Gains of African Americans reach beyond peanut butter
Shame on The Temple News for going to “HireABlackPerson.com” to find its writer for its one and only Black History Month article [“There’s more to black history,” Feb. 21]. The author, Dashira Harris, begins her descent into journalistic hell when she begins her article giving a dormitory cafeteria props for having posters of not-so-famous black Americans on its walls, yet the list of those black Americans is compiled of the same names I’ve been hearing since kindergarten. Benjamin Banneker, Sojourner Truth, Phyllis Wheatley, W.E.B. DuBois, and Mme. C.J. Walker?
Who doesn’t know these names? I felt embarrassed for and by the writer of this article. And to go through the recycled list of innovations and inventions by blacks in the name of Black History Month was the nadir. Blacks have achieved feats since peanut butter and the traffic light. Maybe next time The Temple News should consult the Department of African American Studies for their extensive lists of celebrations, lectures and recitals going on during Black History month and the rest of the year. This is just as sad as the sucky Black History film series that played at The Reel.
Chemicals hide under the guise of hookah smoke
I need to take a moment to offer some corrections to your hookah editorial [“Hookah Hypnosis,” Feb. 28]. Current research shows that hookah use provides the user with increased levels of nicotine (compared to cigarettes) and thus increases the potential for addiction.
Take this concept to the lives of students, who can’t access or afford to visit hookah bars all that often, and you increase the number of people that might begin smoking cigarettes. Now you have gone from exploring cultural differences to nicotine dependence. You state that hookahs aren’t as “lethal,” but smoking is smoking – regardless of the form. The dangers in consuming tobacco are not made less by using a hookah. It is a documented myth that the filtering effects of water in a hookah are better than cigarettes. The simple truth – smoking from a hookah presents equivalent harm to that of smoking cigarettes or being in a smoke-filled environment (environmental tobacco smoke).
You also claim that hookahs do not contain the same chemicals as cigarettes, but the very same who information you cite also shows that the cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes are also in the tobacco smoke from hookahs. Having been born and raised outside the United States (six countries on four continents), I applaud your effort to promote cultural exploration and understanding. However, for the future, we should be in the business of suggesting options that are both fully factual and not known to present harm or addiction potential to Temple students.
-Michael P. McNeil
Temple Health Empowerment Office
O’Reilly confuses an already dazed audience
I disagree with Sean Blanda’s claim [“O’Reilly should be praised for passion and vigilance,” Feb. 28] that Bill O’Reilly is a figure who should be praised for hard-hitting journalism. For O’Reilly, a typical night on the O’Reilly Factor consists in repeating distortion of facts, including his insistence that Iraqi terrorists had something to do with 9/11 (Sept. 27, 2004); berating and cutting of the mic for guests who may disagree with his ultra-conservative mantra, including Jeremy Glick, the son of a 9/11 victim (Feb. 4, 2003); and promoting the Republican talking points of Fox News chairman and former Reagan media strategist Roger Ailes.
Just recently, O’Reilly has made several outrageous, offensive comments, including calling local New Orleans’ rebuilders after Katrina “homies” who “are just not going to get the job done” (Radio Factor, Feb. 27) and threatening a caller who mentioned rival Keith Olbermann with a “little visit” from “Fox security” (Radio Factor, March 2).
Though Blanda may admire O’Reilly’s concern for children, including his children’s book, basing one’s criterion for a show’s worth on such a biographical note is not really concerted analysis of O’Reilly’s contribution to contemporary public discourse, a contribution that I would contend is negligible at best. In fact, at the same time that O’Reilly’s children’s book was published he was being sued for sexual harassment towards a former female employee. Indeed, O’Reilly, who burned many bridges in network broadcasting before coming to Fox News, has a biography that should not be celebrated.
My main concern with Blanda’s endorsement of this rightly-described “controversial” figure, however, is what O’Reilly and the rest of Fox News has done to modern broadcasting. No one can argue against his very high cable ratings, but this comes at a cost: Instead of serious, deliberative consideration of contemporary American politics, those with the most theatrical, Jerry Springer-esque formats are rewarded for their efforts. Not coincidentally, those Americans who were uninformed about whether or not WMDs were actually found in Iraq and whether or not Saddam Hussein indeed had ties to 9/11 terrorists were overwhelming Fox News viewers, according to some reports. O’Reilly contributes to such a misinformed public as we have had in recent years, and his legacy will be one of continued disregard for open, honest debate in this country.