On Being Green
Re the "’Climategate’ Claptrap" articles by Mark Hertsgaard and Johann Hari [May 3]: I wish the climate-change deniers would deny away cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Let’s face it, the health food and medical industries are making money hand over fist spreading the "healthy eating and exercise" mythology.
As a liberal, I guess I’m supposed to be in favor of offsets/cap-and-trade/whatever you want to call it [Heather Rogers, "Offset Buyers Beware," May 3]. I’m not. If there are standards, let everyone live up to them. There is no good reason to let businesses and wealthy individuals off just because they can pay. Meet the standards or pay like any other jamoke on the block. The hell with offsets.
On Being Black
Regarding Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s "Black by Choice" [May 3]: I understand the history behind President Obama’s decision to label himself only as black on his Census form. But I thought the point of Obama’s candidacy and presidency was that this is a new day—Change We Can Believe In—not the same old same old.
WILLIAM J. ROUSTER
Our president chose to identify himself as black. We can try to guess what is in his head, but the fact is, he chose not to check "mixed" or "white." As a black person, I feel I am part of a diaspora and a history, not simply a color. Our president embraces that history wholeheartedly. Kudos to him. Not all are wise enough to do that, including many of us who grew up with two black parents.
Many people do not understand that when you are consistently boxed into a category at a young age, you tend to own it rather than fight it. When you tell people you are mixed—in my case, Russian, Italian and African-American—and people consistently challenge that, it is easier to just say, You know what, I am black. Perhaps President Obama has been making the choice for most of his life. As Melissa Harris-Lacewell points out, Obama challenges the very notion of whiteness. Intelligence, charisma, Ivy League education and intact "family values" have usually been attributed to whiteness. To deny that is to deny this country’s history. Obama shows white America that a black man can excel as much as, if not more than, a white man. And that is the pure fear behind much of the Tea Party activism.