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-- Charles Stephens, Atlanta
A Legacy Gone Awry?
Since moving to Atlanta, I have found myself replaying the great speeches I grew up listening to from Dr. King and Malcolm, as well as the ones I read from Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglass and George Washington Carver, to name a few. And for the life of me I can't locate in any of them this "entitlement mentality" that we are currently experiencing and have been for the last 30 years (Rant, "Mayhem's Martyrs," April 25). I have traveled all over the country and nowhere have I seen it to the degree that I have here in Atlanta.
Now before I go any further, let me state that this is not a "let's beat up on Atlanta" letter from some northern newcomer. But, by the same token I have to be honest in my opinion of what I have experienced.
This "entitlement mentality" I am speaking of runs from top to bottom. From the homeless guy in the park that honestly feels like not only I, but the world owes him money or cigarettes because of bad life choices that he has made to the "community leaders" who genuinely believe that "whites" are the root of all their problems and owe them.
If we are to ever progress and succeed, as a community there must come a day when we get honest with ourselves and with the world. For you conspiracy buffs (the CIA may be flying "crack cocaine" into the country) but the pushers I pass everyday don't look like they're working for the "Agency". We have to acknowledge the fact that we are poisoning our brothers and sisters. We have to acknowledge the fact that we continue to have children out of wedlock and then desert them and not support the mothers or the children. How can we expect God to elevate our unrighteousness over another group's unrighteousness? Unrighteousness is all the same to God!
Now I'm no civil rights pioneer, but my recollections of those that were was that the message and the legacies were my "entitlement" is an equal opportunity to compete. Let's remember the true message and legacy of those great leaders and move away from this everybody owes me "entitlement mentality." It is time we begin to elevate ourselves by elevating our brothers. There are people in our community that have acquired a great deal of wealth and power from the struggle and hardships of others. Isn't it time they begin to give something back to the community? Are we due considerations for past injustices by the majority community? Of course we are, but isn't it time we began to also invest in our community and ourselves too? I just hope we haven't sold our souls for a chicken sandwich.
-- Rodney Knott, Forest Park
No justice, no peace
There is nothing that upsets me more than people who make every attempt to spin the facts in denial of the racism in this country.
Your "Think Tank" article is a case in point (Rant, "Mayhem's Martyrs," April 25). It stinks of mendacity from beginning to end. The audacity to make the statement "so do we believe a man sworn to uphold the law ..." as if his oath necessarily means anything.
The New York men sworn to uphold the law put a plunger up the rectum of Louima and excessively shot to death Diallo and content of the victims' character, didn't have a blame thing to do with it. And I have yet to ever hear of any such atrocity happening to anyone white. Los Angeles is facing the possibility of bankruptcy due to the amount of widespread corruption by men sworn to uphold the law.
Even when there is live videotaped evidence as was the case with Rodney King, we always seem to have a spin master telling us not to rush the judgment until the perpetrators have finished their cover-up investigation.
The criminal justice system in this country is racism in action on a daily basis and there is a never depleted supply of examples week after week. You may choose not to cover these facts in your paper or spin doctor them as you will, but there are those of us who know the truth. Having been a court clerk, I know what are the facts in this case of U.S.A. racism and content of character justice.
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