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October 28, 2005 | Page 4

Cosby wasn't blaming victims
Stereotypes at the Red Cross
Military can't handle bird flu

Inspired by September 24

I WENT to the September 24 antiwar march on Washington, and it was an incredible experience.

I was disappointed at the media (non)coverage of the protest. Tens of thousands of people, and CNN decides to focus on the 100 that came out to support King George and the war? It's ridiculous, but not surprising. We know the truth--most Americans want an immediate end to the war and occupation!

I am proud to be a socialist and a member of the International Socialist Organization, and it was affirmed this weekend.

It was heartening to see thousands and thousands of people converge on the nation's capital to protest this disgusting capitalist war. The left has a big (but not impossible) job ahead to bring in those who are looking for an alternative to the status quo. But we can do it! The march proved to me that we are gaining ground all over the place.

Let's build on the momentum of this mass protest and keep up the dialogue and action.
Karen Whyte, Cincinnati

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Cosby wasn't blaming victims

IT IS a rare day indeed when a Black person can offer "self" criticism on the state of Black America that does not provoke the knee-jerk response that the victim is being blamed ("Leading the 'blame the victim' chorus," October 7).

It is as if there are only two ways out of racial oppression, and one of the ways doesn't count: there is the solution by whites or there is the self-help solution by Blacks, with the latter always ruled out as illegitimate, because it blames the victim and lets racists off the moral hook.

Nonetheless, the logic of rejecting the Black self-help solutions is that only whites can legitimately and morally solve the race problem. But if you believe, as many Blacks apparently do, that many whites are incorrigibly racist, is it reasonable to expect them (who are its main beneficiaries) to solve problems of their own racism? Also, is it not absurd to put off solutions of your own that you think might work until such time as racists are able to heal themselves?

But how does any of this help a 25-year-old Black mother who must take care of herself, two teens and a toddler on $18,000 a year? How does it help to tell her she must wait for solutions until the "profit is taken out of the slums" or until "we change this system fundamentally?" Is there any progress anywhere on the two issues of profit in slums and fundamental change in the system that would give this mother hope for solutions in her lifetime?

Yes, perhaps you could argue that Cosby is blaming the victim if you had serious reason to doubt his intentions. I find it hard to doubt his intentions on this issue considering the millions he has given to Black universities. On the other hand, why would you interpret him that way when it is at least as reasonable and far more empowering to suggest that he is placing the possibility for everyday solutions well within the reach of ordinary parents?
Simon Walker, Emeryville, Calif.

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Stereotypes at the Red Cross

I'VE JUST finished reading Joe Allen's very informative article about the American Red Cross, and I have to say that I am now even more disgusted with that organization than I was before ("The truth about the Red Cross," October 21).

The Red Cross came to my workplace about two weeks ago for a blood drive. When my coworker attempted to donate, she was turned away. Why? Because she had once slept with an African man. And were my gay co-workers welcome to donate and thanked for their generosity? Of course not. (This in spite of the fact that the Red Cross runs all the blood it collects through no fewer than three different tests for HIV).

It would appear that in the minds of the right-wing bigots and corporate servants at the American Red Cross and Food and Drug Administration, AIDS is still the "gay plague" and the blood of all African people is tainted.
Jenni Rowe, Baltimore, Md.

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Military can't handle bird flu

YOUR ARTICLE just gives me one more reason to detest the Shrub ("Bird Flu: The nightmare scenario," October 14). I agree with you that the military is not the answer to any of the threats from any illness.

As to the Pentagon being the "best" agency to do the logistics, that is total crap. I did a four-year enlistment and a 13-month tour in Vietnam with the Marines. Military planning is only a bit better than the other oxymoron, "military intelligence." Our military forces are trained to fight wars--that is, to kill the "other guy." The military is not trained to do crowd control, disaster relief or any other such humanitarian mission.

In my opinion, Shrub is just taking us all closer to a total police state. When will the rest of the American people ever wake up to this most criminal of administrations? Thank you for a most informative article.
Charlie Ehlen, from the Internet

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