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February 24, 2019

Readers sound off on blackface, Amazon and the MTA

February 12, 2019
Three blind mice. (Bob Brown / AP)

Blackface can be about love, not hate

Manhattan: As a pasty white boy back in the early 80’s, I and two of my friends were big fans of Run-DMC. As a tribute to the band, we dressed up to look like the rappers and went to a Halloween party. We were a big hit because one of my friends could rap a wee bit and everyone had a great time.

We were not making fun of anybody; we were paying tribute to a group we loved. What’s wrong with that? We could have dressed up as scraggly white guys with one strung out on heroin and gone as the Rolling Stones but decided to go as Run-DMC instead. There was no racism in our hearts. It was an innocent and fun-loving thing to do.

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On “Saturday Night Live,” Eddie Murphy dressed up as a stiff white guy and got laughs. The Wayans brothers dressed up as white girls in “White Chicks” and got laughs too. Why the double standard in today’s day and age?

The key to life is to take things in context. In the bad old days, Al Jolson and the likes disparaged black people in dreadful ways and we should all learn from it. Today’s society has become too uptight and too quick to pass judgment. We all need to lighten up a bit.

The politicians in Virginia who wore blackface 35 or more years ago need to own what they did and explain what the real reason was. Was it racist? If so, then apologize profusely and say it was done out of ignorance as a youth and you have since learned from it. If it was a true tribute to a particular person like Michael Jackson or Kurtis Blow, then no apology is needed or warranted. The key is to be truthful and explain what was in your heart. Remember this; the truth shall set you free. John 8:32. Keith McAleer

Northam’s second mistake

Glen Oaks Village: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, during an interview with CBS anchor Gayle King, called former slaves indentured servants and was corrected. What could he have been thinking? First he (or someone else on his yearbook page) was pictured in blackface next to a person in a KKK robe and hood. Now he says former slaves were servants. I find both to be both appalling and racist. Our African-Americans brothers and sisters were taken from their homeland and suffer much by the hands of those who saw the Africans as being inferior to the white race. Slavery in my opinion is an abomination and is and was wrong. As such, I think Northam should resign for the good of Virginia and the nation. For racism has no place in the America I know and love. Remember this too: God made man but man made slaves. Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Media double standards

South Hempstead, L.I.: Megyn Kelly discussed the practice of wearing blackface on Halloween. NBC promptly fired her. Joy Behar actually did wear blackface. ABC did what? Michael Quane

Worse than the blackface

Buffalo: Ralph Northam is a pediatric neurologist who happens to be pro-choice. While I approve of Northam’s opposition to capital punishment, his support for elective abortion is especially reprehensible. Northam and his lieutenant governor should both be replaced by persons willing to protect human life from conception to natural death. Richard H. Escobales Jr.

Pay first responders first

Manhattan: Our FDNY EMTs save lives (“Where’s the fire?” Feb. 10). I’ve seen them do it. That’s what they should be paid for. Instead the city scrimps out a driver’s pay. Cough it up, Mayor de Blasio. Susan A. Stark

A life-saving tradition

Williston Park, L.I.: The FDNY has always since 1865 responded not only to fires but also medical emergencies; this is not something new. The duplication with EMS should continue as this has resulted in saving lives. EMS is a very important part of the FDNY and should be paid accordingly. Joe Donovan, Ladder 26, ret.

Preventable tragedy

Richmond Hill: 4-year-old Helena Flores dies falling out of a window. I thought apartments with children under 10 years of age were required to have window guards. Were there guards in place? If not, why not? While this is horrible, it may also be a case of parental negligence. Michael Sturm

Paying their fair share

Brooklyn: Can someone please tell me why, in our country, a large percentage of individuals benefit more from staying home rather than getting a job? Is there no way our top officials can come up with a plan that it would be more beneficial for an individual to work without losing all their benefits? I am not a mathematician but I think our government would save some money if these dependent people were contributing something to their own support. I have worked and paid taxes my entire life. I pay a very large co-payment for my breathing materials, yet I know people personally who barely worked and are getting their medications free. Does this make sense? Leonora Sherman

Hand up for the handout

Tobyhanna, Pa.: I fully support Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to pay people who are unwilling to work. I joined the workforce long before she was a gleam in her father’s eye and have been supporting freeloaders ever since. Now it’s my turn to cash in. When I get my first check, I’ll even register as a Democrat. Joseph Matarazzo

Respect, given and received

Waldwick, N.J.: Re Voicer John Amato’s letter, saying the Democrats should be respectful to Trump because he is the commander-in-chief: He also said newly elected Democrats should bow their heads in shame for their disrespect during Trump’s State of the Union address. Was Amato asleep when South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” during Barack Obama’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress? Or when ex-House Speaker Paul Ryan seemed to be falling asleep during Obama’s State of the Union? Because I remember both those things. So please don’t talk about disrespect. Republicans are very good at it! Jacqueline Robb

Checkup from the neck up

Brigantine, N.J.: Why wasn’t a psychiatric evaluation of Trump done? There is clear evidence day after day that he is mentally and emotionally imbalanced (besides being morally and ethically corrupt). His tweets are disturbing and incoherent. His speeches are filled with lies and vileness. He acts like a 2-year-old throwing tantrums. He needs to be evaluated immediately. Irene Webb

Amazon overexposed

Scarborough, N.Y.: A few words of advice for Jeff Bezos: keep it out of your pants. Your iPhone camera, that is. Thomas F. Comiskey

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Discounted jobs

New Windsor, N.Y.: Voicer Tony Giametta really nailed it. These so-called “high paying jobs” the press keeps talking about are only for “imported” techies. The people in the projects will be hired for minimum wage jobs, working as packers and shippers, under thankless conditions. Go on any Amazon employee website and you will read about the horrors of these jobs. And how long will it be before the taxpayers see any payback from Amazon’s giant tax benefit? Cuomo and de Blasio are just dying to put a feather in their caps for setting up this deal. New York City deserves better. Lisa Lagueras

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