Howard Rosenberg's column Monday about CBS' firing of Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder for his comments about blacks in sports prompted several dozen readers to write in with their own views, pro and con. A sampling:
I found it quite disturbing that Rosenberg is so callous and insensitive that he could trivialize Jimmy the Greek's statements.
I wonder if Rosenberg would consider it racist if someone said that Jews are better accountants or financial managers than Protestants.
While our public institutions may no longer be overtly racist, it is saddening to be reminded that racism still thrives in the hearts of many--many who like to think of themselves as non-racist.
NANCY J. TAYLOR
Whatever his faults, the Jimmy the Greek did not say blacks were inferior, he said the opposite.
He did not say management positions should be reserved for whites, he observed ironically that that was all lazy whites had to offer in a sport where they have been clearly outclassed. The Greek did not say blacks should be bred like cattle, he observed that in the hands of white slave owners, they were bred like cattle.
A thoughtless majority, ignoring what he actually said, figured the best way to prove you are not a witch is to burn one.
Almost as eye-popping as the Jimmy the Greek's flameout was Howard Rosenberg's response.
Here's a certified knee-jerk liberal, whose every social attitude can be anticipated by anyone silly enough to be paying close attention, and he's validating this nonsense.
Does Rosenberg really think one race is superior athletically to another? Does he believe Cap'n Kotchapee's antebellum, Southern theories of slave breeding have a lot of relevance today?
Did this man win a Pulitzer? Is a Pulitzer in TV criticism worth anything?
What has happened to the First Amendment to the Constitution?
Are we to understand that CBS as an organization denies this protection to its employees if they voice a controversial opinion?
If I worked for CBS, I would be very nervous and I would be looking for another job. But not with the Dodgers.
I doubt if anyone here would approve of the inexcusable behavior of Southern slave masters, but facts are facts and in every history book that I have ever seen, this heinous practice of literally "breeding" people was a common practice.
And it may very well have resulted in an athletically superior human being. Genes are genes--you can't quarrel with facts! How in Hades could someone like CBS' "The NFL Today" host Brent Musburger say that Snyder's remarks were "regrettable and offensive" when Snyder was simply paraphrasing history?
As a genetics major at Cal State Northridge, I can assure you that any breeding done by slave owners 200 years ago has been undone by 200 years of random mating.
You have missed the point. It is the constant use of the same terminology as it relates to black performance--laziness (reversed or not), breeding and wonderfully gifted physical specimens--that irks black people.
It is as though we are only capable of being bred and trained like show animals.
For people like Snyder, not the slightest thought is given to our intellectual abilities to conceive, design and execute a plan or action.
RODNEY K. BOSWELL
Rosenberg and other whites are not aware of a most damaging myth, and I fear it has been the cause of such slow progress in race relations.
It is that any one race in general is superior in any one area of abilities or talent--as an example, the statement that blacks are naturally better athletes or that they work harder.
To perpetuate such myths brings validity to the rationalization that whites must keep blacks "down" or "in their place," or else "they will take over."
Watching the evening news these with newscasters (?) like Jim Hill rabidly screaming for blood, and anchormen like Jerry Dunphy sitting there in their feigned righteous indignation agreeing with him, made me sick at my stomach.
Thanks so much for telling it like it is, Mr. Rosenberg. You will probably be hung in effigy as a result!
EDWARD H. KNOWLTON
Rolling Hills Estates
I applaud CBS for firing Jimmy the Greek. I'm not sure what I think The Times should do about Rosenberg.
He is certainly guilty of making a farce out of Snyder's racially inspired remarks. They are nothing to laugh at.
What is worrying about this and the flap over the statements made by former Dodger executive Al Campanis is that both of these individuals were only exercising their constitutional rights of free speech, and for this both have been fired. . . .
When two members of the Detroit Pistons who happened to be black made racist remarks about the Celtics' Larry Bird, they certainly did not lose their jobs. Apparently racism is a one-way street, i.e., white bias counts and black bias does not.
EDWIN O. LEARNARD
That Rosenberg should dismiss Jimmy the Greek's overt and all encompassing racism as nothing more than ignorance, wholly incomparable to the racism of Al Campanis, shows clearly to this observer Rosenberg's own lack of awareness.
When Jimmy the Greek credits slavery and slave holders for the success of the black athlete, the blacks can't win even when succeeding!
In my observation, Jimmy paid the blacks several fine compliments and his remarks were not degrading, only realistically true and favorable to their athletic talents.
CBS has ruled that any comparison of the races is "racist," even if it is favorable to the minority!
Rancho Palos Verdes
Rosenberg's column missed the point.
The practice of separating people by race and calling one group better than another has no place in sports, or anywhere else for that matter, regardless of which race comes out on the short end of the deal.
This kind of thinking, whatever the intention may be, is really at the heart of what racism is all about.
TODD ALAN STRAUSS
Congratulations on Rosenberg's courage. After all of the hysteria over this incident by the media, it was refreshing to have someone come forward and put it in its proper perspective.
BARBARA E. TETZLAFF
How disgraceful that on the holiday established to commemorate the achievements of such a national treasure as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the comments made by Jimmy the Greek, and Rosenberg's column that lent support for those remarks, should reveal the pervasiveness of ignorant racism still existing in our country. . . .
Perhaps a more insightful view of the disproportionate success of blacks in sports will take into consideration the disproportionate options for success available to the different races in our country.
When all of us are born into homes without poverty, when all of our children can attend schools that provide education and not just supervision, when all of our talents can be tested without racial bias and each of us can actually aspire to make use of any talent we wish, if then there is disproportionate success, maybe then we can talk about breeding.
But that day is a long way off.
TERESA F. DOYLE
Racism may not be contagious like chicken pox, but it does spread.
Jimmy the Greek made racist comments. Suddenly Rosenberg felt justified to express his own racism by defending Snyder.
I congratulate CBS for ridding itself of its ignorant "shlub." I wish the Los Angeles Times would do the same.