The True Reasons for Malcolmania
I am usually in agreement with Carl T. Rowan in his various exegeses regarding social-racial dilemmas and the pervasiveness of racism in our nation. But I must confess that I find myself diametrically opposed to his Nov. 23 column, "Malcolmania: a Celebration of Rhetoric."
It is clear that Rowan is neither an aficionado of Spike Lee nor Malcolm X. However, I think he is guilty of hyperbole and oversimplification in his analysis of Spike Lee and Malcolm.
Whatever one may think of Spike Lee in terms of his idiosyncratic behavior, there is no denying the palpable reality that he is a gifted, highly creative, astute and knowledgeable film maker who possesses a great deal of cinematographic savvy.
Rowan, I believe, sees him too much as a rank opportunist or a "shucker and jiver."
Spike Lee's remarkable and comprehensive portrayal of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) speaks wondrously for itself.
I believe that Rowan fails to understand Malcolm X's immense appeal to black Americans 14 years after his tragic death in Harlem.
As a practicing social scientist and historian, I believe that Malcolm's appeal and standing in black America rest on the marvelous transformation that occurred in his life in moving from the lowest level of existence to multi-heights in our nation and the world.
The life of Malcolm was a life of always becoming and growing from a hater of white people to a believer after his celebrated pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 in universal brotherhood, amity and human possibilities.
An understanding of this reality demonstrates, unlike Carl T. Rowan's perception, "The partly mythical glorification of Malcolm is not a clear, total blessing for young blacks." Black Americans, especially young black Americans, extol and admire the late Malcolm X not as an apostle of hate and violence, but as an apostle of black manhood/womanhood, dignity and human possibilities.
Ossie Davis captured this spirit best when he eloquently proclaimed in 1965 "that Malcolm was our Black Shining Prince."
amuel L. Banks
Baltimore Neal Peirce should get a grip on reality and recognize as fantasy the suggestion in his column on Nov. 17 that Ross Perot and his supporters come to the aid of President-elect Clinton and "generate national support for shared pain to get the deficit under control and make some vital, overdue investments in the nation's future."
The electorate heard Ross Perot's program of fair share sacrifice and priority of job creation and deficit reduction and yet preferred the Clinton promises of a middle-class tax cut and other goodies for every special interest encountered in his campaign.
Furthermore, Mr. Peirce is implying that Governor Clinton is not up to the challenge of getting the country back on track after running for office with a 200-page economic plan, endorsed by Nobel prize-winning economists, that he promised to put into effect on Day One.
No Justice Cuomo
When I read your editorial on "Mr. Justice Cuomo" (Nov. 8) at first I thought you must be kidding, but then I realized you were seriously advocating Mr. Cuomo's appointment to the Supreme Court.
You think he should be considered because he is a "career
politician," because he would be a former governor who understands "how laws are actually made and executed" and because he is a "pro-choice Democratic officeholder."
These are the exact reasons why he should not be considered for the court. We do not want or need a justice who will legislate rather than interpret our laws, nor one who has already closed his mind on an important issue to come before the court.
No, what this country continues to need and is entitled to from Mr. Clinton is the appointment of those persons who first and foremost possess the highest integrity, the best legal ability and a depth of experience in the law.
You have always espoused these qualifications for the judiciary in the past. Can you honestly apply that standard to Mr. Cuomo?
Finally, your caveat "if he can be confirmed" was right on the money. If Mr. Cuomo is nominated, his confirmation proceedings will make the Bork and Thomas hearings look like a Sunday afternoon tea party.
Let's hope that Mr. Clinton will rethink his brash and premature comment last June and will give "the real people" (incidently, that is all Americans) what they demand and deserve on the Supreme Court, the best person available.
George D. Solter
What the Orioles Should Do
Orioles public relations director Richard Vaughn (letter, Nov. 21) responds well to the charges against the Orioles management which have appeared in The Sun.
In fact, until he mentioned it in his article, I was not aware of the Orioles' sponsorship of minority leagues. I suggest his staff publicize this more visibly.
However, as happened to President Bush in the second candidates' debate when he was asked how the recession affected him personally, Mr. Vaughn did not get, or respond to, the "point." Why are African-Americans not attending Orioles games? He not only failed to dispute the charge, he ignored it.
The Baltimore Orioles owe a considerable portion of fan support during the past 25 years to the regular customers: the blue-collar workers who make up the majority of the metropolitan population and who attended Orioles games regularly.
This population, both white and black, could always count on the economic attractiveness of going to the ballpark with children and enjoying the national pastime. These are the loyal fans who for two generations sat rain or shine in the unsheltered general admission and bleacher areas.
When the newness is gone from Camden Yards and sellouts become less commonplace, these fans will be unable to return with regularity because the seats will be even more of a luxury item than now. The Orioles cannot afford to lose the blue-collar fan or the young fan; gone are the "safety-patrol days."
I recommend that the Orioles seriously consider adding more cheap seats to the present pittance of 1,700. They must realize the demand and need for this or they wouldn't have permitted standing-room-only attendance.
The everyday fans, white and black, will come back if the Orioles would include them in their game plan.
They can do away with the invitation-only picnic area and patch of Oriole Park grass, and replace them with inexpensive single-deck seating without harming the backdrop of downtown, the Bromo Tower and the Camden warehouse.
The Baltimore residential recycling program is intended for the good of the city, but the lack of promotion and public education minimizes its effectiveness.
The program started with the "Turn Blue Into Gold" campaign -- though a catchy phrase, it lacked spark and has since joined the ranks of other soon-forgotten slogans.
Without public education about when pick-ups occur, what is and isn't recyclable, and, most important, why we should recycle, is the effort really worth it?
We need to educate the children, not just in the elementary schools, but in the high schools; we need to educate the seniors, talk to them at their gathering places; we need to educate through our churches, our businesses, and our community associations.
To do this, it takes real dedication on behalf of the city, not just from those in the recycling offices and city residents, but by everyone in the solid waste organization, from the very top to the managers to the workers on the streets.
What the public needs to know is that it is cheaper to recycle than to burn our trash; that businesses that use recyclables to produce consumer goods are lacking in Baltimore even though we have a regular flow of recyclables; and that these recycling businesses create jobs.
What can we do? Recycle, educate our families and neighbors and encourage our elected officials (at all levels) to create incentives to encourage recycling businesses to locate here in Charm City.
I suggest that we change the city's current "trash" slogan to "It's Your Baltimore, Don't Trash It -- Recycle It!!"
Kelley A. Ray
As someone who was raised in the Episcopal Church, I applaud the Church of England's recent decision to ordain women to the priesthood. It is an action that is long overdue.
As someone who converted to Roman Catholicism 3 1/2 years ago, I am disappointed -- but not surprised -- by the Vatican's response to this move. It is truly unfortunate if this inclusion of women serves as an obstacle to a reconciliation between the Anglican and Roman churches.
I'm certainly not a biblical scholar, but to use as justification for barring women from the priesthood the assertion that Christ only chose men as his apostles is a clear example of why the Bible should not be interpreted literally.
It is highly probable that the reason why only men were chosen has more to do with the culture in which Jesus lived than with any intentional exclusion of women.
As a Catholic priest I know said recently, if we adhere to Jesus' criteria in determining who can serve as priests, then only Jewish men can be ordained.
Susan Hughes Gray