine longer than the Arab Muslims, for example.

4) Until 632 A.D., there was not a single Arab Muslim anywhere but the Arabian peninsula. In that year, the second caliph, Umar, sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to lead an army into Palestine and occupy it with military force, among many other lands that were occupied.

5) The Palestinian Arab Muslims of today, "Palestinians," are not related to the ancient Philistines. That race disappeared a long time ago. The Palestinians of today are Palestinian Arab Muslims, and should be referred to as such. There are also Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Arab Christians, and many other groups. It is not fair for the Palestinian Arab Muslims to hijack the name "Palestinians."

6) There have always been Jews continuously living in Palestine, from about 1800 B.C. to today.

7) In 1948, Arab countries expelled over 900,000 Jews and stole all of their property. Surely that deserves as much discussion as the loss of Arab property in Palestine.

8) The country of Jordan was artificially created in 1927 by the British. The royal family of Jordan is from Arabia. Jordan entirely sits on Palestine. Virtually every square inch of Jordan is actually Palestine. Seventy percent of its population is Palestinian Arab Muslim. But no one complains about the Hashemite family's occupation of Eastern Palestine.

My point is: Things are not as black and white as some would like to paint it. The Arab Muslims themselves arrived in Palestine in 632 by means of a military occupation. Much more Jewish land was outright stolen by Arab Muslims in the 1900s, then vice versa. There is currently an Arab Muslim state sitting on four-fifth's of Palestine called Jordan.

If we want to have a civil discussion of the issues, let us at least base the discussion on fact.

Avraham Sonenthal

Re: The History of Chase Brexton

I am writing to comment on the interesting and generally accurate article about the Chase Brexton Clinic ("Lifeline," Feature, June 18). As a founding member of the Baltimore Gay Alliance and Gay Community Center of Baltimore, I was chair of the center's Health Committee that worked with the city Health Department and Johns Hopkins post-doctoral fellow Dr. Roger Enlow in establishing the Gay Clinic. I would like to comment on several of the points made about the clinic's history:

There is no dispute that the Baltimore Gay Alliance started in 1975, not in the 1960s. The Gay Clinic began operations in May 1978 and, therefore, Chase Brexton is 30, not 40 years old. (Editor's note: We ran a correction on this point in last week's mail.)

The clinic was fortunate to have two visionary medical directors in the early years--Dr. Enlow, and when he left to become the first director of gay health for the city of New York, Dr. Bernie Branson.

In 1982, Dr. Branson left the clinic out of concern that the Community Center was not moving quickly enough on a number of issues, and founded HERO. Thus the two primary providers of services to people with HIV had their roots in the center's clinic.

In establishing the Gay Clinic, the emphasis was on gay. After centuries of invisibility many of us were determined to openly and unapologetically provide services to our community. The medical professionals involved risked their careers and others could lose their jobs. The clinic was a political statement as much as a provider of health services and education.

Sometime in late 1983 or early 1984, clinic staff rejected a proposal to change its name to Chase Brexton. Sadly, the same proposal carried the day several years later; by then all of the clinic's founders had moved on to other endeavors. Some of us were appalled that the clinic would adopt a closeted name. I, for one, was concerned that the clinic would lose its singular focus on the gay community, and subsequent events proved this concern well-founded.

I agree with former Chase Brexton Board President, Dr. Merle McCann, that Chase Brexton was "the best present the gay community gave to the city of Baltimore." But it was a gift that never should have been made. During the 1988 battle over the clinic's continued association with the gay center, careerist members of the clinic staff and some AIDS activists insisted that continued association with an openly gay 501(c)(3) organization would cost lives in lost federal grants. Rather than fight head-on the homophobic Reagan administration and its Department of Health and Human Services, after a vicious fight, the gay center's members copped out and voted for the clinic to become a separate corporation.

I am delighted that Chase Brexton is thriving as a unique provider of health services to the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland. However, I have no illusion that the decision to break away from the Gay Community Center was a plus for the community.

Jim Becker

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