No Comparison | Letters | Chicago Reader

No Comparison 

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Dear editor,

I find William Upski Wimsatt's mention of both Minister Farrakhan and James Baldwin in the same article ["Wigger: Confessions of a White Wannabe," July 8] to be a somewhat misguided reflection on black/white relations in urban America.

Farrakhan's teaching "white folks should be regarded with the same suspicion as snakes: not all of them are bad, but you don't want to go around picking up snakes to try to find a good one" seems flawed at its very core.

James Baldwin did some of his best writing and reflecting on racial issues while living as the only black man in a small Swiss village. In some abstract way, I can see a parallel between Baldwin's Swiss experience and Wimsatt's childhood in Hyde Park.

However, if Wimsatt truly wishes to provide his readers with insight on American race issues (and tension) I suggest he read a white author, Studs Terkel, and follow his reading up with a solid course in economics. An important cultural ambassador like a "wigger" should not lose sight of his objectivity.

Joe Whitehead

Lincoln Park


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