Easy to blame whites
George Elliott Clarke writes that "...we need a black premier (or two), a black Supreme Court justice (or two), a black mayor (or two), a black big-five bank director (or two), a black CBC/Radio-Canada head (or two), a black major newspaper publisher (or two) and, oh yes, a black prime minister" (NOW, February 1-7).
Hey, George, got any candidates for those positions? It's easy to blame white-supremacist society for the lack of black leaders. Is that why you didn't provide examples of qualified persons of colour who've been passed over?
You could ask PR and marketing firms to donate time and effort to publicize the stories of these overlooked leaders in waiting. Eventually, the rest of us could assuage our collective guilt and place our well-intentioned middle-class liberal votes for them.
Please rent the movie Lenny, starring Dustin Hoffman. The best scene revolves around Lenny Bruce's use of the n-word and explains how easy it would be for blacks to take it back. The gay, lesbian and bi community learned the lesson and now possesses the q-word.
Don't you think it's kinda stupid to get all upset over a single stupid word? Black power, indeed. But what do I know? I'm only a redneck honkey cracker.
If you're black, you're ghetto
In slaves to the "n-word," George Elliott Clarke admits to having used the word ("Honestly, my intent was to be ironic") but then proceeds to give rappers a lesson on its origin, as if to imply rappers are unable to understand their own work. It seems he finds it hard to fathom a rapper with enough self-awareness and poetic ability to actually use the word with an intelligent intent.
As Jay-Z said on his Corporate Takeover freestyle on Hot 97 in New York recently, "Media meddles / Niggas sue you, you settle / Every step you take they remind you you ghetto."
No matter how much a rapper achieves, there will still be someone on the sidelines with the audacity to tell him how to use words.
No, Martin, Malcolm and Marcus didn't die so that people could sling epithets without care, but neither did B.I.G. and Pac. They, too, understood that words can wound, sometimes fatally, and heal.
Lessons learned in Somalia
RE K'naan's Talking Back to the Empire (NOW, February 1-7). While I am not naive enough to believe that Somalia would be a "great" nation had the U.S. not interfered, it's undeniable that the recent U.S. intervention via Ethiopia has been terrible for the country. The Union of Islamic Courts represented the best way of uniting a tribe-ridden country by using the only thing they all hold in common - religion. Unfortunately, the U.S. only cares about installing puppet regimes (always dedicated to fighting the al-Qaeda-linked opposition) and tries to create as many divisions in society as possible for the benefit of oil companies and Israel.
The same thing is happening in Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It's divide and conquer by arming Sunnis against Shias, Fatah against Hamas, Iran against Iraq, Baluchis against Pakistanis, etc. It's high time people in that part of the world stopped fighting amongst themselves and united to expel the American troublemakers before they all wind up in Somalia's terrible situation.
RE Talking back to the empire. Funny, I could have sworn that my history professor knew what he was talking about when he said that Ethiopia was the only African country Europe had never colonized. I guess he could have been mistaken, but then again, he's Ethiopian. Happy Black History Month!
If Cameron Bailey can't handle the hard reality of obscure films, he shouldn't be reviewing Sundance (NOW, January 25-31). Perhaps he would've been happier staying home watching Friends reruns. There is nothing more boring than a lazy critic who approaches film with a preconceived notion instead of looking closely at and attempting to value the complexity of what is actually presented. Hey, crybaby Cameron, if you can't toughen up, then shut up.
Regan X. Morgan
Tea party for the poor
RE Alex Maclean's letter vilifying John Clarke and his group's efforts to keep the Cabbagetown Restaurant open (NOW, February 1-7).
I've been to meetings of OCAP, and it's one of the most democratic organizations in existence. Clarke and the members of the steering committee don't even have a vote at the monthly meetings to determine policies, so as not to be seen as holding too much sway over the democratic nature of the group.
Those who vilify Clarke are erecting a smokescreen to cover their own hostility toward the poor and disadvantaged.
If only the poor would protest with better manners so we could all feel good about the homeless and dispossessed and have them over for tea.
I recently moved to Cabbage Town and was excited about living in an economically and culturally eclectic neighbourhood. I immediately set out to explore the local restaurants.
At a place on Parliament, the bartender directed me to an empty but dirty table. I sat for 10 minutes without an acknowledgement or a menu. The waiter ran to and fro without delivering a plate or a drink, even after he made eye contact and cleared an empty table nearby.
I got up and left and continued to another establishment where I was warmly welcomed.
I thanked the bartender for her hospitality. I should mention that I'm black, and there wasn't another black person in either place. Also, I own a hospitality business.
I have to agree with John Clarke. The issues of gentrification in Cabbagetown are about more than just a yuppie cleansing of one establishment in the neighbourhood.
OMB's condo foolery
So the Ontario Municipal Board thinks there's an "acute short supply" of condo housing in Toronto? (NOW, February 1-7) Well, considering that condos are goint up in Yorkdale, Harbourfront, Queen West, North York and even near City Hall, the OMB must be living in some time-bubble that stopped around the mid-1970s.
Not to mention that the price range for these units puts them out of reach of most working-class and low-income people.
Who the hell are the developers building them for? Are they just filling their own pockets by putting up fancy-ass buildings?
India's virtual economy
RE Tapping Into the Obsolete, by Wayne Roberts (NOW, January 25-31). The Indian economy has always been virtual and will always be so. Talismen, magic tricks, not human endeavour, have been the building blocks of the Indian economy.
People are shrewd, never smart. Hypocrisy is the norm.
Swallowing vitamins whole
RE Vitamin F For Fake (now, janu ary 25-31). The majority of Canadian supplement companies encourage consumers to get as much nutrition as they can from their diet. Organic food is great, particularly when the food is grown locally. The reality, though, is that not everyone can eat all organic all the time. The vitamin and mineral content of North American fruit and vegetables is also declining.
Vitamins A and C, most B vitamins, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium and iron content in produce have been shown to be much lower in the last half-century. Only one in six Canadians reported consuming five daily servings of fruits and veggies.
Harvard researchers put an end to the "I get everything I need from the food I eat" debate. In the most extensive review of the scientific literature to date, they concluded in 2002 that all North American adults should be taking a multivitamin.
There's no evidence to support the statement that synthetic vitamins can not be absorbed. There is, however, evidence to support the notion of taking vitamins together rather than in isolation.
Regarding the statement "Greens+ basic plant-based powders (made by Toronto-based Genuine Health) should pass the test, but its other products tend to contain synthetics like vitamin K, taken to increase bone health," Greens+ is a whole-food supplement containing a variety of 23 plant ingredients. Research has proven it increases energy and promotes well-being. Greens+ Bone Builder contains a natural source of vitamin K shown to promote bone health.
(Editor's note: Alan Logan is a research consultant for Genuine Health, maker of Greens+.)
Harp's unstable conversion
Want to know Stephen Harper's views on global warming? No need to dig back to his 2002 writings that mock global warming and the Kyoto Accord as a "socialist plot"!
This is the same Harper whose government prohibited an Environment Canada scientist from attending the launch of his own book on global warming only a few months ago.
The government then axed no fewer than 15 programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and came out with a climate change policy that would not set emission targets until - cough, cough - 2050! Remember?
If you're buying Harper's newfound sincere love of Mother Earth, I have some very stable Antarctica ice sheets to sell you.