DRESSED TO KILL (CONT.)
T.S. Eliot in his play The Cocktail Party said that "half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important." Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Rick Telander's article Senseless (May 14).
I used to be one of those poor black kids Telander wrote about. When I was growing up on Chicago's South Side in the 1960s, we dreamed of being dressed to kill, but we never thought of killing to dress. The shoe we aspired to wear back then was the Converse All Star Chuck Taylor model, and we each got a pair. However, we worked and saved for them.
This current madness is the result of two decades of half-baked sociological and psychological theories that promote self-pity. This victim mentality, in turn, justifies aberrant behavior. Many people in my old neighborhood have been murdered over money as well as over items of less value than a pair of the shoes that Michael Jordan endorses.
None of this is Jordan's fault. He is not responsible for the moral decay in our inner cities. When I was growing up, there was no correlation between poverty and immorality. There should not be any now.
One last thing. Quit asking athletes to be role models. If a child has to look past the dining room table for a role model, then that child has a problem. The moral revival that is needed to stop this madness must be carried out by families, churches, schools and community organizations, not by a slam-dunking hoopster.
JOSEPH H. BROWN
Iowa City, Iowa
I recently returned from a student-exchange program with the Soviet Union. While I was there an interesting incident happened. A classmate and his host student, Andrei, were walking to their flat when they were approached by a group of Russian kids. One was carrying mace. The Russian kids were after the $80 pair of Nike Airs that Andrei had received as a gift from my classmate. He reluctantly gave up his Nikes and, as was apparently customary, received the shoes of his assailant in return. A problem that we might think affects only our country turns out to be worldwide.
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
A FINAL CHEER
I coached Anthony Sherrod in high school. Your article about him (The Last Loud Roar, May 28) was not about the same young man that many of us here in Millen remember.
As you can imagine, Anthony was busy at Georgia Tech, trying to balance class-work and basketball. His visits to Millen were usually short. When he did come home, he found time to visit his family and friends and to talk me into going to the gym so he could shoot some baskets.
He was never a star at Tech, but to all of us in Millen he was a superstar. Many people would have given up long before Anthony, but he knew the importance of a degree from Georgia Tech, so he stuck it out in order to earn one.
We never knew the man you described, riding around waving a gun. We knew the young man who loved life and who shared that love with those of us who were fortunate enough to know him.