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Getting past the ape image

March 07, 2009

Re "A hateful link," Opinion, Feb. 28

The perception that African Americans are subhuman is not just the result of the long-standing caricature of black people as apes. Since the inception of this nation, American institutions have contributed to the defamation of black people in a variety of ways.

Authors of the Constitution described each slave as three-fifths of a man. White clergymen once preached that black people were the cursed descendants of Ham, the biblical son of Noah. To this day, Hollywood producers besmirch the black image with impunity. Furthermore, many white scientists and historians dismiss Afro- centric scholars as pseudo- scientific revisionists.

Purging the perception of black people as subhuman will take an effort as comprehensive, if not as costly, as the president's economic stimulus package. It should focus as much on politicians, ministers, movie moguls and academics as it does on newspaper cartoonists.

Legrand H. Clegg II

Compton

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Black citizens are unfortunately associated with high crime rates and are often depicted as criminals in the media. Too many black rappers sing about killing cops.

These stigmas overshadow the achievements of upstanding African Americans. We can change this by improving high-crime neighborhoods through education, by encouraging more fairness in the media and by keeping our children from listening to the cop-hating trash.

Barack Obama did not get to be president by hanging out with a bunch of thugs and listening to "Cop Killer" and "U Not Like Me."

Crime rates in black neighborhoods, the media and corrupting music are real and combatable -- unlike the black-monkey specter that allegedly haunts our subconscious.

William Blond

Daegu Buk-gu,

South Korea

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