Dear Reader editors,

In response to Guy Jackson’s letter (June 16, 2000, “Spiteful Swipes and Goofball Pity”): There is nothing petty about cheating. It is not only a disservice to the spirit of honest competition, but to the cheaters as well. As for your misinformed comments on Whitney Young, its students, and Larry Minkoff, allow me to clear a few things up. I attended WY from 1986-1990. Although I did not compete in the academic decathlon, most of my friends did. They gave up summers, weekends, and endless hours after school to prepare for this event. So did Mr. Minkoff. Most of these students were not from the privileged elite, as you and others assume. Some were even from the same neighborhood as Steinmetz (Gasp! Could it be?). May I also point out that on a Chicago teacher’s salary, which isn’t much, Mr. Minkoff dedicated just as much time and effort as the students that he coached. Your apparent callousness regarding the death of such a teacher leads me to believe that you were never exposed to one as dedicated to his students as Mr. Minkoff was to his, and that is your loss. Mr. Minkoff was a wonderful teacher (I had both psychology and economics classes with him) and a genuinely good person.

WY alum do not see their school as “holy” or all teachers at WY as “inspired,” much less “martyred,” when they pass away. We are, however, proud of our accomplishments, all of which were hard-won, and of the teachers who gave of themselves above and beyond the call of duty. Whitney Young was in its conception a finger in the face of power. The school, in case you didn’t know, was built on the near-west side of the city in a predominately African-American neighborhood. One of the stipulations of WY operating was that it had to have a certain percentage (higher than whites, Asians, or Hispanics) of African-Americans from that neighborhood. It was my neighborhood, Mr. Jackson, and let me inform you right now that if it were not for WY’s existence, many teenagers that had the motivation and desire to succeed would have languished at schools such as Marshall or CVS, if you even know where those schools are and what they offered.

In closing I would also like to ask you, having not actually seen the movie that was being reviewed, how you justify yourself making all of those assumptions? Did you attend either school at the time? Did you know any of the key players? Follow the story on the news? Do any research? My assumption would be a definitive NO to all of these questions. You are just a whiny pseudoliberal who wants to “fuck the establishment” at all costs. It does not even matter which establishment you are fucking, which says volumes about you and your integrity.

T. Jamison-Finger