Regarding "Slave reparations are unlikely, but lawsuit may prod companies" (March, 28): Your article states that the case by slave descendants against companies including CSX rail company "may be a long shot." I would agree and say that even most black Americans realize checks won't be in the mail anytime soon for slavery reparations or for the years of the Black Codes, Jim Crow, lynchings, segregation, oppression, poverty, redlining, profiling, and discrimination. But even though these lawsuits may seem tenuous, I, for one, am glad to see such suits finally materializing. Maybe it will help to change white America's dismissive attitude when it comes to slavery, race, and race relations. And, just maybe, it will help all Americans realize that, after 300 years, we should all finally begin working on this together.
Pamela A. Hairston
Your News in Brief page (March 26) referred to a statement made by Halle Berry after becoming the first African-American to win the category of best actress at this year's Academy Awards. She is quoted as saying: "I hope this means that they won't see our color...." But was it not this very "color" that Ms. Berry used to break barriers, make the history books, and gain recognition in playing Dorothy Dandridge, an African-American actress? It would seem now that she has "arrived," she desires not to include black in her title as an actress. Being of African descent is not something to be overlooked.
As we all well know, in America the African slaves were stripped of their dignity as a human beings through the use of mental and physical bondage. Being "black" today is about embracing faith and empowerment as well as remembering, honoring, and respecting one's ancestors who survived the unthinkable. Berry is a proud and accomplished woman of a strong and proud heritage. Why not celebrate it? She should want the world to see and embrace the beauty of her color through her talents and strengths.
Regarding "Mounting evidence links TV viewing to violence" (March 29): If television weren't capable of persuading people to change their behavior, do you think corporations would spend billions on advertising?
The only scientific study we need is the one which shows that the smartest people in advertising are buying TV time to advertise everything from roach killers to automobiles. If they weren't getting results, they wouldn't buy the time.
Of course television changes behavior. It conditions us by making us numb to what might have been shocking the first 100 times something was viewed. It is time to bury this ridiculous question.
Regarding "Goodnight, Uncle Miltie" (Editorial, 29): My dad was the general manager for a Broadway show starring Milton Berle, in the mid-'80s called "Goodnight, Grandpa" where the then-75-year-old Berle, played a 100-year-old man. Only George Burns could have been equal to the task.
Unfortunately, the show was a horrendous production and it closed in about a week. But I did get the chance of a lifetime to meet the television legend on opening night and found him to be funny, personable, and down to earth. I'll always cherish the photo that was taken with him and my dad. I only regret not getting it autographed. He will be sorely missed for his humor, ingenuity, and passion for his craft, something lacking in many of today's comedians.
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