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Below you'll find the latest letters from YOU.

Kudos, brickbats, you'll find it all right here.

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Who knew so many people could even find this Web magazine?

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From our Mailbag 11/15/02 - 11/29/02

Text Graphic: 'Vox Populi - YOU Again! '.

by YOU

THE WORLD - FromTracy, (No City Provided), USA:

SUBJECT: your rebuttal to Steele


I have to say I have not come to a conclusion/position on blacks individualism or the lack therefore. I looked at our black people in the news to the entertainment world not to mentioned around me and in my family and I see strong sense of individuality (with the lack of accountablitiy). And I agree to a certain point with you about blacks still fighting for their civil rights yet I comprehend Steele's article on, "The age of white guilt and the disapperance of the black individual". What I am thinking through is equality and how that looks for "us" in this world where humanity is of little regards. Our American society is mortally debacle. So, I think issues as I am responsing to you on are just symptons of our society animalizing mankind (i.e. survival of the fitness, evolution theories, matter vs. material). Our history and other countries' history speak in support of this idea

So this is my take. Thank you for a good rebuttal to Steele.


From "New Yort", (No City Provided,) USA:

hey ... took me a while to actually realize that some people in this world have more time on their hands than i do. thank you for posting SHITPURSE.

-New Yort-

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It never ceases to amaze me how far people will trawl back in this magazine! When did I write that one? January? Dude!

From Ed C., Bloomfield, MI, USA:

SUBJECT: Shelby Steele - PArt II

"Okay, my brother, here's the short response to your first challenge: I come over to your house and kidnap your wife, your son and your daughter. I take them over to my place and have them build my house, raise my crops and my children. Hell, I don't have to pay them jack. They're my prisoners in a country that doesn't even speak their language. I've got it made! One day I wake up with pangs of conscience, years later, and tell their descendents, "Gee, sorry about that. It's a big world out there and you can get by I'm sure. Good luck." I chase them away from my place at gunpoint. "

Dear Raheem:

The above argument, used tiredly in every freakin article you have written on reparation and black/white disparities, CONTINUES to avoid these salient points:

  1. "Descendants" - you may be a descendant of slaves, but YOU, yourself, weren't a slave. Basically you are hangin on to a "grudge", based upon how badly you "think" your great-great-grandparents were treated. And even if they were treated bad, why would YOU be entitled to anything from it? That was their life, with all the good and bad in it. Chances are, if those relatives had been compensated at the time, they would have spent the money long before you were a gleam in anyone's eye, and you would STILL be a dock worker. 
  2. "One day I wake up with pangs of conscience, years later, and tell their descendents, "Gee, sorry about that." Really missed it on this one."
Be for real: The "I" people didn't wake up one day, it was THEIR descendants(and even more so people who weren't even descendents of slaveowners)who woke up and said,"shit, our/their ancestors were so cruel and fucked up, took these people slaves, made money off them, and then they went and blew all the money. Let's set these people free, and quit trying to support them and us off a failing agricultural society, and then do our darndest to make them earn a living starting from zip,,just like we have had to since grandpa blew all his slave "winnings". 

If YOUR brother, killed MY brother, I wouldn't kill You or his children in retaliation - what would be the point? If my daddy(or brother) owed your daddy money, you can't expect ME to pay the bill. I am not my brother's keeper. If anything, your article article and it's discussions points out how YOU still view "white folks" as a group, not individuals with their own identities,debt and guilts. Group guilt, group debt? Clearly define the debt and the debtors and you might be able to make a case. Be glad and proud that your ancestors were able to make this country the strong, proud, bitchy nation it is.

SHelby Steele - I.M.H.O. he has his head up his ass on the "group identity" issue, but hey, it seems to be a bit contagious. Nobody wants to think outside the group[box] ;o)

Peace Be With You,

RAHEEM RESPONDS: E.C. - Let's be clear about one thing at the outset: Despite the SUBJECT line of your e-mail, your response has NOTHING to do with either Shelby Steele's article or my own response to it. Your last paragraph says as much, in its own muddled way.

You have your own axe to grind, E.C., and that axe is about Black people not deserving reparations. Now that we are clear on that, let's get to your thesis and its "salient" points.

On Number One: You seem to miss, sir, that my own arguments have to do not only with slavery itself but the LEGACY of slavery. Things like the institutionalized racism that followed the Emancipation Proclamation like the Jim Crowe laws, Brown v. Board of Education, the fight over bussing, the new fight over Affirmative Action, *consciously* reducing the impact of the Black vote by rigging the "Justice" system to deprive large numbers of black males of the vote, etc. Trying to separate these on-going issues from slavery, sir, is like trying to separate an egg from the chicken that laid it. I would have thought you were smart enough to see that, but I guess I was being too generous over the years.

Secondly, on your first issue, as I have pointed out to you many times before and will CONTINUE to point out: Descendents do indeed bear responsibility. The case of the Swiss and Germans giving reparations for acts committed by their ancestors would bear me out in any international court of law. That white Americans are somehow separated from recognized principles of international law doesn't wash, E.C. Face it.

Finally, it's presumptuous in the extreme of you to assume what my people would have done had they been given that original promised 40 acres and a mule. Is that your backhanded way of saying that Black people are "lazy and shiftless" and would have lost the money anyway? You better ask somebody!

On Number Two: Grab a history book sometime, E.C. The economy of the South was not "failing" at the time. On cotton exports alone it was doing well enough that they could establish their own separate currency and the British government was hedging its bets on who would win that war and supplying the South with arms and money by breaking the Union blockade. Why? The Brits weren't sure that secession wouldn't succeed and knew a booming economy when they saw one. Like Steele, you find it convenient to avoid the points of history that don't fit your argument.

You ever heard the world "vendetta," E.C? A lot of Italian Americans came over to this here country to redress blood vendettas. You kill my brother, yeah, hell yeah, I'm a Sicilian and I kill you and maybe your whole family, too. That how it worked. Even if it meant crossing a damned ocean to do so. It was a matter of Honor --- just like reparations.

And again, E.C., there is such a thing a group guilt. Ask the Germans.

Peace out.

From Nathaniel L., New Orleans, LA, USA:

SUBJECT: my glass house


My name is Nathaniel ... and i live in New Orleans also. I stumbled across your webpage and was absolutely floored by the style and content of your writing.

It is so refreshing to hear the voice of passionate and articulate people. I cannot believe the similarities in our views of humanity, politics, and sensation (particularly in regards to and experiences with women). It is like reading my own thoughts aptly depicted through the words of another, providing some kind of silent confirmation and familiarity.

The way I stumbled across your website was through a google word search for Linnzi Zaorski. I had seen various flyers and such for her band at El Matador, and I have never seen a show of theirs. The only reason that it would otherwise interest me is : I went to high school with someone with that EXACT name ... and i would find it very unlikely that there are 2 or more people wandering this earth with that particular name. While we were not close friends ... we were drama students together and had many of the same running buddies and cohorts. I remember a group of us would do karaoke at the Queen restaurant ... who would have known it was practice for a later singing career??

I would find it absolutely mind boggling if we were here in the same city, 10 years and hundreds of miles removed from where we went to high school together. If you see her, tell her Nathaniel L. from Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport, sends his regards.

Thank you and keep up the good work. You do a fantastic job of summarizing this wonderful city and more importantly - life in general.



Thanks for the kind words. I'll certainly pass your good wishes on to Linnzi. Her band also performs at The Spotted Cat, where I bartend, on Tuesdays. You should drop by.


From Stephanie J. (No City Provided), IN, USA:


Hello I am an 11th grade student from Indiana and I am doing a research paper on Italian immagrants, migrating to the United States, and their lives. If you have, or know of someone who might have, any information about that subject I would be greatful to see it. If so just Email it to

Thank You,

ROD RESPONDS: Stephanie,

Thanks for visiting G21 and for writing. I'll share your request with our readers and writers when we next update the magazine on 2 December on our "Vox Populi" page.


From Gregory Z., (No City Provided,) USA:

SUBJECT: Binyavanga Wainaina

To whom it may concern,

My name is Gregory Zucker, I am the Managing Editor of an online journal called Logos ( I am writing to find out how I can get in touch with Binyavanga Wainaina. I'd like to use his work in Logos. Thank-you very much.

Gregory Z

Sue M., (No City Provided), CANADA:

SUBJECT: Shelby Steele Response

Just a couple of q's - what about women? in your response the only time you mention women and getting their rights is when you say "wives of billionaire Blacks enjoying mimosas with the Ladies Who Lunch" - sounds pretty crap to me.

please try to not perpetuate prejudice while you are doing a pretty good job of railing against it. it would be so much easier to fight all the battles at once and not have to deal with so much sexism after racism.

and given that it is a long way off - when will the world be ready to "turn off" the "equalizers", for both racial minorities in most fields and women in many?

Steele may be premature with his points but at what point do people get to stop wondering if they deserved their position? or maybe its just a concern in an academic environment because the work done is constantly being reviewed by "peers" and the mean spirited competition is rampant.

I don't think its a solution to have people doubt their value and wonder if they merit their position - we don't need a bunch of self-doubting apologetic people paving the way. the quotas etc. will have to do for now but there must be a better way.



Like Mr. Ed. above, you came with your own axe to grind. I understand having an axe, but tell me something: DO YOU EXPECT EVERY SINGLE COLUMNIST IN THE WORLD TO COVER EVERY SINGLE ISSUE -- or just me?

I never said I'm supposed to write for Black people, women, gays, Irishmen, Native Americans, yatta-yatta-yatta. You want to be the PC Ecumenical Writer Extraordinaire, send an e-mail to our Esteemed Editor. I don't want that job. You can have it.

Guess what? I'll still address your questions.

As to your first objection, I know my woman, Tanya, would LOVE to be a "Lady Who Lunches" instead of having to help bring home the bacon every day. That's her. That may not be you. I hope you work hard the rest of your life, but some of us think we have better things to do.

Your second point, beginning with "Steele may be premature..." escapes me completely, my Canadian friend. Too much brew that night?
Write Rod the next time instead of me. He's understands the incoherent.

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