History of a hateful word
i'm not sure what the exact history of the word "nigger" is, but I have heard that it is derived from the Spanish word "negro" or black. As a word, it seems relatively harmless. I'm not sure what needs to take place in order for a word to become so hateful and therefore scary, hurtful and inappropriate. I guess it happens when enough people (usually people with power) pick a label that separates some from others. Its derogatory nature can stem from the word itself (stinky, loser, etc) or from the power source by which it is being used.
Being a faggot, I understand the power behind a word, but I also see how easy it is to take that power away. (Remember Homer Simpson whining, "Those are our words for makin' fun of you!") If someone actually used the words fag, queer or gay in a derogatory way to me now, I would probably laugh out loud at their ignorance.
I guess some niggers won't feel comfortable being compared to buggers, but it's funny how being comfortable with yourself can take the power away from assholes and cocksuckers.
Jason Skitch, Toronto
FLOW is worth the wait
if sharon mcleod (now, august 9-15) is or was a listener to FLOW, then she obviously hasn't heard the ongoing ads to stop the violence and killings that have recently taken place.
We have waited 12 years for an urban station to come to the radio waves to hear urban music, not to hear "therapy talk" (which, by the way, there is on The Chat Room every day at 10 am). Current affairs? Check out their Web site -- there's lots of this information.
Personally, I am happy to hear the "hipityhopity" music. That's why I have left stations like KISS 92.5 behind.
Ms. McLeod, it's people like you who don't give these radio stations a chance and why it's taken 12 years to get a radio station of this kind on the airwaves. FLOW is a newly formed radio station -- why don't you give them a chance to grow before you start criticizing them?
Carla Antonicelli, North York
He wants gay reparations
you published a story about canadian blacks who are asking for reparations for slavery in the 1800s (NOW, August 2-8).Anyone and everyone can play this game. Jewish people can ask all "goys" to pay for 2,000 years of anti-Semitism. Gays can ask all straights to pay for centuries of homophobia.
If we go back far enough in history, everybody can find an axe to grind. The difference between paying reparations to Holocaust victims, for example, as opposed to the descendants of slaves, is simply that the Holocaust survivors actually lived the horror themselves. None of the blacks asking for reparations today were slaves.
Second, why are Canadian blacks only asking the Canadian government to pay? Originally, it was black African tribes that enslaved each other and then sometimes sold their slaves to whites. Why not go to the source and ask African countries to pay up, too?
Any Canadian black who still wants reparations should reread my first objection. And please inform your readers that, as a Jewish gay man, I am waiting for my cheque.
Pulsing in old hometown
i am a jamaican-born ex-torontonian via New York and am presently a Vancouverite here to experience the bounty Hogtown has to offer. A funny thing happened on my way back to my old hometown for what has been one of the hottest summers on record.
Post-Pride and pre-Taste Of The Danforth, Caribana came pulsing into my life once again -- not the little parade that could, but the event that was/is. The city was jumpin' with activity. All the black Americans within a 1,600-mile radius were here in their gas-guzzlin' SUVs, their hiphop music pounding through their vehicles onto the pavement and bodies of suspecting plebes on the streets and sidewalks. How could one not be affected, and infected, by the true pride -- in being alive? The folks were stylin' to the nth degree... it was the real deal.
Denis Simpson, Vancouver
Distinguished prof at York
at the end of the article an Alien At York U (NOW, August 9-15), Enzo Di Matteo mentioned that there is a Colombian professor whom I have been actively involved in trying to recruit to York University. He further says that this professor's brother was a far-right presidential candidate.
The professor's name is Eduardo Pizarro, and he happens to be one of the most renowned and respected Colombian academics. His brother, Carlos Pizarro, was the leader of the M-19 guerrillas, a leftist group that struck a peace agreement with the government at the beginning of the 90s. As a result of this peace agreement, Carlos Pizarro ran for the presidency in 1990 but he was shot and killed by a hit man during his political campaign.
Eduardo Pizarro was the head of the IEPRI, probably the most prestigious academic centre for political studies and international relations in Colombia, based at the National University.
As Di Matteo points out, "far-right paramilitaries have been waging a campaign of fear and intimidation against left-leaning professors and students." Unfortunately, Professor Pizarro was touched by this kind of violence and had to leave the country after being shot several times -- apparently by paramilitaries.
I should also clarify that I am not the only person who has advocated for Professor Eduardo Pizarro and his wife, Professor Ana Maria Bejarano, to come to York University. Since they were granted refugee status in Canada, many leading scholars from the University of Toronto and York have been trying to recruit these distinguished academics to their faculties.
Juan G. Ronderos, Toronto
Photo was picture perfect
that photograph of michael Isaac by Susan King on the Newsfront page (NOW, August 9-15) is really good. Glad that NOW pursues visual as well as editorial excellence
Miklos Legrady, Toronto
Politicians a poor example
the city of toronto has asked residents to limit their outdoor water use. However, governments seem to be exempt from these restrictions. The grass at Queen's Park is as lush and green as ever, and yesterday morning I was actually able to witness the lawn -- and the sidewalk -- being watered outside the Whitney Block. And as I walked along University Avenue today, I noticed the sprinklers out in full force along the boulevards as well.
Along with the city councillors and MPPs who drive their cars to work on smog alert days, this is just another example of the "do as we say, not as we do" mentality that seems to be so pervasive in the public sector these days.
Megan Easto , Toronto
So what's a Euro-rodent?
news flash! NOW journalist isn't as smart as he thinks he is. The review of a SummerWorks play, Billy And The Monsters, reads, "(Jon) McCurley's gross-out musical isn't as clever as it thinks it is, but McCurley and (Lauren) Wedlock's designs for the monsters are superb. They look like big, evil Euro-rodents. NN."
McCurley was the only one designing anything. Wedlock is the girlfriend of one of the actors and had nothing to do with the play at all. Also, what exactly is a Euro-rodent? That's the worst description I've ever heard.
Matt Farris, Toronto
Therapy not a quick fix
i am canada's most highly qualified somatic educator, certified in the Feldenkrais method, the Alexander technique, a version of rolfing called Hellerwork, and Hanna somatics. It is highly unusual for a lesson in somatic education to cost as much as $95. Most such work costs between $50 and $70.
And often, practitioners are willing to work out means of payment to suit the individual, especially if that person wants to change.
There is no quick hit. It takes the commitment of attention, intelligence and intention to change the patterns of a lifetime, whether they be physical, emotional or psychological. You can't transform yourself in a matter of hours when the ineffective habits of your life, which often run deep into the source of your sense of identity, have taken years to establish.
Graeme Lynn, Toronto