Dominique Dawes won five gold medals in the National Gymnastics Championships.
A short article appeared on the third page of the sports section.
If this young lady had been white, her picture would have graced the first page of that section (or maybe the front page).
What a burden we people of color must bear!
$Patricia Spaulding Taylor
Leave Cuba Alone
Can anyone tell me what Fidel Castro has done to harm this country?
L Has he several times attempted to assassinate our president?
Has he ever invaded this country, kept a small portion of it as a stronghold, and then attempted another invasion?
Is he even now threatening to invade at a moment's notice?
Has he imposed an ever-increasing deadly embargo against this country, thus strangling our economy?
Does he blast his propaganda by radio over our land, inciting the people to discontent and emigration?
No. These are all things which the U.S. has done or is doing to him and to Cuba.
Isn't it amazing how successful our propaganda is -- apparently even more so in this country than in Cuba? It is able to convince us that Castro is the one who is the monster.
Does he have a modified Communist regime in a hemisphere of capitalists? Yes, but so what? Is that harming us in any way?
As for Castro's human rights violations, they are certainly no worse than those of Israel, which we support to the hilt.
We have, through our strangling embargo, made life in Cuba so tough that many Cubans are fleeing. Previously it was primarily the rich who wanted to leave, but now others must follow in order to survive.
Once we have gotten rid of Castro, all the porno, gambling, and other "sin" activities of businessmen in the "invisible international cartel of finance and power" can take up as before in Cuba.
But is this goal something that you would think worthy enough to starve Cubans for, and perhaps risk lives in an invasion? I hope not.
What kind of an elected official characterizes large groups of people whom he has never met, or even is certain actually exists, as requiring instructions in cleanliness and honesty?
Is this perhaps the sign of a guilty conscience? Or perhaps a sign of the contempt he holds for the public in general, the people who thought enough of him to keep him in some sort of office for years?
Maybe Lou DePazzo has just been working too hard and needs a few years off to get his head back together.
Gary A. Kerner
Faced with problems of political collapse and economic regression, how realistic is the call for African unity written by A. R .M. Babu (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 30)?
Nations like Uganda, Somalia and Rwanda have not prevented tribal warfare from breaking out within their borders. Has a larger nation like Nigeria, with even more tribal factions, really done much better?
As Mr. Babu knows, even modest efforts like the proposed East African Federation have not been accepted by those rulers whom he rightly castigates for having failed to build on the colonial legacy which provided Africa with the right tools for development, even if they have not been properly used since independence.
It's not revolution that those countries want but peaceful development and a higher living standard.
Those goals are more likely to be achieved if African leaders would spend less time seeking political solutions for their problems and more time on educating their people on the necessity for doing the hard work of development, within a framework of respect for the rights of others that all major religions try to inculcate.
John Nelson Snell
Barricades and Crime in Guilford
As 18-year residents of Guilford, we have followed the recent discussions of neighborhood security with great interest.
We became particularly attentive when the street closing plan appeared, since our street is one of those to be closed.
It is our understanding that this matter now rests with the city, having been approved by the officers of the Guilford Association.
After much thought and discussion, we would like to state our opposition to the street closing proposal. Our reasons include the following:
* The proposal is clearly and unambiguously racist in form, if not intent.
* The economic impacts of the proposal have not been investigated. Speaking for one household, it will be more difficult for us to reach various merchants that we routinely use along the Greenmount-York Rd. corridor.
It will be much more difficult for several people, who augment their incomes by doing odd jobs for us, to reach our home.
* Response time for emergency vehicles, which often enter Southway from Greenmount Ave., will be appreciably lengthened. We understand that this matter has not been studied.
* We are not convinced that this measure will reduce crime in any significant way. It seems that none of the very tragic and well-publicized major crimes in the neighborhood during the past year would have been prevented by these barriers. Whether they will reduce petty crime is doubtful. They are more likely to simply concentrate that activity in the areas adjacent to the open streets.
* We believe that the only effect of the barriers, other than inconvenience to all, will be a false sense of security, possibly prompting some residents to become less vigilant.
Guilford is a relatively safe neighborhood, especially by comparison to many in the city and the counties, but no neighborhood is without risk.
We deeply regret the paranoia and near-hysteria demonstrated by some members of this community.
We also regret the decision of the Guilford Association board to approve this plan without a referendum.
Our only hope is that the city will see the problems with the plan, and find another way to protect this and other communities.
#John J. and Anita Boland
On Aug. 23 you ran two letters under the heading, "Crime iGuilford and Beyond." The letter writers obviously missed the point.
The people who live in the nicer areas of Baltimore are not living in racist communities. If you were to believe the assessment of these two, only white, Protestant men live where the homes are nice.
In fact, we have a large variety of people, Catholics, Asians, Jews and, yes, blacks. The one thing we all do share is this: everyone who lives here is well educated with a good job.
Furthermore, anybody with $300,000 to plunk down on a house is welcome, be they white, black, or green.
What the people in the nice neighborhoods want is safety. They don't care what color or religion or whatever you are. The idea is to keep out poor people, whatever their national origin.
The fact is, while we may have our share of criminals here in our midst, the vast majority of violent crime (burglary, rape, murder) is committed not by the people who live here but by outsiders from the poor neighborhoods.
And if we, after working hard and reaping the rewards of our efforts, don't want someone taking our hard-earned privileges away, that is our right as Americans.
I pose this question: Is it racist to want to keep what you earned by hard work? Or is it racist to feel that the world owes you a living, that you are entitled to whatever you want, and anyone who doesn't give you a free ride because of your color deserves to have their hard-earned belongings taken away?
The bottom line is this: If you can afford to live in a nice neighborhood, you are more than welcome. But if you can't, why don't you better utilize your time cleaning your own house and stay away from ours?
If the whiners would spend as much time working to improve their own communities as they do wringing their hands over supposed "racism," maybe their neighborhoods would be as nice as ours.
William M. Smith