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The Baltimore Sun

Bury the N-word and its ugly history

I applaud Leonard Pitts Jr. for his poignant comment on the use of the N-word ("N-word should stay buried, no matter what the 'context,'" Commentary, Oct. 13).

There are few words in the English language that cause me to cringe when I hear them uttered in public. But this one I despise, no matter what the context or setting.

The word conjures up so many bitter decades and so many despicable memories of a time when the tint of a man's skin predetermined his position in life, social status, chance for potential employment, etc.

Yet some members of the younger generations, black and white, speak this word devoid of knowledge of the far-reaching magnitude of this six-letter, serpentine-like monster.

Let's bury the word and all the ugly connotations it carries.

Patrick R. Lynch, Baltimore

Make AIG repay cost of its posh retreat

I think that we, the taxpayers, who are, in effect, the new owners of AIG, should insist that the $442,000 the company spent on its recent retreat be paid back to the taxpayers, and that all the AIG employees who participated be fired ("Jaw-dropper," editorial, Oct. 10).

Such extravagant treats should happen when a company has had a good year and its management has performed responsibly - not when the government has to bail it out.

Mary Hartman, Catonsville

State police spying did no real harm

I'm sorry for Max Obuszewski and the other 52 activists named in the infamous state police database, but mostly I am sorry that they found out about the spying ("Spying victims demand full study of scandal," letters, Oct. 13).

Had they not found out, their names might have moldered away in a file somewhere, without their lives being altered.

Irrespective of the country or regime, police departments are there to uphold the law, and one of the things they do is collect intelligence.

Even in our democratic society, with its Constitution, there are norms of social behavior. And groups exercising their rights to free speech and demonstration can be manipulated and taken in the wrong direction.

Donald T Hart, Baltimore

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