Let me enlighten you of the truth, even though I'm sure it's pointless: The "hip-hop" crowd is self-professed violent, criminal -- thugs! They are proud to proclaim themselves as such! Black or white, thugs are still thugs. Their slogan is "Thug Life"!
Now, let's address the fear issue. Fear would indicate being afraid. My friends and I are not afraid of them. We are disgusted with not being able to walk by the Chili Pepper to go to the Poor House or Stereo without being accosted by drunk (and/or high) thugs! We go downtown to have a good time, not fight a war, and if you think that it is anything less, you need to do some real research.
More than once, I have been involved in confrontations in the area between the Chili Pepper and the Poor House. Two of these instances have been a result of bumping into someone in that crowded area. One time, it was not crowded and a black man purposely walked into my female cousin. I am not sure if that is a thug's idea of a come-on line, but then, instead of apologizing, he proceeded to start a confrontation with me.
Why would I not want to get dressed up, take my hard-earned cash, go downtown, and get gang-jumped and possibly arrested or killed on a Sunday night? Oh, I know why. Because I don't want anyone to think I am a bigot! So let me ignore the facts to be politically correct! Hey, I am ready to be a reporter for New Times!
I have been advised by the [Poor House] staff, with whom I happen to be old friends, that the place is a "war zone" on Sunday nights. Friday and Saturday nights haven't been a picnic, either, since the Chili Pepper went to a hip-hop format. So Stratton's reporting is rather bigoted and unfactually based.
Fathering diversity: Regarding the recent Bandwidth column about "black night" at the Chili Pepper: A neighbor of the Chili Pepper complained that his business was being ruined on the one night a week that blacks were in the area. He has been in business long enough to know better. Why not capitalize on the presence of a large minority group that night and be more inviting to other members of that group? Schedule some minority- oriented events at the same time.
As for those members of the community who are afraid of interacting with different cultures, they are the losers. I know that anytime I have entered a nightclub catering to a "black" clientele, I have been treated with respect. At one place in a rundown area, the patrons went so far as to rearrange the parking lot so that my then-girlfriend, now-wife, and I did not have to leave the premises on foot.
I know I can afford to live in White-Bread land, a.k.a. anywhere west of University Drive. This would afford me the luxury of limiting my daily dealings with minorities. I don't! I prefer to live on the east side of Broward. I am glad that my son is growing up and attending school with members of other cultures, etc. So far as I can tell at this point, he has not acquired any racist thoughts, and I will continue to encourage him to believe that people are the same and chastise him for pointing out differences. My father was a true bigot. I hope I have learned and am teaching my son otherwise.
Wallet-driven censorship: I'd like to make a comment on Chuck Strouse's January 17 column, Ax, Lies, & Audiotape, that reflects the G-d fearing, Bible-believing, freedom-loving, anticensorship, libertarian American.
Sorry, Shakespeare; to be or not to be is NOT the question. The question should be: Why is government involved with the arts in the first place? Food for thought: If the government (at any level) kept its paws out of the "arts" and taxpayer dollars were not being squandered on the merde, mierda, dreck, basura that passes for art today, the "artists" could paint whatever they liked. The reason: When you use my tax dollars, I can demand a say; however, if you use your own dollars, I have no say. What you sculpt or create with your money is your business. If you want to blaspheme G-d, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Virgin Mary, be my guest. You'll spend eternity burning in hell, not me. Whatever you do, do not use my hard-earned tax dollars. Hey, if you insist, I have a brother-in-law who sells asbestos coats. Such a deal for any friend of mine.