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Letters to the Editor

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002

Nothing 'comic' about 'Sarape's Grill'

I would like to say that the comic strip "Sarape's Grill" is undoubtedly one of the most offensive and least funny strips I have ever read. I cannot begin to express how offended I am by it, nor on how many levels, but I'll certainly try.

As a former stand-up comedian, my act had to rely on genuine wit and humor, rather than rely on the "nervous titter" that offensive language and stereotypes would produce. It's certainly more difficult to entertain people using a more wholesome "Disney-esque" approach, but I also found that I could make people smile and laugh using a "self-effacing" technique (which means that I didn't insult anyone but myself). Certainly it does no good and makes no sense in the short or long run to offend people who have been historically repressed and economically depressed, as does "Serape's Grill."

As a Mexican American/Native American/Caucasian hybrid, I am personally angered that, after 40 years, certain "American" cartoonists cannot seem to divorce themselves from the specter of the "Frito Bandito." Most Mexicans do not wear sombreros, nor are they escaped criminals, yet "Serape's Grill" portrays them as such. Unfortunately, the artist must think that it is of great importance to remind us of this offensive symbol of the past by evoking its modern counterpart in an area of the country that is predominantly Mexican American.

Not a smart move by A. Bermudez.

As a human being, I am finding it difficult to imagine young people being inspired to consider the population of the Earth as "one world" when a comic strip so offensively demarcates trustworthiness by race. If we continually objectify entire peoples according to their stereotypes, then we can't ever hope to see them as individuals. I know because I grew up in a very prejudiced family that treated strangers as outsiders, delineating them by physical features or socioeconomic background ("He's a stingy Jew," or "She's a lazy Mexican," or "What a dumb Polack"). I knew this to be wrong then; now, more than ever, I realize it to be more so, regardless of "political correctness."

The healing between people occurs on an individual level, but the pain begins on a global basis. In that light, "Serape's Grill" fails its community, its nation and humor itself. There's nothing "comic" about it.

William Hopkins
general maintenance supervisor
UA Department of Parking and Transportation

Res Life should adopt "zero tolerance policy"

As I read about the housing crisis, I am forced to realize that not all options have been explored. Residence Life should strictly enforce a "zero tolerance" policy toward alcohol and drugs in the dorms. Instead of simply placing the residents caught in possession of drugs or alcohol (including students under 21 that are intoxicated) in a diversion program and reprimanding them, the resident should be thrown out of the dorms for life without refunding their rent money! Not only would this whittle down the residence life population, it would hopefully lead to a lower drinking rate and make students choose between partying and living in a dorm. Remember that the university is primarily here for academic promotion. I am greatly disappointed to hear of academically driven students possibly kept out of the dorms because spaces are filled by drunks and drug addicts.

Jereme Bintz
political science sophomore

Big box stores cannot be blamed

In responding to Kendrick Wilson's "Big Box" Thursday commentary, big box stores are not the cause of neighborhoods being destroyed. Some may tout that these stores are an affront to the landscape of a neighborhood but they do not create traffic congestion. An increasing population in the city of Tucson has done that. The roads are more congested and crowded because this city has not expanded its limits of retail area, therefore forcing a larger number of people to be dependent on the given area of retail space that has not expanded for many years. While some grocery and drug stores have moved closer to the expanded community areas, those stores do not cover all of the consumer's shopping needs. By denying more big box stores to be built, you are only funneling more traffic into one area.

Although I am a big advocate of the big box stores, I still support many mom and pop places, just not exclusively. I just prefer not to pay inflated prices because a small operation cannot buy at wholesale prices and pass the savings on to the customer, when I can get the product elsewhere for less. Maybe I am just influenced by the years that I did not live in this country and did not have access to a grocery store closer than a half hour away that closed at 5 p.m., in which I could not always find many of the items that I needed. This meant driving for hours to get what today I could easily find at Wal-Mart for a cheaper price, five minutes away. If you don't want big box stores, then don't live in a large city. Move into the country and then tell me how great it is that you have to drive for hours to even get to a mall. I find it hard to understand how people who have lived all of their lives in a large city complain of the industry that they so desperately want to have close by, but not in their back yard.

Deal with it. Personally I will continue to shop at Target, Wal-Mart and Home Depot and enjoy every minute of it.

Kathy West
civil engineering freshman


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