The Mail: 11/25-12/2

Mentorship needs to start early

Your editorial position on City Councilman Brandon Scott (Baltimore City Power Rankings, Nov. 11) is one-sided. Knowing that a mentor is a wise and trusted teacher or guide, I am reminded of the Book of Proverbs, written partly by King Solomon the wise one. In Proverbs 22:6 we read "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." He meant to commence to train them while they are children and still have time to do it. Don't wait until they are young men—it will be too late.

Leo A. Williams

Baltimore

From the Web, Facebook, and Twitter

"Hangover Helper: Sip & Bite tried to get a little fancy, and it's a disaster"

Sip and Bite has NEVER been good...such a shame.

—"gmatt208," Nov. 23

"Brooklyn bakery Robicelli's is moving to Baltimore—here's why"

We're a Baltimore City small business owned by a former Brooklynite. Suffice it to say we couldn't exist in Brooklyn today, and as a result, Brooklynites have only the Apple Store to go to.

(Whether or not that's a good thing we'll leave as an exercise to the reader to decide.)

—"CapitolMac," Nov. 20

@city_paper Really looking forward to becoming a part of your community! We adore Baltimore, & can't wait to contribute to its future.

—"@robicellis," Nov. 20

Thank goodness for the years of institutional racism that leaves blocks and blocks abandoned and makes it easy for people to open businesses here.

—"Mick Dillon," Nov. 21

"Conflicts Of Interest: White fragility in the face of criticism"

What a thoughtful, well written, and insightful piece. Really well done! Your readers are going to hate it.

—"Michelle Jenkins," Nov. 18

Woods writes: "That's the thing about men and white people and people with power and privilege: We're great at ignoring context." Which is what DaikonDaikon's drummer ignored about Woods.

Woods was born on the Day of the Dead, lived in New Mexico for years, and fell in love with a holiday and the people who celebrated it. HE WAS PART OF THE CULTURE. That's context. But none of it matters because another white guy looked at his skin and policed him as an appropriator. This despite having zero jurisdiction or stake in a celebration that the vast majority of Mexican Americans are happy to share with gringos. But that's no surprise—whites will reluctantly relinquish a cultural symbol, but no white will ever relinquish the authority to sit above someone else in judgment.

Woods should have had the hard conversation with DD's drummer about his right to participate in the Day of the Dead and its symbology. In fact, he should have doubled down—his band has the horns for some great música norteña. But Baltimore in 2015 isn't the place or time for that, and so he did an honorable thing and folded. But his column has him agreeing with the drummer, and that's an unfortunate mistake.

The problem with cultural appropriation arguments is that half of them are absolutely vital work forcing us to recognize the Other as humans with rights and power and culture of their own…and half of them are knee-jerk, me-too shows of solidarity that get in the way of the real human project of connection, sharing, cultural interchange, and celebration. This was the knee-jerk kind.

PS: "Daikon"—white radish—is an insulting Japanese description of a woman's legs. Better change your name DD

—"natedixon3715," Nov. 23

Sweet mother of pearl, son! Someone run off with your cojones and your razon? "Day of the Dead" (three days, really: 10/31-11/2) is a mash-up of Christian Hallowtide triduum observances dating at least to the 5th century and pre-Colombian rituals. Thus it was, in part, a cultural appropriation by the people you culturally appropriated. Now it generates almost as many culturally-appropriated (unless the Aztecs were making plastic) trinkets as Christmas, which features that Greek-born heretic puncher St. Nicholas, usually dressed in fur-lined (aiyeeee! PETA!) northern European garb. No reason you can't re-appropriate DoD to your purposes. Now, lighten up on yourself and figure out how to continue to make a living appropriating the hyper-violent, moderately idiosyncratic culture of your adopted city.

—"jamiehunt344," Nov. 20

@city_paper im half white and half Mexican. Am I allowed to appropriate? Pls help.

—"@HolmBroHoHolm," Nov. 20

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