Not a fan: I am writing in regards to the recent Ask a Mexican debacle in hopes of shedding some light on the subject. I am what is considered a "Latino writer," though I do not market myself as such.
I felt compelled to write because of the ignorance surrounding the AAM column and writer Gustavo Arellano. I do not have any qualms in saying that the so-called "protest" of your publication is not only embarrassing, it's flat-out foolish. I do not imagine it will gather enough steam to make a dent in your circulation, but in an age when papers are hurting for readers and advertisers, I imagine it cannot be helping either.
I am not a fan of Arellano's work. I find it crass and demeaning to Latinos from all walks of life. It invites the stereotypes he pokes fun at, not the other way around. This is not to say that I do not "get it," but I think it appeals more to the lowest common denominator of humor and promotes more ignorance than anything else.
I do applaud Arellano for landing a successful book deal with age-old stereotypes as content, but if I want that kind of humor I will track down Carlos Mencia and try not to punch him in the process.
The lack of Latino writers in print has nothing to do with the HP or Gustavo Arellano. Even if the HP were to cave in to pressure and keep the column in print, that would do absolutely nothing to further the inclusion of Latinos in print media.
Further, do the protesters not realize that they are rallying behind a cause in the middle of a funeral? Do they not know that papers, daily papers, mind you, are going out of business left and right? Have they not noticed that their favorite publications — that are lucky enough to still be in print — are getting thinner by the week?
The HP agreed to keep Arellano's column online. From what I have read and heard from my peers there, most people prefer to read the online version anyway.
Santino J. Rivera
St. Augustine, Florida
Put him in print: I am thankful for the Houston Press and its probing coverage of local issues and artists.
I want to request the column Ask a Mexican be reinstated in printed form. I am aware it was moved to the online-only publication of the Press to make space for other unspecified coverage.
While I sincerely understand the current economic pressures, it is also precisely because of them and the backlash against Mexican Americans, and immigrants in general, that the column has become even more relevant and important.
And no, I do not read online for my pleasure — I pick up a newspaper or magazine when I am tired of e-mails and work or when I hang out in a coffee shop. I do not want to start picking up the Press thinking its content is becoming ever more diluted and mainstream — stay relevant!
And what better way to challenge bigotry than through humor? What better place than the irreverent Houston Press?
Please bring My Favorite Mexican back to print.
It Takes a Village
Online readers respond to "Bronx Cheer: Black Music Allowed at Rice Village Bar. Black People? (Allegedly) Not So Much," Hair Balls blog, by John Nova Lomax, July 22:
It happens: Discrimination is pretty commonplace for bars no matter what year it is and probably always will be. On a lesser note, you just have to remember that it's Rice Village. The place is barely worth seeing, much less fighting to actually hang out there.
Wait it out: They made me wait outside for an hour after bringing six ladies in the club. The bouncer and the off-duty police officer let every white person that came by into the club. There were even these Asian guys who were celebrating their birthdays who had brought something like ten women, and they were forcibly separated from their own birthday posse. Even after I was told I was never going to get into the club, I still persisted and waited, not saying one word.
Eventually, the manager came down and started to allow his "friends" in the club. He saw me and then looked away, disappearing back into the establishment. After another 30 minutes, he came back out and did the same thing. Seeing me there again, he asked me why I was there. This time, my friends who were inside all confronted him. I told them to stop and that I was going to wait him out. After an hour of standing there in silence, he lifted the guardrail and allowed me entry. No words of apology or anything. To this day, I have never been back.
Not worth it: I'm black, and I've been in the Bronx Bar. I don't go there anymore since I was turned down for entry when I tried to get in with another black male one night. We were treated exactly how the people in the article described. But honestly, the club is not worth the entry hassle. The people inside are of the douche bag persuasion and go there because it's pretty well known in that area that they don't usually let minorities in.
The ironic and really funny part is, every time we've been there, there's been a fight. And every time there was a fight, the participants were all white. The club is really not worth mentioning at all. It's one of the worst in Houston, and that's pretty bad.
Baseless allegations: The Bronx Bar Group was very concerned to hear about the allegations made against our establishment. We take all allegations made against us with the utmost seriousness and attention. These allegations have been promptly and thoroughly investigated and lack merit and substance.
We would like to notify the public that these allegations made against us are baseless and unfounded. The Bronx Bar Group opens its doors to all customers and in fact is a minority-owned company.
The Bronx Bar has been serving its customers proud in the Rice Village for more than 11 years and has never had any previous complaints made against our establishment. We pride ourselves on having a diverse crowd of races, ethnicities and cultures and encourage anyone to visit.
The Bronx Bar Group
Me too: My friends and I have experienced the same treatment at Bronx. I've been all over the world and partied with everyone you can imagine, but can't get into a little hole in Rice Village. Personally I couldn't care less, because there's too much money to be made out there to be worried about those idiots.
TEXAS GAVEL AWARD
Press staffer recognized for investigation of state's restitution system
Houston Press staff writer Chris Vogel has been named a winner of a 2009 Texas Gavel Award sponsored by the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee.
Vogel was cited for his story "Crime Doesn't Pay(back)," in which he investigated the restitution system in Texas and found that in nearly all cases, victims did not receive their court-ordered payments and that there was no repercussion for the offenders who failed to pay.
The awards will be presented in Austin on August 21 at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas annual conference.
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