February 21, 2003

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

Kingpin Reinforces Negative Stereotypes of Latinos

I wish to share my opinion about my great disappointment with NBC’s Decision to air a new program called the Kingpin which consists of six episodes.

What is the problem with the show? Aside that it is compared as the Hispanic version of “The Sopranos” and to be brutally violent, it glorifies drug dealers, it has no social value and it truly reinforces the negative stereotypes against Latinos.

In the word of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National President, this type of programming will only “teach people to fear or hate Latinos.”

Little do I have to say that in a city like Philadelphia with 70 % school Latino drop out rate, before 9th grade, and a Mayor (John F. Street) who is working so meticulously to combat crime and drug dealers, I truly think that a violent show that glorifies drug dealers is not what we should consider as ideal entertainment and it hurts the educational and governmental fabrics of our society.

Several years ago I was part of a major National brownout in response to the under-representation of Latinos on movies and on television series. At the time, according to the analysis, it was revealed that of the 26 new shows debuting in the fall on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX not one Latino or person of color played a primary or secondary role.

Is this a response from NBC to let us know that they are meeting our concerns and that they have heard our pleas? Or has NBC finally and genuinely collected the best minds of Hollywood to demonstrate (to America) how they really perceive the Latino role model? 

Kingpin is a reflection of the values of NBC and not of the Hispanic community because the vast majority of Hispanics are law abiding, hard working, patriots and their story is rarely portrayed on television.

Juvencio Gonzalez
Philadelphia, PA

I strongly disagree with Marcelo Rodriguez’s suggestion that NBC’s “Kingpin” (February 14, 2003) is good for viewers or for the community. The “Kingpin” series is an attempt by the  corporate jet flying NBC elites to bring in big money from false racial stereotypes. NBC studios’ insensitive portrayal of Hispanics as drug dealers and murderers runs contrary to the wholesome values present within our hardworking families. Years of progress and efforts against false stereotypical castings, and years of community education and involvement by fine organizations such as LULAC, National Council of La Raze, and The National Hispanic Media Coalition are being quickly undermined and lynched by a money hungry TV corporation. ”Kingpin” doesn’t come close to offering a true to life script or a display of the wholesome goals and aspirations found within our lives and our homes.

The show revolves around bad stereotypes and lots of big dollars-TV dollars, that is, gained through advertisers. I say we move in an appropriate fashion boycott all NBC advertisers and protest at their downtown San Diego studios.

Virgil Pina
Chula Vista 

Bush’s War?

For the last several months, people all around the world have been asking themselves, each other and the US elected officials - “WHY DOES PRESIDENT BUSH WANT TO BOMB IRAQ?”  I also asked - “Why does President Bush want to distract us, here in the United States, from addressing unemployment, Enron scandals, burgeoning homeless shelters, lost funding for schools?” And, of course, that list goes on.

Well, the media has been tight-lipped about protests. Up until this weekend, the Congress was mostly silent and the media only reported a fraction of what was going on. They were too busy waiting for a table scrap of real information from the President’s men (and woman.) The media missed the boat! 

But we fooled them all! We came out in the MILLIONS to say “NO WAR FOR OIL,” “HEALTHCARE NOT WARFARE.” Our numbers astounded the world. And, we are just getting started! Now, media, don’t ignore us. We are your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends and your fellow citizens who want better for our country and for the world.

Laura Kohl
San Marcos

Why does this administration continue to express its willingness to defy international law and alienate this nation from the world community? This is absolute madness!

Secretary Powell’s presentation of purported “evidence” was contradicted and questioned by UN Security Council, namely Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei. A first year law student could have ripped this presentation apart, because what was supposed to have been an “all convincing” presentation really amounted to an opening statement only, it was not substantiated and it was certainly not conclusive by any means, at least in any reputable court of law.

For my part I found the presentation very suspect, so when Powell ridicules Iraq’s cooperation and states that, “these are all tricks being played on us,” what appears most likely is that the Bush administration is the one playing the trickster in trying to win support for a war! The UN inspectors findings for the most part contradict what our esteemed warlords in Washington want the American and International public to think. I am extremely angry at our representatives in Washington, our own “axis of evil,” namely, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld who would create the biggest rift with our allies and the world to push their own agenda. They openly show contempt for the UN and international law and in so doing make us look like the thug nation ready to pounce on anyone we consider a threat to our vested interests. 

After 9-11 we had the sympathy of world, and today the worldwide anti-war protests are a testimony to the disdain that the world citizenry have for US posturing towards Iraq and the UN Security Council.  As a citizen and a military veteran of the U.S. I want this president impeached! His lack of acumen in foreign affairs is a major liability to the United States and is the real threat to our national security! Please support an impeachment of Mr. Bush who has made a mockery of our constitution.

J. Carlos Aguirre
Laguna Niguel, CA

The silent war, more questions than answers

I read “The Silent War,” (January 31, 2003) with much trepidation. It is always a tragedy when immigrants die. But, what is the answer to the problem?

Does the writer think that all the borders should be opened?

The immigrants who died, weren’t they breaking the law when they crossed the border illegally?  Weren’t they breaking the law when they didn’t stop for the police?

If they were breaking the law, why shouldn’t they be arrested?

I don’t understand this. Our laws are what make the US more prosperous than Mexico. Does the writer want us to throw out our laws? How can that help either of our countries?

Mark Jurecki

Leí “La guerra silenciosa” con mucha inquietud. Eso fue una tragedia, cuantos inmigrantes mueren. Pero ¿qué es la respuesta al problema?

¿Hace la periodista pienso que todos los bordos fue aburriendo?

Los inmigrantes son quienes mueren, ¿no violan la ley cuando ellos cruzan sin papeles? ¿no ellos violan la ley cuando los para la policia?

¿Si ellos estaban violando sus leyes, por qué no deben detenerlos?

No lo comprendo. Nuestras leyes son que hace los EE UU más próspero que México. Desea la periodista que nosotros tiramos estas leyes? ¿Como lo ayuda a los EE UU o Mexico?

Mark Jurecki
Carlsbad, CA

Letters to the Public Forum Return to the Frontpage