Letters for December 13-19, 2007

Hang 'em High

Think about what you do, teacher man: I sympathize mostly for these kids ("High School Sexical," Deirdra Funcheon, December 6). Andrew Foster overstepped his bounds and abused his position of power [as a teacher]. That's it — bottom line. As a drama teacher myself, I know there is NO grey area. It's black and white, and that line should never be crossed. I hope he gets the 200 years.

Name withheld by request

Greenacres

Racist Washing

And we're all along for the spin cycle: The Haitian refugee situation mentioned in Janine Zeitlin and Amy Guthrie's November 29 article "Washed Up" is to be expected, especially in today's anti-immigrant climate in the United States. It's said this climate is created by working, poor whites who believe the country has to remain "sovereign" and protect its borders. Excuse me, why doesn't someone tell them that white people's ancestors came by boatloads and pushed and shoved and shot and murdered the Native Americans out of existence and territory? Who processed their asses at the border?

I am tired of feeling sorry for poor white folks, even the ones with their brown babies. They always have more rights than the black folks. Walk around South Florida and see. Black folks in fact have stepped in line. We come to this country and fight like hell to transform ourselves into whites — check out our hairstyles and clothing and speech patterns and even culture and social life. This isn't the answer.

I feel a great deal of pain and sympathy for the folks who risk all to come here. I realize Haiti is a war-torn nation-state at this time. This makes the conditions right for fleeing. But when we arrive here, we have no bags or capital, so we can't win asylum. Unlike Jamaicans or even Trinidadians or black Cubans, our ethnicity is of no help with authorities.

Marie Nadine Pierre

Via Web commentary

That foot-on-the-shore policy: Fairness to none: Thank you, Janine Zeitlin and Amy Guthrie, for "Washed Up." I am a Haitian immigrant. I came to this country when I was four years old. Now I am 27 years old and a U.S. citizen. I often think racism is the only reason Haitians are detained and then deported. I firmly believe immigration policies should be consistent. Special consideration should be evenly given to all or none at all.

Myriam Lubin

North Miami

Done and Gone

Racism is past history in Dania: On behalf of the Dania Beach City Commission, as well as the citizens, employees, and business community of Dania Beach, this is sent in response to the article "Wish I was in Dixie" by Ashley Harrell (November 15).

Dania Beach has existed for over one hundred years. The tone and spirit of the article are patent misrepresentations of the city that exists today and the people who live, work and visit in Dania Beach. Ms. Harrell pointedly chose to ignore the efforts and commitments to diversity, equality and tolerance training and education that have been made by the leadership and management of the city. The cover page of your edition was outrageous, inflammatory, and insulting not only to the citizens of Dania Beach, but to all of Broward County, the State of Florida, and the United States of America.

There were incidents and practices that occurred in the past that we acknowledged and that cannot be defended. But that is where they are: in the past. They do not persist today. To the extent that we can, we educate, train and explain to our employees that intolerable behavior visited upon another employee or person will be met with the disciplinary consequences it deserves, whether it is racial, sexual, religious, or otherwise.

The article insinuates that intolerable racist practices persist. They do not. The slant of Ms. Harrell's article seems to try to perpetuate an environment that has not existed here for years. We who live and work here know better, as well as our visitors, neighbors, vendors, and working partners. The city is not choosing to ignore the matters of the past, but we have chosen to learn from them. Hatred and racial intolerance are learned behaviors, and both have no color. No one is born with them.

Bob Anton, Mayor

Dania Beach

Kudos

Three New Times writers have won first-place Awards of Excellence from the North Central Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Amy Guthrie won for best general reporting for "Power Fall"; Gail Shepherd took the best feature award for "Eat My Meat"; and Jonathan Cunningham won for arts reporting with "Freaks Come Out at Night." Deirdra Funcheon took third place in the general news category for "Kill My Wife. Please!"

Help Wanted

New Times has a rare opening for a nightlife reporter. We're looking for a serious, stylish writer who has a zest for the local club scene. We offer good compensation for part-time work as well as a devoted readership. We seek heart, chops, and smarts. Please mail or drop off three clips of published work, a résumé, and your concise ideas for improving our Night Rider column.

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