‘You have struck a rock’

When I watched the press conference of the 10 women basketball players from Rutgers University who are Black and white, scholars and athletes, and their coach, in response to the vicious attacks by Don Imus, it brought me to tears.

In the first place I was moved by their eloquence, their strength and their dignity. And I too felt as many have said over the airwaves, “That could have been my daughter.”

I have two beautiful African American/Puerto Rican daughters, one 17 and one 20, one at Howard University and one who has just received letters of acceptance to Brown, Colgate, Antioch, Oberlin, Occidental and more. I, too, a single mother, who was once on welfare for 20 years, have struggled, sacrificed and worked hard to get where we are today. So when I watched the Rutgers press conference I, along with my daughters, could identify and the anger welled up! I don’t have to imagine what it took for those young women to get there. I know what it takes. It takes hard work on their part. Late night hours of studying, sacrificing and doing without, to be there. It takes the family, to work harder and give more, and sacrifice to pay the loans that keep increasing with the soaring tuition costs in order for our children to go to the schools that historically had rejected us as women of color, as academicians and athletes.

So when you heard this Imus comment it was like a punch to the stomach, forcing you to gasp for air, and when you recover, you want to recoil and punch back with all your might.

I have a T-shirt from the Free South Africa, Free Winnie and Nelson Mandela, Down with Apartheid days. The slogan on the shirt reads, “Now you have touched the women. You have struck a rock. You have dislodged a boulder. You will be crushed.”

I believe these words today speak to Imus and his racist-sexist remarks. I believe, with the unity of all people’s forces coming together at this time demanding the FCC set standards that oppose racism and sexism, that this statement holds true today, that racism and sexism can and will be crushed.

Maria Ortiz
Brooklyn NY

Class angle

This issue may be fading, but the class angle to the whole Imus story should be written about. We need a story that points the finger directly at corporate America. The mainstream press and even the Black press that I have read, so far, have not approached the problem in this way.

Black popular music didn’t used to be about denigrating women or the other lousy images portrayed. The hundreds of Black music labels that put out the tens of thousands of sweet tunes of the past were swallowed up years ago by big corporate labels that in turn have become huge entertainment conglomerates. In order to put music out in a mass way you have to have the money to pay the artists, the production process for the media (CDs or whatever), video production, radio and TV air time, etc. Even the biggest Black artists in the business, like Quincy Jones and MJ, don’t have all that.

It is the white-owned and -controlled entertainment industry that makes all that “entertainment” crap, including Imus, possible.

Paul S. Kaczocha
Gary IN

Source help

Does any PWW reader know the source of the saying, “Communism replaces dreams with science”? I have already checked the standard library web sites and quote books. Maybe I have it wrong. I was told Lenin said it.

Although “sloganeering” is frowned upon, recording it is as important as folk, labor and other poetry or songs documenting our history of struggle. All the more so, in the time of the sound byte.

Also does anyone know if the collected works of Marx, Engels and Lenin are on computer disc? the Internet?

Erskine Finlayson
Via e-mail


The Movement for Democratic Change wants to halt the land reform program and submit Zimbabwe to neoliberal shock treatments. The MDC is trying to violently overthrow the government and the elections in Zimbabwe have been judged to be free and fair by international observers so I don’t know how you can refer to Robert Mugabe’s government as authoritarian. (“Zimbabwe strife fueled by competing interests” PWW 4/14-20).

From what I have read Zimbabwe’s inflation is mainly due to foreign sanctions by the United States and Britain.

Sean Mulligan
Via e-mail

Our growing meanness

I applaud the networks for firing Don Imus after he made blatant racist, sexist remarks on air. I suggest they continue this process by firing all who continue making similar remarks.

However, I see this as part of a larger problem, our growing meanness. Bad enough the ruling class, through its perpetual, phony (but profitable) wars, is making the world hate the U.S. Much worse, their corporate-controlled media is making U.S. residents hate one another.

From kindergarten through graduate school, our capitalist education system promotes competition as our primary patriotic duty. We “need” winners and losers. The “free market” media augment this divisiveness through trivialized “news” articles, shouting “talk” shows, viciously artificial “reality” programs, advertisements for “fashionable” junk and gutter-language “popular” music.

Though I continue to hope our progressive activities will eventually awaken us from this fascist nightmare, I must paraphrase Bush by asking, “What is our children learning?”

David W. Mallisk
Wappingers Falls NY