Letters

Reading, writing, ‘rithmetic, and guns

RE: “My First Kalashnikov

05/26/00

I think that school training is a wonderful idea. Everyone needs to know about weaponry. The reality is that it’s a rough world, and that knowledge could prove useful. Of course, if more parents would teach their kids about firearms — proper and safe use and when to use them — it would go a long way in crime and accident prevention, basically everything the liberals are always wanting to pass a new law about.

Jesse Horn

 



A mind is a terrible thing to lose…

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

05/26/00

It remains beyond my understanding how anyone could truly believe that ending affirmative action is the perfect way to level the socioeconomic playing field for people of color. I commend Michele Landis for not being afraid to speak with conviction about this issue. For Mr. Connerly I have just one question … Brothah, have you lost your mind?

Laila Karima



Why affirmative action? The cold trail…

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

05/25/00

While “equality” is a nice ideal, it has yet to be achieved. I always thought affirmative action was created because we recognized that over many generations, white families benefitted from the spoils that were stolen from African families. Today, many whites who are better-off believe it is the result of our hard work, or our ancestors’ hard work. Of course our ancestors worked hard, but they got much richer still from slavery. This economic advancement gets passed down through generations and becomes invisible.

Many museums today are finding that they “own” articles stolen from Jews 50 years ago. What happens after 200 years? The trail becomes cold. The descendants of whites from that time period inherited wealth produced by slaves, as well as the social privilege that came with their skin color. The harder work of slaves gave slaves nothing to pass on to their descendents except a skin color that would continue to shut them out of any chance for economic improvement for generations. Surely affirmative action was never really a program to give “preference” to less qualified citizens, but was a tiny effort to balance great historical wrongs. I suggest the whining whites, as well as the Wards of our land, just get over it and wake up.

C. Meredith



A cultural shopping disorder?

RE: “Selling the Cure for Shopaholism

05/25/00

Great and timely article! Yes, this is a real disorder, the most difficult of all obsessive-compulsive disorders to treat, and the general practitioner doctors don’t care.

But as far as research goes — a pill designed to treat obsessive-compulsive shopping? What a joke! This shopping behavior should be treated as just another symptom of something being out of kilter with a person, and nothing more.

I suspect that, like anorexia, this disorder hits women in far greater numbers than men due to the Wall Street commercialism that is heavily targeted at women. No doubt a percentage of the world’s population has a propensity toward complusive disorders in the first place, but it takes the right environment to bring it out. Unfortunately, our materalistic culture is ripe for this kind of disorder.

Vikki
San Diego, CA



More from Ward Connerly

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

This letter is in response to an earlier exchange between Ward Connerly and author Michele Landis.

05/24/00

One thing that I have learned about some of those who endorse race preferences is that lying or not feeling the need to make an effort to substantiate their reckless claims seems to go with the territory. Such is the case with this young woman whose sole claim to fame seems to be a total disregard for civility. I actually don’t care whether she rejoices in being rude and misbehaved — apparently, nothing can change that. What concerns me is the apparent willingness of MoJo to provide fledgling “writers” such as her with a forum to propagate misinformation.

Once again, not one applicant who would have been eligible for admission to the University of California prior to the elimination of race preferences was denied admission after the elimination of race preferences. This fact is available for the world to see, so why can’t this woman get it right? The reason is that she doesn’t want to.

Fourteen black students were admitted to Boalt Hall after preferences were banned. None enrolled from this pool, but one enrolled from a prior year’s admission pool. Those students admitted, but who did not enroll, elected to go to Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, UCLA, and other law schools that offered better financial packages. If she can’t be trusted to get this simple fact right, MoJo, aren’t you the least bit concerned about the integrity of everything else she writes for you?

No “rug was yanked” from under a generation of black and Latino students denying them the “opportunity to go to college.” We have 106 community colleges in California, 23 state universities, and eight UC campuses. Anyone who wants to go to college has ample opportunity to do so, as is fully documented in “Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences.” Yet, she has the gall to say that the children and grandchildren of this generation will be “denied the opportunity to get an education.” Such a reckless claim is indicative of 95 percent of what she has written.

This issue revolves around the question of whether black and Latino students should be given the right of first refusal to attend Berkeley and UCLA. Should they be given extra points and have lower academic requirements applied to them as compared to Asian and white students? I and the overwhelming majority of Americans believe the answer is no.

Finally, my “bruised ego” has endured far more substantial punches than this doctoral fellow is able to deliver. As Lincoln once said, “It is difficult to make a man miserable when he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the Great God who made him.”

Ward Connerly



The dumbest argument

RE: “Prisoners of the Census

05/24/00

Where exactly do prisoners live? If you wanted to write to one, what would be his address? Is Ms. Huling suggesting that they should be counted at their last known residences? Is that valid for the rest of us?

Help me understand. Should I be counted as living in the country because most people of Scotch-Irish ancestry reside there? This is without a doubt one of the dumbest arguments for anything that I have ever read. What about the sentence that reads:

Inner-city communities, from which large numbers of prisoner bodies are snatched, will lose out.
Snatched? Are you kidding me? Oh yeah … the government has a mind-control ray that causes inner-city residents to commit crimes so then they can be “snatched” in the wee hours of the night and brought to rural prisons. Give me a well-deserved break. How can you print such unadulterated tripe? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Kenneth R. Lynch
Atlanta, Ga.



Smoke a joint, you’re off the ballot

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

05/24/00

The stupidity of the legislators that come up with this kind of crock amazes me. Why single out innocuous drug offenders as unworthy of federal help? lf a similar stipulation were applied to current public office holders — smoke a joint, be ineligible for office — by their own admissions, many would be out on the streets and required to make an honest living.

Michael Greene



Crack a Bud, lose your loan?

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

05/23/00

I think a law banning students with a drug conviction from getting financial aid is ludicrous. How about those convicted of driving under the influence — do they get penalized too? Where will this all end? Maybe all those who are convicted of smoking a joint shoud opt for prison time and get their degrees in jail.

Patti



05/23/00

As usual the Republicans are trying yet another tactic to keep the people down. This is another way for them to deny education to those that can’t afford it. They seek to keep the people ignorant, and thereby economically disadvantaged, from a lack of education. A college education is a right, not a privilege.

Carl Schmid



05/23/00

Rep. Souder is an ass! These so-called representatives of the people should spend their time and efforts on legitimate problems that our country faces: health coverage for all, protecting the environment, lowering the national debt, etc. Shades of “1984”! Big Brother is looking over our shoulders. Enough!!

Ed Goldich
Florida



Ready, boys? Hold it like this and point …

RE: “My First Kalashnikov

05/23/00

Seems like a pretty good idea to me. I think that providing basic weapons training in American schools — as it once was not so long ago — would be beneficial as well. Like sex, firearms have an almost irresistible attraction, especially for boys. Teaching some basic facts and some of the moral and ethical lessons that go along with the practical and mechanical aspects of sex and firearms would better prepare the kids for life in the real world.

Demystifying firearms and providing practical training would go a long way towards making a kid less likely to experiment on their own and without adult supervision. As with sex this training should ideally come from home. But home provides very little in the way of training anymore, so the schools get to pick up the slack.

When I went to school, many high schools had rifle teams, sometimes as part of Junior ROTC, and sometimes not. Kids could learn about firearms in a safe, well supervised environment. Very few of the kids I knew who had that sort of exposure went on to do drive-bys or snipe at their peers.

James C. Fraser-Paige
California LEO, Ret.



Ward Connerly writes back

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

05/22/00

I assume that Michele Landis doesn’t like my book, “Creating Equal.” Moreover, I guess she doesn’t like me much either. That is certainly her right. I wish, however, that she had not let her knack for ridicule and her anger get the better of her obligation to be fair and accurate.

First, I do not want to “end all affirmative action,” nor have I supported efforts that resulted in “slamming the doors of opportunity in the faces of millions of ‘people of color’ in the nation’s most populous state.” To the contrary, I have been a leading force in California, even according to some of my critics, in promoting the expansion of need-based outreach programs that are designed to benefit low-income students of all “races” in California’s underperfoming elementary, middle, and high schools.

Second, I was not “panic stricken” upon discovering that “Creating Equal” was not readily accessible in B. Dalton’s Bookstore when I visited that store a few weeks ago. I quietly asked a sales clerk whether the book was in stock.

Third, “Creating Equal” was not placed in the African American Interest section because of its “topic,” namely race, as Ms. Landis states. My book is about treating all people with dignity and respect as equals. How is this a “topic” of unique interest to “African Americans?” No! “Creating Equal” was placed in the African American Interest section because of the color of my skin, because of the “one drop of blood” rule, and because B. Dalton Bookstore presumed that only “African Americans” would have an interest in my book.

Fourth, why is it necessary to demean, ridicule, and call those with whom we disagree names? I always try to avoid doing so, even when the provocation from those such as Ms. Landis clearly warrants such retaliation.

Finally, I will let the readers decide whether “Creating Equal” has any merit. If they conclude that it does not, I will still sleep well at night knowing that I gave it my best shot in trying to reach other Americans to share my perspective on what we can do to get beyond this scar of race in our nation.

Ward Connerly




Michele Landis responds:

I never doubted for a minute that Ward Connerly sleeps well at night. Not so, I am certain, for the black and Latino parents in California and elsewhere whose children are now, thanks to Connerly, unable to get into college.

In the first year after Connerly tanked the University of California’s affirmative action program, the flagship Berkeley campus’s Boalt Law School admitted exactly one black student. Actually, it admitted zero black students — the one enrolled black student had been admitted the prior year and had deferred his admission. He was widely quoted as saying that had he known that he would be all alone he would have gone elsewhere. The following year, the African American Law and Policy Report, one of only three black law reviews in the country, was forced to fold despite its staff’s heroic efforts to keep it afloat.

Sure, improving elementary and secondary education is a great idea. But yanking the rug out from under an entire generation of minority college students before the first tiny improvement in public schools occurs is not only morally bankrupt, it will deprive the black and Latino communities of the professional class that is politically necessary to sustain any meaningful change in public education. Thus, Connerly has not only slammed the door on these young adults, he has boarded it up and padlocked it so that even their children and grandchildren will not be able to squeeze through.

But these grim facts are of no concern to Connerly, for whom the real issue has always been his own bruised ego. Ward Connerly perfectly exemplifies what is wrong with the recent buzz for “civility” in public discourse. He ran a ruthless campaign that inflicted irreparable injury on thousands of people, then grandly complains that other people aren’t being very nice to him. In his moral economy, it is worse to be called an Uncle Tom than to be denied the chance to go to college or get a decent job.



Reader backs Connerly

RE: “Ward Connerly’s Newest Whine

05/22/00

When whites are allowed benefits based on their racial profile, it is called racism, yet the reverse is “affirmative action.” The Constitution makes no exception for skin color. There can be exceptions based on economic opportunity, which Connerly suggests, but the left wing ignores this possibility. Affirmative action suggests that black people are too stupid to achieve anything on their own. The current enrollment at the University of California at Berkeley suggests affirmative action is not needed, only an equal playing field.

Dean La Chapelle



“Healthy” learning deprivation

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

05/22/00

If the government is really so concerned about a “healthier learning environment,” why not prevent convicted rapists or murderers from having access to schools instead of small-time drug offenders? The government seems more concerned with painting a negative picture of anyone who does drugs. The truth is that the people I know who either do or have done drugs are just normal, responsible people. I admit I am one of those “evil people” who smoked pot when I was younger. I guess I completely failed to follow through by robbing banks and murdering children.

Tami



Guns for tots a great idea

RE: “My First Kalashnikov

05/22/00

Regarding your story, “My First Kalashnikov,” it seems to me the Russian plan is an intelligent way to teach young people respect for firearms and weaponry. I approve, and I wonder what gun control advocates would think of this plan being mandated in the US.

Randy Burns



05/22/00

I had a friend who went through the earlier version [of this Russian program] in Kiev in the late 1960s. He felt it was good training that helped students to relax and focus on what was important. It is far better than the mayhem I see in many Chicago-area schools. Mr. Putin’s efforts to put his house in order are to be applauded. In the long term, it is to our benefit that he get control across the board before the system collapses. Better to have a well-trained, restrained enemy than a reckless friend who disregards all common sense in the pursuit of profit and pleasure.

Sarge the Poet