Letters: Caring for Parents, Racial Double Standards

Listeners write in about a woman struggling to care for her elderly father, and a commentary examining race and homosexuality.

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TONY COX, host:

It's time now for your letters. Joining me once again is NEWS & NOTES producer Christopher Johnson. Hey, Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON: Hey, Tony, what's up?

COX: So what are listeners saying this week?

JOHNSON: They had a lot to say about Jasmyne Cannick's commentary on Monday. She said she'd stand behind TV actor Isaiah Washington after his derogatory remarks to a gay colleague. It's not because she agreed with him. It's because most activists have been silent on how white gay performer Charles Knipp's character, Shirley Q. Liquor, portrays black women.

Ms. JASMYNE CANNICK (Commentator): They are illiterate, shoplifting, sexually promiscuous mothers who don't know who their children's fathers are, alcoholics and drug addicts. All of which sends a clear message to black America, including black gays, that while they take offense and issue with Isaiah Washington's use of the F word, they have nothing to say about Knipp's use of blackface and stereotypes. Before taking these positions, the gay mafia should've checked with the black gay leadership about where they were.

COX: Eric Schubert(ph) of San Francisco found Cannick's use of the term gay mafia offensive. He wrote, Such a thing obviously does not exist and Cannick's use to the term is akin to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that Jews somehow control the world's banking systems and Hollywood.

JOHNSON: And Allen Hill(ph) of Indianapolis, Indiana added this. A person should not be forgiven his own bigotry because another person is bigoted towards people like him, even if the people involved are black and gay. Personal responsibility still takes precedence.

COX: But Mary Jackson of Oklahoma City felt Ms. Cannick had it right. She wrote, I say to the white gay community, you cannot have it both ways.

JOHNSON: Now, last week we spoke with Dina Lipton. She's a married professional with two young daughters. And now she's struggling to take care of her 77-year-old father, who has Alzheimer's.

Ms. DINA LIPTON: There is a lot of guilt involved in this, because even though you're doing something or the right thing for your father, I also have little kids who don't understand that part. There's always a juggling act going on with trying to keep them five and not have to explain all of this crazy stuff to them and dealing with my dad.

COX: Rachel Clark(ph) e-mailed us to express her sympathy for Lipton's tough situation. Clark wrote, That was a terrific story. I would like to send her a card of support just to let her know that what she is doing is wonderful. While she is overwhelmed sometimes, she spoke so elegantly about what she is called to do. The love of her father just shined.

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JOHNSON: We want to hear from you. So please, keep the letters coming, or pick up the phone.

COX: And you can call us at 202-408-3330. That's 202-408-3330. Or you can e-mail us. Just log on to NPR.org and click on Contact Us. Please be sure to tell us where you're writing from and how to pronounce your name.

Christopher, thanks a lot. See you next week.

JOHNSON: You're welcome, Tony.

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