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Letters to Globe Magazine

March 13, 2011

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Readers get hot under the collar

My gasps of horror while reading Francie Latour’s essay “Sick Over Jungle Fever” (Perspective, February 20) were not due to surprise that racism and stereotyping still exist, but rather to the audacity of those who feel that they won’t be openly challenged if they express those kinds of views. J.C. Davies’s book I Got the Fever: Love, What’s Race Gotta Do With It? is sheer inflammatory provocation. It will, unfortunately, feed off overt as well as underground prejudice, all in the name of making headlines and money for the publishers.

After I read the essay aloud to my Jewish husband of more than 25 years, I sifted through the too-numerous-to-count times that I have been witness to such remarks. While not in a mixed racial marriage, I can relate to Latour’s experience. With color, the differences are out there for all to see. With religion, you just never know. I converted to Judaism prior to marrying my husband, and I am fairly open about having been in a different faith. But this has led to far too many stereotypical comments ranging from the well intended and curious to the outright anti-Semitic. I have sat though far too many lunches with co-workers retelling how someone “Jewed” them down. My husband and I have heard countless jokes and comments about being cheap, money hungry, anti-Jesus, and, yes, in possession of horns (I kid you not).

Idiots still exist, ignorance still exists, and racism indeed still exists. If there’s one thing – and there are many – that my parents taught me, it was to speak up and speak out. I may not be able to change what people say, but I sure can choose how I respond to it. I have to believe that makes a difference. And when enough of us do speak up, people like Davies won’t have a market for their insidious and brainless books.

Alicia Vacaro Multer / Holliston
As a white male in a relationship with a black female, I could not help but laugh at some of the humor expressed by Latour’s husband in the essay, nor could I control my head shaking at the message portrayed by the author of the dating book. My lady friend and I do not consider ourselves any type of a laboratory experiment, but rather two people sharing a fulfilling relationship. I am proud to walk down the street with her, not because we are different, but because we truly care about each other. The fever we share is for the coming of spring, which we trust will put an end to the snow, allow us to again comfortably ride our bicycles, and signal the beginning of another Red Sox season.

John Mack / Hyde Park
As I was finishing Latour’s piece, I was thinking, “I should show this to my husband.” Her comments were right on, and we both liked her combination of humor, lack of bitterness, and lack of rose-veiled view. Nice.

Alicia Frick / Sherborn
I cannot say how much I enjoyed Latour’s essay, especially her final line: “If there’s anything to be said about love between races, it’s that it’s weird and subtle and thick - sometimes painful but also gloriously hopeful. And it doesn’t have anything to do with flavors or fevers.” We have so many different cultures in the United States, and yet it is still so hard to discuss the issue of interracial relationships. I think they are one of the most beautiful sights around.

Kristy Gonzalez / Lancaster
Correspondence school

I got a chuckle out of the letter from M.D. in Boston complaining about the “bragging letters” she receives from relatives (Miss Conduct, February 20). I’ve found that in most of the annual updates I receive, the letters usually reflect the personalities of their writers. There’s the cheerful aunt who writes about the kinds of volunteer activities she’s been involved with; the superior cousin by marriage who sends oh-we’ve-accomplished-so-much-and-aren’t-our-kids-so-precocious letters; and the aunt whose life seems to have lurched from one drama to another and whose letters detail the same. So when I get the updates, I just accept them for what they are and whom they represent.

In a similar vein, after about 40 years of almost no interaction with my father’s side of the family, I was recently contacted via Facebook by a cousin now living in Florida. That led to more contact with other cousins in my generation. We’ve updated the family tree, and six of us (from Florida, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Massachusetts, and Nova Scotia) have pledged to send at least monthly e-mail updates to keep the communication flowing. The content of the letters is almost unimportant – it’s the fact that we’re all reaching out to one another to share our lives that is meaningful to us.

Randy Shipp / Boston
Cupid’s aim is true

Hooray for Gordon and Melinda! I read Dinner with Cupid every week and never peek to see the final grades. When I read the column on January 30, I was happy that the couple seemed to be genuinely attracted to each other and enthusiastic about a second date. Finally, a couple that got it right. Sparks don’t often fly at the first meeting. Some of the younger couples in your column seem to expect instant fireworks. In my case, I didn’t fully appreciate my husband’s wit and charm until our second and third dates. Thank goodness I gave him another chance after our first blind date. It also helped that I thought he was very handsome. We’ve been married more than 40 years.

Natalie Cinelli / Methuen

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