Letter, published in Washington City Paper:
An Honest Man
With regard to a quote from the review of Randall Robinson's 'Defending the Spirit' (Wash. C.Paper, Books, 3/6): "...hatred would seem the proper reflex....In the autumn of my life, I am left regarding white people, before knowing them individually, with an irreducible mistrust and dislike." A striking sentence, yes, but - with all due sympathy - hasn't he ever heard of Diogenes and his lamp-by-day? It is a commonplace that all people in general or in the mass are not to be trusted; mankind in the mass is mere mob, so often. This is just part of being grown up: No stranger is a parent, nor necessarily a friend at all. The real point of urgency and doubt here is, will he (or any person) be able to become acquainted with the individual worth in question, upon acquaintance? (Whether by remnant "group sentiment" on either side, or by way of mass molding of human habits, attitudes, and mores, into a dehumanized lack of individuality or worth.)
Another thing from the same issue: The "Abandon Statue!" article, about SW's Titanic memorial, is of interest, especially in mentioning the mass murder of the cheapest fares on board (who were mainly Irish emigrants - see the recent book How the Irish Became White). I think that, aside from popularization, the memorial's inscription needs a few more words at the end of "They gave their lives that women and children might be saved." - "Except if they were Irish (or any other minority out of favor with the upper crust)."
[- Found worthy of publication in Washington City Paper in the March 20 1998 issue (Vol 18 No. 11, p.4). - The complimentary header was the editor's idea, by the way, not part of my submission!]