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A Conditional Hue & Cry

December 19, 1987

I have been watching the media carefully for the last several days but have yet to see the hue and cry that the Dec. 9 airing of NBC's "The Bronx Zoo" should have produced. During the course of the program a black actor utters the line, "He'd be another nigger in a tie."

Given the brouhaha raised recently over the use of the word nigger in a Glendale courtroom, I fully expected to see the NAACP, Ira Reiner and others taking this opportunity to again raise people's consciousness as to the inappropriateness of this odious word and to gain a bit of political mileage for themselves.

To make things worse, the use of the word in the television program was clearly pejorative. The use in the courtroom was not, as subsequent investigation showed. The various protesters rightly stated that use of this word is inappropriate in any context. It seems by their silence that the protesters are now saying that use is conditionally inappropriate--that is, if you are a black actor on a liberal television program it is OK to use it, but if you are white it is not acceptable at any time.

This is the same double standard that has people protesting the white government of South Africa without uttering a word about Uganda or Haiti. To me this double standard smacks of racism and hypocrisy.

DAVID ALEXANDER

Long Beach

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