Letters to the Editor

Credit cards as financial crack; does race determine intelligence?


Letters to the Editor
May 3, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Financial crack
BY DEBRA DICKERSON

(04/26/99)

I read Debra Dickerson's article fully prepared to be outraged at those
who would dare to lend us money. Then I read her list of gripes -- evil
credit card policies of which consumers are unaware -- and a feeling of
dij` vu washed over me. I had already seen these policies, in the fine print of the agreements I signed
when I got my credit cards.

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Dickerson's statement "you probably don't know you've been jacked,
because all they have to do is send you one of those gobbledygook,
fine-print legalese notices none of us ever bothers to read" was most
telling. If it affects you, read it and understand it. If you don't, then
be prepared to live with the consequences.

And those poor college students? They're old enough to "Rock the Vote,"
but too young to read their agreements or know that they can't
continually spend money they don't have? No wonder they're taking so
many remedial English and math courses.

There is so much competition out there for your wallet space that if a
card company tries to pull a fast one on you, find a new card company.
Oh wait, that would require you to read your credit card statements,
which you probably don't do. Never mind. Blaming the card companies is
so much easier.

-- Patrick Solomon

I spent six months working call center lines for a major retail carrier with its own line of credit cards. Though I shudder to remember the 200-plus calls a day I received from plaintive customers, it was the best education I could have had detailing the horrors of credit. Forget about mail-offer credit cards -- these days you can go into most retail stores and open an account on the spot. Not only does this pave the way for increased consumer debt, it allows the ever-growing credit card fraud industry to grow by leaps and bounds.

I take pride in shredding credit card offers. If there's no cash, there's no purchase. I know credit is a way of life for many, but it doesn't have to be a necessity. I have one Visa, for emergencies, and all my spare cash goes to paying it off when that emergency arises. If I get an offer in the mail and think twice, all I have to do is remember the woman crying on the phone one day, insisting she wanted to pay, and couldn't. I had to transfer her call to "Charge-Offs," where people who can't pay go -- the credit card version of hell. I never want to be that person -- but every time you think of saying yes to an offer, you're one step closer.

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-- Stacie Scattergood

The false trade-off
BY MICHAEL CROWLEY

(04/27/99)

Your article parsing the distinctions between Boston and New York is right
on. But like so many modern perspectives on racism, it still obviates the
deeper need for white self-honesty. Whites are
bred of racist fiber and will continue to transfer this madness onto the most
convenient target(s). The only way to stop "police brutality" is to stop
racism. Period. Today New York City is a Babylon of socio-political polarization; I've never
seen anything like it. Yet the causative constant in this equation is undeniably racism.

-- Benier Koranache

New York


Reading genes in black and white

BY CHRIS COLIN

(04/26/99)

Your recent article about Glayde Whitney was a disgraceful
and cowardly piece of propaganda without even the merest pretense of
objectivity. The validity of Whitney's position should
be the focus of the piece, not yet another mindless recital of the
politically correct party line on race. Chris Colin writes as if it's already been
proven that Professor Whitney is wrong. The fact is that Whitney is a serious scientist with a mountain of evidence on his side. The majority of scientists who study IQ agree with Whitney -- when they can vote
anonymously -- but the public doesn't know this because the ultra-liberal
media have been blatantly lying to them for decades.

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Colin ought to try reading something substantive before writing his next
article. Maybe he doesn't care about the truth, in which case he should be
notified that the world is changing, and pious blathering of political
correctness is going out of style.

-- Marian Van Court

It's an interesting coincidence that the white researchers who profess a
purely scientific interest in investigating the alleged intellectual
inferiority of blacks never seem to get around to looking at the other
controversial conclusion found in research of this type: namely, that
whites are intellectually inferior to Asians.

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-- Steve Hull

Stepmother in love
BY ARLENE GREEN

(04/26/99)

Thank you to Arlene Green for speaking for all of us "wicked
stepmothers" out here. For nearly four years, I have been on a roller-coaster
ride of exhaustion, elation, anger, depression, joy and wonder as my three
stepkids, now 10, 13 and almost 16, went from being my "Disneyland children"
to my physical and emotional (not to mention financial) responsibility. How
their "real" mom can live without the joy of seeing them grow up is beyond
me. How she can hurt them as much as she has infuriates me. But I, their
father and their two little brothers are eternally grateful for her failure.
Her children aren't just surviving, they're thriving. And hard as it can be
sometimes, I feel pretty lucky to be one of the reasons why.

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-- Lisa Canfield

Funny thing happened while I was reading Salon. I clicked on an article imagining that I would
get an insightful essay about being a stepmother. Instead, I got a screed
by a jealous, angry, vindictive woman who can't stand the fact that her
stepson still loves his real mother (whom the stepmom makes sure to tell us
is a gay junkie too screwed up for family life). The best part about all this? The stepmother claims to feel this way
because she loves little Billy so much. That's why she
hates it so much that the poor kid is still attached to his natural mother.

The author tells us repeatedly that she is not an evil stepmother. Well,
after chewing out her stepson for feelings he can't help and publicly
humiliating the object of those feelings, all the while claiming that her
only sin is to love too much, what the hell does she think she is?

-- Savannah Jahrling

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Money-shot fever

BY ANN MARLOWE

(04/24/99)

Men aren't going to allow themselves to become obsolete, since men, as
usual, will be playing the pivotal role in developing this technology. As
long as women continue to eschew engineering and the sciences in favor of a
liberal arts education, they will continue to be consigned to the
passenger seat of technology. Ann Marlowe's trendy pomo prose and politics
makes for a very precise illustration of this concept.

-- Scott Melchionda

Ann Marlowe's interpretation of the Onan story pulls out too soon,
as Onan did.

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In Jewish tradition at the time, if a man died leaving a childless
widow, it was incumbent upon his brother to impregnate the widow on the
dead man's behalf. The resulting child (hopefully male) would be
considered by law the child of the dead man, responsible for taking care
of its mother in her dotage, but more to the point, in line to inherit
the dead man's property.

Onan knew that if he impregnated his brother's widow, he would be very
literally screwing himself out of inheriting his brother's estate. It
was not the spilling of seed in itself that was wrong and got Onan in
trouble, it was his greed. Onan's selfish unwillingness to fulfill his
obligation to his dead brother and his sister-in-law is the sin this
parable warns us about, not masturbation.

This misinterpretation has taken on a life of its own over the
centuries. It is unfortunate that masturbation has taken such a beating
for it, even for those of us with no seed to spill. I wish Marlowe had
completed the act.

-- Barbara Staley

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Bigots and hate-mongers come in all sizes, shapes and colors. It is truly
amazing that even today we tolerate group hatred. To imply that author Ann
Marlowe was merely exercising her First Amendment rights in her anti-male
hate piece would be ridiculous. Human beings have
intrinsic worth independent of any other human being's ability to appreciate
them. The underlying message of this article was hateful, and should be
frowned upon and roundly criticized.

To follow her logic to its horrific conclusion, we should be admonished to
declare infertile human beings "irrelevant". And maybe Anne would have us
declare old people "obsolete"? Even if this article was designed to be
humorous, its premise is highly offensive.

Freedoms need to be balanced by responsibility. Speak loudly when you hear
hatred expressed in public or private forums. Do not give shelter to those
who, today, are on the list of people allowed to speak hatred. No group
should be given carte blanche to proselytize that another group of humans
are "useless."

-- Keith Weber

Santa Ana, Calif.

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