To the editors:
I may not speak for all black women, but I think the majority of us were offended after reading Steve Bogira’s article “The Press: Beautiful Women” in the February 17 publication.
I think his point would have been just as well taken without having “Mercedes” talk the way Mr. Bogira (and probably countless numbers of white people) thinks that black people talk.
It isn’t cute, and it isn’t funny, to perpetuate the stereotypical view that black speech is unintelligible. It is also racist and sexist to promote the idea that “his friend” has to “be dealin’ [her] food stamps,” and has an “ol’ man stompin’ [her] ass.”
I would also guess that if a picture of “Mercedes” had appeared in the article she would have been the identical twin of “Aunt Jemima.”
I am sick and tired of people using, and accepting racist remarks in a desperate attempt to be humorous.
Elizabeth A. Jones
Steve Bogira replies:
Mercedes had this comment on your letter: “I’m hip ta wha’ dis chick sayin’–“You wanna sound right, you gotta talk white.’ But it ain’ cute ‘n’ ain’ funny basin’ on me, siss’uh, jes’ ‘cuz I be talkin’ natch’ral. Ya might gots ta front off ta get over in Evans’on, but dat hincty shit don’ hold no air here on da wes’ side.”