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Community Forum: Derogatory phrases demean blacks, women
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We are using words that disgrace and stereotype blacks across America.

I would like to voice my opinion on how freely the young black generation is using the "N-word." It's become part of their every day conversation. You can't even turn on the radio or television without hearing young black performers using this word. In radio, it's bleeped out, but the next sentence usually rhymes with the word, and instantly you know what the bleeped out word was.

This word is a degrading and insulting word which was used during slavery and the civil rights movement to aggravate and disgrace our ancestors. This word is in nearly every rap song, which I'm not against rap, I love rap. I just don't like the meaning of the N-word.

Rap is a means of expressing ones feeling toward a person or situation. Our ancestors used song and dance as a means of mentally escaping everyday life, whether it be the hot fields of the south, church or means of communicating to another or code of some sort.

We struggled to get the state flag changed because to us it symbolized slavery. So what about the N-word? It, too, was used during slavery. Do we turn a deaf ear to this word that comes out of the mouths of this generation so easily?

The word has the same meaning today as yesterday. No matter who says it. We got the N-word removed from the dictionaries. Was that work done for nothing? Have we become comfortable hearing it?

We came from being called the N-word to Negro, to now being called black. But yet still, when a white person repeats what he or she hears on a CD, you become aggressive and conflicts erupt. Listen, we're unearthing a word that your parents and their parents fought so hard to bury.

Also, calling women by derogatory words has become common slang. Nowadays, no woman should be called these words. Would you call your mother that? I don't think so. We are descendants of kings and queens. They aren't female dogs, as we so vaguely proclaim in our music.

The bottom line is we need to chose our choice of words more carefully. Kids are growing up repeating what they hear and acting accordingly. Change starts with you.

Michael Jackson
Gainesville

City workers know how to celebrate, have fun
I read Bob Hamrick's letter in the community forum about the song "Here comes Sanitation." My mother lives in the city and she had told me the men on her route had on Santa Claus hats one day and the truck had a large green wreath on it.

This shows that people can have a little fun on the job. Thank you, sanitation employees, for the Christmas cheer.

Gail Strickland
Gainesville

Electoral College boosts federalism
With nary a thought to why the Electoral College exists in the first place, columnist Tom Crawford would kill it.

In fact, the Electoral College provides a vital and necessary role in our federal system: It allows the individual states themselves, along with the citizens thereof, a voice in selecting the president.

This makes the college a mechanism for protecting the differing interests of the separate states and of our various regions; it is one small force pushing candidates to seek a wider consensus from east to west, north to south. It is of vital interest to the small states.

Commentators who would prefer a national system over our federal system naturally want to dismantle the Electoral College. They would kill the college in the name of "expanding democracy." They ignore that we are a republic, a federal republic, with the states meant to play major roles in the federal government.

Our founders went out of the way to see that states themselves were represented at the highest levels of government, most notably the U.S. Senate, where, for example, North Dakota, population 636,000, has the same number of U.S. senators as California, population 36.5 million in 2006.

If those who would "expand democracy" succeed in killing the electoral college, would they next put the U.S. Senate in their cross hairs? Their logic tends in that direction: The Senate's "antidemocratic" tendencies are far more pronounced than are those they see in the Electoral College.

We are already far down a road of mega-electronic politics in which more and more Americans are disconnected from their government, and their government produces more in the way of gestures and appearances than the substance of sound policy. As this megamedia system grows, candidates and consultants will set up permanent camps in California, Florida, Texas, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The rest of us will watch the follies and reap the sad consequences for republican government.

The Electoral College is one small bulwark against the nastiest strains of what is happening. The college is also a small piece of our shrinking federalism, in which the states increasingly and unfortunately serve as administrative units of the U.S. government.

Contrary to Mr. Crawford's notions, it is well worth retaining.

Tack Cornelius
Gainesville

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