I wish to thank you and "An appreciative reader" for the letter published under the title "Wicked Satire" [June 17]. I am afraid that I was not as perceptive as your reader or as you the editor, and I actually took the article seriously and, with a sense of outrage, was in the process of writing you a letter of complaint for publishing such an inane discriminatory article as the one entitled "African Imports" [Our Town, June 3]. Obviously, I should have been more perceptive in my reading. It is clear that the only way that article can be read as something other than a piece of trash is if it is considered as a parody and as satire. My congratulations to Ms. Cummings and the editors for such intelligent editing.
Jerome A. Gross E. Randolph
Rosalind Cummings replies:
Enough with the sarcasm and grating European arrogance. Let's get two things straight. First of all, the "African Imports" story was not a parody. It was a true account of the subtle and not-so-subtle racism that Chicago is justifiably famous for. I spent hours in the shop, over a one-year period, watching the fear on some customers' faces as they scurried out. I watched the owners' intelligence, identity, and worthiness challenged constantly by customers with superior attitudes, not unlike yours.
Secondly, I find it slightly galling that you feel qualified to question the existence of racism at all. I realize that it's easy to ignore cloistered in a lakefront apartment, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If the facts of racism disturb your narrow outlook and you don't want to deal with it, fine. But don't try to imply that it doesn't happen.