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Re: 6165: This Week in Haiti 18:38 12/6/00 : a reply from Leslie

From: michael.o.leslie@gm.com

To Dan Johansson,
As a 47 year old African American who has recently made his first trip to Haiti
let me assure you, in general,  the American system has NOT worked incredibly
Pick up a book called "Without  Sanctuary Its a new book that has reproduced the
horrible photo postcards of lynching of Black and Jewish men and women in
America. The post cards, showing black men hanging, were sold and mailed like
Christmas cards around the US.  There's some interesting comments about how US
presidents were silent about the killings. Yes, Mr. Johansson, America has
experienced  bloody transations since the 1800s.
Pick up Paula Gidding's book When and Where I Enter and read how  Ida B. Wells,
a reporter and founder of the NAACP, fought the US government 1920s. She wrote a
pamphlet protesting the US Marine invasion of Haiti and how a number of Marines
were involved in mass rapes of Haiti women.
Mr.  Johansson should check out the epidemic of police killings and assaults
against Blacks, Latino and Asians in cities like Detroit, philly, LA, Chicago,
Texas, Chattanooga, Florida and New Orleans. Or check out the "Innocents
Project" where to date, roughly 78 Black and Latino men and women, sentenced to
receive the Death Penalty, have been found innocent and released due to DNA
testing and competent investigations. Or maybe I should start with stories of my
father who, after coming to Detroit in the 1950s, experienced an incredible
amount of racial violence's in the auto industry, as a city employee and in
encounters with the Detroit police. The odd thing is, 20 years later, I would
have some of the same encounters, without the violence, with police offices
while driving back and forth to work. And just last year, my 19 year old nephew,
was handcuffed and detained by suburban police because he fit a "profile" of a
Black suspect who was to have robbed and shot up a store. Ever heard the term
"driving while Black?"
In 1993 I ran for union president at a auto plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I was
the current vice president, degrees, experienced in organizing, taught
part-time, conducted workplace cancer studies, etc, etc. This particular UAW
local had never had a Black president. I lose the election to a man named Keith
Kaye. For this particular election Mr. Kaye campaigned as Keith "Kenny" Kaye. Do
the math-what do those letters represent? My opponent is a former Westland
policeman with a history of assaulting Blacks, he's did prison time (I don't
why), got out of prison and got a job at my plant. He had a racist cable TV show
in Westland, more trouble with the police, etc., etc. In America we give
lip-service to equality and education. Some are told to "pull themselves up by
their bootstraps." I've done that, my family has that in its blood and it
doesn't matter. I lost my election to a racist ex-con, bad cop, a man who would
continue his racism until we got him out of office three years later. This isn't
the old south-this incident happened in the 90s.
This is not a condemnation of America, its just the "facts of life" for those of
us who've seen too much of America's "incredible" system.
 Mr. Johansson should stick to building  health clinics, drilling wells and
missionary work in Haiti and spent less time flag-waving. I, like many American,
work hard, study, vote, pay taxes, go to church, etc.--we've heard the song and
dance of the wonders of the  American system and have had to struggle to correct
it's horrendous flaws.
 Haitians, African Americans, Asians, poor/working class Whites and  Latinos
know the bite and pain of America's greatness. We know the US's history very,
very well.
Michael Leslie