Letters

Listeners comment on The Washington Post series that looks at what it means to be a black man in America, and grown-ups who refuse to grow up.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails.

A week ago Monday we talked with the editors of a series in The Washington Post that looks at what it means to be a black man in America. They base their report on a nationwide survey that they said showed a number of contradictions.

Antonio Kyler(ph) a listener in Florida, e-mailed to say the contradictions in the survey speak to the diversity of ideas and individuals within the male black community. We should not expect every black male to have the same experiences nor the same responses to the survey. Though we share many attributes, we are not all the same. This series is necessary he continued because it dispels misconceptions and stereotypes about black men, given the decades of negative media and press black men have received.

And this correction came in from a listener in Berkeley, California during a conversation last week about detainee rights.

A caller stated that World War II German spies were summarily shot without trial. For the record, wrote Jason Brandt Lewis(ph), quoting from the U.S. Navy Web site history.navy.mil, the eight were tried before a military commission comprised of seven U.S. Army officers appointed by President Roosevelt. All eight were found guilty and sentenced to death. Attorney General Biddle and J. Edgar Hoover appealed to President Roosevelt to commute the sentences of Dasch and Burger; Dasch received a thirty-year sentence and Burger received a life sentence, both to be served in a federal penitentiary. The remaining six were executed at the District of Columbia jail on August 8, 1942.

Our thanks to Jason for that correction.

A week ago, we talked with the author of a book called Rejuvenile about the trend, as he calls it, towards grown ups refusing to, well, grow up. A lot of e-mailers could identify.

My husband, wrote Holly Schneller(ph), is a college math professor yet he rides his skateboard to class. Why not? She asked. I drive a minivan to run the art masterpiece program at our elementary school, yet I have my nose pierced and seven tattoos, so what? Enjoying life with your children does not mean irresponsible and reckless. We love our children, we enjoy life and learn with them. We crank Zucchero, Jack Johnson, Pavarotti and AC/DC in the minivan but still teach our kids to say please and thank you, not to hit, to love each other, and be respectful.

Sounds nice enough but Art(ph) in San Antonio doesn't buy it.

These people really need to grow up, he emailed. Some just refuse. And to that Art said, with age comes wisdom but sometimes age comes alone.

And finally we got a kick out of this e-mail from Benjamin Bacon(ph) in Oakland, California. Listening to Neal Conan read the credits for today's show I was startled to learn that, quote, Sarah handles the production assistant. Who is Sarah? Who's the production assistant and why does he or she require a special handler?

Well, not to worry, Benjamin, in this case the word handle is not a verb, it's a proper noun. Sarah Handle is our production assistant and, by the way, you can thank her for this response. Among the many tasks assigned to our production assistant, she handles the e-mails.

If you have comments, questions, or corrections for us, the best way to reach us in by email. The address: talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. From NPR News, I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

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