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Going postal 

Theater and racism

Local Theater Upstaged

I can appreciate Perry Tannenbaum's review of the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions in Davidson and even his review for the symphony ("The Prom's The Thing," Feb. 14), but I can't believe he devoted a measly square inch of print to reviewing local theater productions in Charlotte -- specifically less than six sentences for Intimate Apparel and Mr. Marmalade each. I usually look to Perry's reviews to see if I want to spend my hard-earned $15-$25 per ticket at a local Charlotte theater company, but he's left me literally worse off than when I picked up your publication. I did check the Web site soon after writing the e-mail, thinking maybe the original was edited, and there wasn't much more devoted to either production. An extra sentence here and there ... still the same problem. It's a shame to devote that much print to a touring theatrical production (a production asking me to drive farther and spend $50 a ticket -- that doesn't even include a place to sit for three hours, for that matter!) when the local companies rely so much on reviews of their productions to draw in audiences and revenue.

-- Dallas Landrum, Charlotte

Equal Opportunity Racism

First of all thanks for an interesting well written article ("The Last Word on the 'N' Word," by Nsenga Burton, Feb. 7). It helped shed light on a topic I often don't think about. That being said, I would like to know what about racism towards African-Americans is any worse or any more important than racism towards any other group of people. I am a second-generation Italian-American. I wonder if that "washed comedian" had gone into a rant directed at some Italian-Americans using words such as "wop" or "guinnea" or maybe he had called some white guys "crackers," or maybe called some gay guys "fags," if he would have been on Letterman to apologize. My guess is probably not. I'm not trying to defend his behavior -- I just would like you to explain to me why it's worse when it's directed toward the African-American community. Why is my heritage not as well-protected and spoken for? The next time I see someone being racist against my culture on TV, I'd like to see someone on Letterman apologizing for it. The next time a network makes millions of Italian-American stereotypes, maybe those network executives can be held to the same media crucifixion that they are held to for offending the African-American community.

As crazy as it sounds, racists should be treated equally. Racism and racist remarks against any group should be treated with the same public outrage and national media attention given for offending the African-American community. If I may offer one reason that this might not happen, I believe most of the major media is owned and controlled by big business. They make their fortunes on the backs of the lower and middle class, as long as they can keep us fighting each other instead of uniting against them. I'm not trying to say racism is some big business conspiracy, but being poor and any color or creed is no advantage to anyone except those who profit from our labor. Privilege goes to the rich regardless of color. Maybe we should remember that and try to unite in our similarities instead of dividing in our differences, and stick it to the man, so to speak. Thanks for your time and consideration.

-- Jeff Tatu, Charlotte

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