Butt another Jack asset
you charted jack layton's physiognomy quite nicely (NOW, August 16-22), though you failed to credit the political value of that cheesy moustache. It would make a great smog particulate strainer.
What you missed is another part of his anatomy altogether: his butt. As an ardent bicyclist, Jack is good to have around where he can help keep an eye on the City Hall limo crowd and get them to change their drive-everywhere ways. Jack oughta stay here.
Besides, Judy Rebick can run the NDP with one hand tied behind Svend's back.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Half the down-low story
whoa. i had to read guy meets Guy On The Down-Low (NOW, August 16-23) three times. Once just as one reads any article in NOW, the second time to confirm for myself what exactly was being reported and said, and the final time to confirm what wasn't being reported or said.
While hardly one to keep my ear attuned to such issues, I have certainly seen articles recently in the U.S. media regarding the grave concerns within medicare, the black community in general and the "out" black gay community over those "on the down-low." There's been a marked increase in apparently unwarranted attacks on fellow blacks and a huge increase in STDs (including HIV/AIDS) in traditionally unaffected parts of the community.
Much of this, the U.S. media suggests, is due to those who choose to "not let the world know their personal business" and who aggressively defend this stand, albeit disguised in machismo to fool their "real friends."
The reasons for meeting on the down-low in the U.S. mirror those reported in NOW's article -- "I'm not a fag," "It's the black community's fault," "It's the white gay community's fault," "I'm a real man" and, most worrying, "I don't want my wife or girlfriend to find out."
The NOW article certainly discussed the mechanics behind the down-low and the rationale used by those who participate. What was not covered was this subterfuge's truly deleterious effect on the community in general. Yes, people's sexual preferences and practices are entirely their own business -- but it's too bad NOW only reported half the story.
Barry W. Cook, Toronto
From ovah-and-out brotha
of course it's hard living black and gay in this society, but every choice has a consequence, possibly harming others. I'm one of those "faggot" ovah-and-out bitches bruthas wanna fuck but won't stand beside publicly in solidarity, and not even a kiss goodbye. Do you have my back?
What needs to be realized is that the issue is not solely about identity, it's about what kind of demands you yourself make for a just society. It's one thing to say that mainstream white culture doesn't understand black queer life -- that's difficult to dispute.
However, we are also accountable for the decisions we make. I wonder how Orville Lloyd Douglas can imagine a community that is supportive of one another, yet he doesn't challenge the pernicious racism and sexism. Redefining masculinity and the position of black men in black communities is part of the work that needs to be done, not making excuses by claiming that black communities are so inherently volatile toward homosexuality -- as if the rest of the world isn't. This is one of the racist fictions we continually reproduce when we talk about sexuality in black communities. Until this work is done, we are not being supportive, we're just doing damage control.
Name withheld by request, Toronto
Racism among minorities
marvin at club manhattan complained about the poster depicting a black man and an Asian man kissing. Frankly, just because you don't see a lot of black men and Asian men dating in the gay community (or perhaps, not openly, because of racism from all sides), it doesn't mean that they're not having sex or that there isn't attraction. People from visible minorities can be racist toward other visible minority groups.
The condom campaign poster showing an Asian and black man about to kiss while dressed as cowboys -- usually pictured as white -- seems to me a playful and sexy way to fight racism and homophobia. The campaign could have done more to reflect the diversity of the gay community, true, but Marvin's objections to the poster may be nothing less than veiled racism. Only he can know for sure.
Mordecai Drache, Toronto
Time for FLOW judgment
i appreciate NOW for wrestling with issues that other outlets seem unwilling to investigate. I want to ask Carla Antonicelli (NOW, August 16-22) two questions. First, is Antonicelli aware of Dalton Higgins's piece Six Months Of FLOW 93.5 (NOW, August 2-8)? Second, how many Milestone surveys did she fill out when community activists from the black community were attempting to harvest support for a radio station under the premise that it would primarily represent the interests of the larger collective?
Antonicelli is even barefaced enough to direct McLeod to visit FLOW's Web site in order to acquaint herself with 93.5's analysis of current affairs. The suggestion that radio listeners have to resort to going online to ascertain a media outlet's stance on current affairs is comical at best and illogical at worst.
It is permissible and necessary to hold media outlets accountable to those they profess to serve. FLOW must be held to a higher standard of excellence -- anything less is a celebration of mediocrity.
Sheri Butterfield, Thornhill
U.S. blacks still die earlier
re he wants gay reparations (NOW, August 16-22). Ken Cowan states that "as a Jewish gay man, I am waiting for my cheque" because "none of the blacks asking for reparations today were slaves."
Seeing as how Cowan writes us from Paris, he should come to North America and experience first-hand the effects of slavery. Blacks in America make less money, live shorter lives, have in general a lower standard of living and are more undereducated and underemployed than their white counterparts. To say that not living through slavery automatically discounts any reparations to blacks is absolutely ridiculous.
Jacob Abramowicz, Toronto
iDance still non-profit
i am the executive director of iDance and I would like to respond to Sponsorship Or Sellout, by Kim Edwards (NOW, August 9-15).
iDance is a non-profit organization. The chief organizers consist of community members, DJs, promoters and local store owners. In addition to our community volunteers, we also have an official board of advisers whose members are city councillor Olivia Chow, Daniel Richler, professor Alan Young and Barbara Hall.
The advisers have ultimate veto power over any of the organizers or sponsors and have no financial interest in the scene, but believe in the values this event has demonstrated.
iDance exists to showcase and celebrate the myriad artistic talents within the electronic music scene and to show the massive strength and unity of the electronic music community.
We hope to achieve our mission through iDance 2001 -- a massive free event at Nathan Phillips Square taking place on Sunday, September 2.
Community members, including those who participated last year, have always been welcome to help us shape the political content of the event or volunteer in any way. Sponsors have had no hand in any of the content. Interested volunteers should send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will W. Chang
Executive Director, iDance
Cross-border native talent
near the end of drew hayden Taylor's commentary about First Nations people on TV (NOW, July 12-18), he mentions the Four Directions Talent Search. It's the Oneida Indian Nation of New York, located on the Oneida Nation Homelands, that is working with NBC, not the Wisconsin Oneidas.
The search is not designed to be a "brain drain" of Canadian First Peoples, but to bring native American/First Nations talent to the forefront, giving comedians, actors and writers an opportunity to be seen or read.
The ultimate goal is to provide the opportunity for future employment, regardless of where it is -- the U.S. or Canada. Some of this talent will be showcased September 24 at Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club in Toronto.
Oneida Nation Communications
Due to a production error, comments from Nike Canada spokesperson Michelle Noble were omitted from last week's story about the company's new ad techniques, some of which involve hiring actors to pose as demonstrators. Noble said: "The campaign is all meant to be very tongue-in-cheek. People can see that it's not a real group. It's meant to be what's called "street advertising.' It's not meant to make fun of anyone."