Correspondence

It Was a Long Hot Summer

I returned to New York at the end of May for my summer stint to find that both bellwethers of New York life, the far-out left Village Voice and the chic liberal New York, were headlining (respectively) "Race Rage," and "The Race Mess." Yes, the fabled and much-dreaded Long Hot Summer was already well under way.

In fact, the "summer" had been raging ever since February, when a still-continuing boycott was launched against two Korean fruit stores by militants in a black neighborhood in Brooklyn. Details of the February incident are murky, especially since, as one of the baffled Brooklyn district attorneys put it, "the Korean and the black witnesses say the opposite things, and there is no way of deciding between them." All sides agree, however, that at the root of this and many other incidents is a "clash of cultures" between blacks and Koreans. The blacks claim that the Koreans "never smile," that they "dis" (show disrespect for) feisty black women, and that the Koreans don't understand the West Indian (the black woman in the February incident is a Haitian) proclivity for higgling and haggling over prices.

The first point to note is that the "never smile".charge can only be calculated to impress non-New Yorkers. Since when do any retail clerks in New York smile? In fact, the New York customer, in any retail dealings from "Bloomie's"...

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