Denny's case needs trial, not guilt-free settlement

ROGER SIMON

June 28, 1993|By ROGER SIMON

Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:

B. Emmanuel Coates, Baltimore: Shame on you for making light of the charges of discrimination against Denny's restaurant. If it were left to people like you and your perception of equality, Rosa Parks would still be sitting on the back of the bus.

COMMENT: As an admirer of Rosa Parks, I am grateful for this opportunity to review a little history:

In 1955, Parks, 42, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in defiance of the city's segregation laws.

Parks was arrested, sent to jail, fined $14 (which she refused to pay) and touched off a 381-day bus boycott (lead by the young Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.) that resulted in the desegregation of the transit system.

As to the recent suit brought against Denny's by six black Secret Service agents, all I can say is that I hope it goes to trial so we can hear the evidence.

I hope it does not get resolved with one of those cash settlements where the complainants get paid off and the accused does not have to admit any guilt. I think civil rights suits should be about civil rights and not making a buck.

There is one aspect of the Denny's case that I completely missed, however. It was raised in the June 28 issue of the New Republic:

"The latest racial lawsuit to hit Denny's restaurant is a claim by six black Secret Service agents that, in a contingent of twenty-one agents -- seven black, fourteen white -- on a recent trip to Annapolis, Maryland, they were singled out for late and poor service. If true, it's a lamentable incident of discrimination. . . . But one question remains: Why, in a racially mixed contingent, were six black agents sitting separately anyway?"

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Carolyn Crittenden, Elkridge: There is not a female alive who does not remember the anguish of P.E. and the locker room and the -- ugh -- shower.

In a recent column you mentioned that in high school you and your classmates actually swam au natural. Women will not do this. Unless, of course, Robert Redford made some sort of Indecent Proposal.

COMMENT: In the movie "Indecent Proposal" Robert Redford offered Demi Moore $1 million to sleep with him even though she was married to Woody Harrelson. As many have pointed out, however, what woman wouldn't sleep with Robert Redford for free let alone $1 million? In my opinion, it would have been a much more interesting and provocative movie if Redford had offered the million dollars to Harrelson.

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Everett Friedman, Baltimore: Enclosed is a copy of The English Press, which contains a copy of your column. I bought the paper while passing through Zaragoza on a trip to Spain.

You'll note that the newspaper's subtitle is "El periodico para aprender ingles."

COMMENT: Which, as we all know, means a "newspaper for those learning English." It seems that the English Press, published in Madrid, chooses those articles from newspapers in England and the United States that are so simple-minded, so basic, so lacking in subtleties of language, that even people who barely understand English can grasp them.

The only trouble the editors run into with my column, however, is my use of vernacular. Which is why my column about buying a new car is printed in English but contains 84 words or phrases that must be translated into Spanish before anyone in Spain can understand what I am trying to say in English.

For example: "To dicker: regatear" and "everybody and their cousin: todo el mundo" and "the cut of your jib: tu estilo" and "lemme get this straight: a ver si entiendo."

I am, nonetheless, very happy to do my part to help people throughout the world murder the English language, and I look forward to the day when an entire generation of Spanish people will come to this country and speak exactly like me.

Outta sight! (Muy bien!)

*

Olivia S. Yeager, Fulton: You and my husband are in complete agreement. He's been telling me for years how "beneficial" yard work is. So last week I did a bit of it and lost three and a half pounds.

COMMENT: There's an even better system. It's called the "Governor Schaefer Yard Work Diet."

You have state troopers do your yardwork -- and they lose the weight for you!

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