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LETTERS

The Naked Truth
It seems to me that Patricia Calhoun is the one who should be sent to the showers to cool off, rather than Coach VanderMolen ("Coach Turns Into Pumpkinhead," April 12). What is so bad about the coach standing up for the rights of female students? If they do not want to undress in front of women with "alternative" lifestyles (as the politically correct so incorrectly phrase it), then they should not have to. We would not force them to undress in front of heterosexual men, would we?

Ed Johnson
Arvada

Patricia Calhoun, thank you for your article about the situation at Longmont High School. Although I had heard about it on the news, I had no idea what was really happening until I read your story. This is not a situation about lifestyle choices; it's about one man who will bully everyone who does not choose to agree with him.

Lee Hunter
Denver

Your article on Coach VanderMolen was very unfair. It is very apparent that Westword is prejudiced against conservative Christians. You go out of your way at every opportunity to attack them, and you never portray them in a positive light. I would urge you to look into your hearts and then change your ways.

Name withheld on request

A Matter of Course
After reading yet another article about Native Americans in your April 12 paper, I have decided to no longer give your articles the journalistic respect that I once did. I will continue to read Westword, but only as a tool to remind me that any form of media in this country is controlled by someone, and most of the time the reader is subjected to the writer's bias or subjectivity. I have noticed that Westword seems to be blatantly anti-Native American. An example of this is clearly evident from the story last July about a lady who trusted a supposed medicine man and ended up filing charges against him; I now notice in Steve Jackson's "Overturned" that there is to be a retrial on that subject. My point is this: Westword deliberately misled the readers by putting a black-and-white photo of that woman on the cover. Even though Jackson said the victim was blue-eyed, the cover added credibility to the story. I do not know of the guilt or innocence of the medicine man involved; that is for the courts to decide. All I know is what I read, and it seemed to me that Westword deliberately turned a criminal case into a tool to discredit Native American spirituality.

Coming from a state that promotes anti-Native American feelings (South Dakota), I sympathize with the Metro State student Lily Boyce. In the article "A Course of a Different Color," by Claudia Hibbert, it seems that once again Westword has decided to discredit a Native American in order to try and put down Native Americans as a whole. As a former student from a small Minnesota liberal arts university and a history major, I have taken Native American history classes taught by non-Native Americans. It appears to this reader that the professor in this case is not the sort who would appreciate knowledge that a Native American could add to his class. Obviously, the student has a complaint in regard to the credibility of this professor or his teaching methods. One must remember objectivity when teaching history and not let one's personal view cloud the truth.

In closing, I would just like to wish Lily Boyce luck and say I know what she's going through: If you smile and are pleasant, then you are a good Indian; if you don't, the people in control try to make you into a fool or liar in order to discredit you. I also would like to issue Westword a challenge: You can continue to be part of the conspiracy to keep the real owners of this country in poverty and disgrace, or you can try and do your job, which I gather was to report the stories you print with objectivity and without bias!

Sheridan One Feather
Aurora

I noted with amusement (bemusement?) the two stories in your recent City Limits section regarding who is eligible to teach Native American history/religion. I know that it is politically incorrect to do so, but I must say that the whole topic strikes me as a tempest in a tepee.

Joe Ramirez
Denver

I am writing this letter in response to Claudia Hibbert's "A Course of a Different Color." I have taken Professor Altherr's Native American history class at Metro State and would offer him only praise. I found the subject matter and its delivery to be interesting, informative, decidedly sensitive and not racist. The course covered more than the historical framework of dates, places and people central to the study of Native American history; it also covered the changing cultural pressures and imperatives unique to specific tribes and their leaders. More important, Professor Altherr stressed the causal effect these pressures had in determining the differing responses of individual tribes to white encroachment and violence.

 

During the three months I was in his class, Professor Altherr never offered or accepted broad generalizations of any ethnic group, and in doing so, he forced a humanization of a subject too often relegated to the good guy/bad guy trash heap of pseudo-academic garbage.

In conclusion, Lily Boyce's assertion that whites cannot teach Native American history should be held in the same contempt as the Aryan Nation's claim that blacks cannot teach European history. To find the party guilty of racism, Ms. Boyce need only look in the mirror.

Mitch Allen
Denver

Editor's note: Claudia Hibbert's story incorrectly reported that a Hispanic freshman had left Metro State after someone scrawled a racial slur on her picture in the student newspaper, The Metropolitan. Although the student said at the time that she was thinking about leaving school, she's still enrolled at Metro but is currently studying in Mexico. And while members of Metro's publications board criticized The Metropolitan's editor for running the caption "Wounded Me" under a photograph of Lily Boyce, the board did not officially reprimand him or the paper, which is independent.

Hyperbolic Hyperbole
Regarding Michael Paglia's "I.M. Pissed," in the April 12 issue:
Thank you for recounting the actual sequence of events regarding Zeckendorf Plaza and the threatened "hyperbolic paraboloid," for which there is a public hearing this week. Perhaps there is yet hope to save this work of art.

We are victims of consumerism--whether or not that may involve urban renewal--in which the individual is reduced to consumer status, an economic cog in the mechanistic system of production and consumption that seeks to destroy the beauty of the natural world. I am speaking of art as a necessity of life not separated from our daily routines; art as a function of humanity, not just shaped by utilitarianism, as evidenced by the cult of efficiency and the development and exploitation of natural resources; and the resultant one-dimensional and unsatisfying environment, both emotional and physical, we are creating for ourselves and our children vis a vis "the elegant glass box." Denver is drowning in elegant glass boxes, all of them basically the same design, made of the same materials and composed of the same boring and uninspiring lines. Gone are so many beautiful and great structures, including my home, which was razed by the Westminster Assembly of God Church to erect a gymnasium before they had ever paid a dime on the principal. Unfortunately, a few years ago, getting landmark status was not only uncommon in Denver, it was unheard of for a home, especially one of contemporary architecture. Not in Europe or even back East is this true. Even the North Carolina farmhouse my grandmother was born in is a national landmark.

It is plainly a question of dignity. Whether or not the structure was a product of I.M. Pei's handiwork, it is simply a lovely thing to look at, chockful of people and years. It is more than lines on a blueprint or a computer-contrived image. We are talking about the concept of humanitas. So huzzah for Historic Denver and the strongly committed individuals who strive to maintain the integrity and beauty of our environment. Let it not be unknown that by attempting to save our structures, you are really sparing our sanity.

Rebecca Beshore
Wheat Ridge

Bench Warrant
In her April 5 column rendering judgment on Judge Armatas, "His Honor?," Patricia Calhoun overlooks one important point: There is a reason it's called bankruptcy "protection." It would be illegal to take the judge's position away merely because he filed bankruptcy.

J.T. Cole
Denver

In Calhoun's column, Judge Armatas is vilified while a few biased Greeks and friends of the judge tender letters of support. Hopefully, the bankruptcy judge, who is actually the court's (i.e., U.S. District and Appellate courts') judicial officer, knows that the bankruptcy code is created for the honest debtor. I can name you at least three ignorant judicial officers on Colorado's bankruptcy "unit." Comes now His Honor's greatest critic, Mary DeGroot, who will bring back to the bench the purity Judge Armatas has so ably adulterated. If only.

If only Douglas Bruce had whispered to His Honor, "I'm Greek," just like King Harris whispers to Webb, "I'm black," and just like I would whisper to Frew, "I'm half-Irish," and to Crider, "I'm half-Hispanic."

As for me, I will vote for anyone who diversifies the bench by appointing non-lawyers to it. Qualification for bench duty should be the same as qualification for the executive and legislative branches of government.

 

Richard O. Grimes
Denver


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