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Would Joni Mitchell please shut up Print-ready version

by Marc Alexis
Vancouver Sun
July 22, 2000

Letters to the Editor

I had hoped Adele Weder's article would be the last word on Joni Mitchell's shibboleths concerning racial characteristics. I am sure that her intentions were good, and that they were intended to reflect the message of the Hopi leader in Habitat Forum in 1976, quoted by the Letter of the Week in last week's newspaper. However, Weder was correct in her intimation that a denotative consideration of such a message may lead to theories like those of Philip Rushton's. Race is an anachronism that does not include people like my children, who are of African, Asian and European heritage. Are they one-third intellect, one-third emotion and one-third leaders? People aren't clouds; people are people, and we must shed the notion that cosmetic differences like skin colour reflect real differences. Your children and my children deserve better.
Marc A. Alexis, Vancouver

Does letter writer Ken Pite not understand that the attribution of characteristics according to so-called race theories are a cultural offense at best, and illegal at worst? Is the fact that he heard the same stuff from a Hopi leader on Jericho Beach make it less offensive coming out of Joni Mitchell's mouth in Saskatoon? Mitchell's own words were the ones Adele Weder had to deal with, and those words betray Mitchell's guilt-derived racial bias. I don't think Weder missed any big opportunity to learn at Sri Mitchell's feet -- she told it like it was. I wasn't there, but I know someone who was, and Mitchell was rude -- rude like a star, rude like a diva, rude like someone who thinks they're pretty damn smart and you're not, and I'm glad that I know. As well, Mitchell entertains crackpot theories of race, not a huge crime, but a very rude one, and I'm glad I know that, too.
Simon N Webb, Vancouver

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Added to Library on February 10, 2002. (3069)

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