`Boondocks': Racist or revelatory? K. A. Rupert's...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

June 12, 1999

`Boondocks': Racist or revelatory?

K. A. Rupert's letter " `Boondocks' strip found offensive and racist" (May 30) raised important issues about the comic strip. But, as an African-American/black American/person of color (or whatever the politically correct designation is this week), I find that the strip's message resonates.

It is satirical, but art imitates life. I identify with the characters, Huey and Riley, and how they are portrayed. Unless you are a "person of color," perhaps you cannot relate to the characters and their interaction with people in their neighborhood (particularly, the strip when a person walked into the street to avoid contact with Riley).

I agree with Ms. Rupert that we don't want our children reading comics that worsen the problems between the races. But isolating children, and shielding them from the reality of these issues, does them a grave disservice.

If the "Boondocks" or another comic strip can raise awareness of these problems, then so be it.

Rod Johnson, Havre de Grace

The comic strip "The Boondocks" is racist, sexist and violent.

It is not funny, educational or uplifting. It is not appropriate for a comic page read by children.

I hope you will remove it from The Sun immediately.

Bruce Barnett, Baltimore

I find "The Boondocks" to be highly degrading and insulting to an entire segment of the population. It appears to me that its mission is to destroy any progress that has been made in eliminating stereotypical and defamatory connotations about African-Americans.

This strip is far from amusing or entertaining. Why would The Sun promote and support the archaic prejudicial position implied by this distasteful strip?

Have The Sun's computers already succumbed to the Y2K syndrome and reverted to 1900?

Michael Birnbaum, Baltimore

I am an Afrocentric black woman who eagerly anticipates "The Boondocks." I wondered how long it would it be before someone expressed hatred of this provocative work. The Sun published such a rebuke from K. A. Rupert on May 30. (" `Boondocks' strip found offensive and racist.")

Ms. Rupert's criticism of the strip seems to come from the dominant, white-man- centered cultural context.

It is thus out-of-context because Aaron McGruder's comedic genius comes from the context of the black experience.

I welcome Mr. McGruder's bringing both intraracial and interracial tensions out in the open. He provides comic relief for sad, festering problems.

For example, his episodes about our identity crises, like moving to the suburbs, changing the name of our race, and debating about our hair, are real dilemmas.

Far be it from me to deny Ms. Rupert's right to self-expression. However, I want to thank The Sun for the diversity offered by "The Boondocks."

Orisha Kammefa, Baltimore

I feel compelled to write to state an opinion of "The Boondocks." My wife and I find this work inflammatory, abusive and of little redeeming value.

We suggest The Sun tell Aaron McGruder either to start cleaning up his act or the newspaper will drop the strip.

R. W. Kellogg, Lutherville

I am offended and appalled by The Sun's printing that horrible cartoon " The Boondocks."

It hasn't had a single humorous moment.

The character "Riley" is a hateful, mean-spirited, African American male portrayed as a poor inner-city kid suddenly thrust into the life of suburbia. He revels in causing mayhem and chaos for his neighbors, especially girls his own age.

In a recent strip, he was featured beating a girl with a toy light saber and complaining because the girl is still alive. Is this supposed to be funny?

In this day, when there is so much hatred between the races and violence among our youth, do we need more of the same in the comics?

Does the African-American community want to see the stereotype of a black, juvenile delinquent inner-city kid perpetuated? If the author of this strip weren't black, I bet the NAACP would clamor for its removal and an apology from The Sun.

There are enjoyable African-American strips -- "Curtis" and "Herb and Jamaal" come to mind -- that are full of ethnic flavor.

Come on people: Tell The Sun to drop this nasty, small-minded strip.

Cynthia Matthews, Columbia

Schmoke deserves a break

The Sun's editorial "Fiscal gloom ahead for Baltimore City" (May 29) implies that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has done nothing during the past 12 years to deal with the city's economic situation and limited revenue base. Nothing could be further from the truth.

During that period, under the mayor's stewardship, the city has operated within its available resources, provided tax relief to encourage businesses and individuals to locate in the city, downsized its government, strengthened its financial condition and maintained its bond ratings.

During the same period, some other East Coast cities' bond ratings were lowered or their financial activities were placed under external financial control boards.

General fund full-time employee positions, excluding public safety positions, have been reduced 26 percent since 1988.

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