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Subject: Re: New Visa Issues for the US
From: Maria Louise Augusta Helleberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maria Louise Augusta Helleberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 14 Mar 2017 22:13:52 +0100
Content-Type:text/plain
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When and why did this Liebert/Angelou  car crash happen? Why does ML think
he knows all about us? He doesn't.
Maria Helleberg

2017-03-14 21:58 GMT+01:00 Michael Liebert <[log in to unmask]>:

> On Tue, 14 Mar 2017 01:22:07 -0400, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> >Michael
> >
> >I imagine that Maya Angelou knew the difference between "their"
> >and "there", or, did you mean "that there book"?
>
>
> Your cheap shot here affords me the opportunity to share this letter I
> wrote
> years ago when my daughter was assigned that Angelou book.  I assume that
> most here know nothing about Angelou save for her greatness, so read on.
>
> >>>>
> Mr. August xxxxxxxx, Principal
> xxxxxxxxxx Junior High School
> xxxxxxxx, NJ
>
> Dear Gus,
>
>     First, thank you for the invitation to the "brown bag" luncheon on
> Thursday, October 21. I look forward to attending.
>
>     I would like to restate my objection here to the assignment of Maya
> Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings as mandatory reading for my
> daughter (and others in 9-H) this past summer. I choose to do this in
> writing because it affords me an opportunity to organize my thoughts and it
> will allow you to consider what I say before we meet. I would hope that
> this
> can be a topic for discussion next week.
>
>     xxxxxxx had to read Angelou's book along with Cather's My Antonia; and
> she selected Twain's Prince and the Pauper from a list of titles as her
> third summer reading book. No objective educated person would include
> Angelou with Twain and Cather on a list of books which ninth graders should
> be assigned, except perhaps if it were in connection with a political
> science course. But this was not for political science. It was for English.
>
>     After we spoke at Open House, I had an opportunity to discuss this with
> Mrs. xxxxxxx whom you indicated was responsible for the summer reading
> selections. She told me how widely respected Angelou was and did not seem
> interested in my objections.
>
>     My objections did not grow out of dislike for the poem Angelou read at
> the Presidential inauguration, though I admit to being turned off by her
> praise of every ethnic group save those which were primarily responsible
> for
> building this country and its institutions. Rather the objections arise
> from
> reading selections from her book on three pairs of facing pages I opened to
> at random.
>
>     This is a book of black hate. Read the passages with me and see if you
> do not agree. (Page references are to the Bantam Books paperback edition of
> 1971.)
>
> >>>
>         I laughed, too, but not at the hateful jokes made on my people. I
> laughed because, except that she was white, the big movie star [Kay
> Francis]
> looked just like my mother. Except that she lived in a big mansion with a
> thousand servants, she lived just like my mother. And it was funny to think
> of the whitefolks' not knowing that the woman they were adoring could be my
> mother's twin, except that she was white and my mother was prettier. Much
> prettier. [p. 99]
> <<<
>
>     " ... jokes made on ... " This is English? But the substance is more
> important. Only a bitter, ignorant person would assume that a person's
> appearance was the key to being a movie star. Talent probably has something
> to do with it, as well as persistence, and the other things that bring
> success in any field. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in
> ourselves, that we are underlings." This is from material I read and
> remember from my high school days, but the Angelous of the world have a
> different message which is not the one we should be teaching our children.
> We also read about the seven deadly sins. As I remember it, envy was one of
> them. Angelou's logic is not very good either. If one person looks like
> another to the point of being a virtual twin then it does not make sense to
> describe one of the two as "prettier; much prettier." Does it? Also, I
> looked up "whitefolk" in my Webster's Ninth and did not find it. I think I
> know what it means though but I am not sure about the s' that follows. Will
> my daughter learn to write like this in her English class?
>
> >>>
>         Then I wished that Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner had killed all
> whitefolks in their beds and that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated
> before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and that Harriet
> Tubman
> had been killed by that blow on her head and Christopher Columbus had
> drowned in the Santa Maria. [p. 152]
> <<<
>
>     Nice! These were Angelou's thoughts while listening to a Commencement
> address at her high school graduation ceremony.
>
> >>>
>         The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those
> common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the
> tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black
> lack of power. [p. 231]
> <<<
>
>     I have never heard any white male refer to a black female as a "Ho."
> But, of course it would be indelicate of Angelou to look to her own people
> for the causes of, and the solutions to, their problems. Maybe some of the
> problems that black females face are due to being seduced and abandoned by
> black males. Does this have to do with a lack of power? I think not. Blacks
> had much less economic and political power 50 years ago but as a group they
> had a strong family structure. Now after listening to the Angelous their
> collective family structure is in disarray. (It is cute, too, that the
> egalitarian Angelou chooses to capitalize black but not white.)
>
>     I am sorry I have gone on for so long. But I find these excerpts so
> absurd that I guess I get carried away. I wonder if a white woman brought a
> similar manuscript to Random House (the original publisher) whether they
> have spent more than half an hour with it. I doubt it.
>
>     What was the point of assigning this autobiography? Was it to
> demonstrate the artful use of the English language? Was it to serve as an
> example to my daughter of how to confront the problems she might face later
> in her own life? Or was it to bring Political Correctness to xxxxxxxxxx?
>
>     Alas, I know the answer. And as citizen, father, and taxpayer, I do not
> like it. I ask you to review the titles that students at xxxxxxxxxx are
> required to read with Mrs. xxxxxxx, and ask her to remove those that are
> there for political rather than literary reasons.
>
> Very truly yours,
>
> ML/NJ
> <<<<
>
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