Letters I Wish I’d Written … So, What the Hell!



28 July 2009



United States Senate Washington, D.C.

Dear white guys in wingtips,

If you had to appear in court and were given the opportunity to select your judge, I wonder how many of you would prefer the white guy in wingtips to the wise Latina judge with the richness of her experience.

Respectfully, K-B



29 July 2009



English Department Palomar College

Dear instructors who responded to my query about online writing classes with implications that I might fail to do my work, turn it in late or allow someone else to do it for me,

You are presumptuous, rude and, well, kind of sucky, and I am too old for this stuff. I surely hope this is not how you normally communicate with your students, a population I’ll not be joining.

By the way, your website content needs a little editing.

Collegially, K-B



30 July 2009



Dear Tony, Sandra, Charlie, Martha and Percy; Dear Milt, Dionne, Warren, John, Patricia, Zo and Thelma; Dear Bonnie, George, Terry, Cliff and Mohammed; and Dear sweet girl who played with me at Lutherville Elementary when I was new and shy, and whose cornrows I craved when my thin, blond hair stuck to my pasty forehead,

I am writing to apologize for the many white folks who still don’t get it.

In our cushy little lives, insulated by the lily color of our skin, we just don’t get that prejudice prevails.

Oh, sure, the majority of us proudly extolled our enlightenment when we elected our first African American president — even some of us who didn’t vote for him — because it validated our belief in our moral superiority, our proud capacity for acknowledging a person’s abilities and potential regardless of race. And it was indeed a stellar moment for our nation.

But when it comes right down to it, when it comes down to the black-man-fumbling-at-the-front-door test — or the black-man-fuming-at-the-cop test — the election results mean squat. And for that I apologize.

White folks just don’t get that our historic willingness to wholeheartedly embrace the enslavement of a human race as an economic necessity prevails today, albeit in other forms, as so many of us wholeheartedly embrace the assumption that an angry black man is bad and scary — and even that a happy black man on a dark street is bad and really scary.

So, when President Barack Obama said the police behaved stupidly, some folks, but not enough, heard the sentiment of a person who has had experiences that lead him to empathize with a black man unfairly arrested.

And when Fox News’ Glenn Beck reacted, saying the president is a racist, some folks, but not enough, heard the sentiment of a person who has not had experiences that lead him to empathize with a black man unfairly arrested.

As for me, I heard a person who has behaved stupidly.

Love, K-B

31 July 2009



First Energy Corporation

Dear Ms. or Sir,

Thank you for the refund check for $67.98 from my mother’s JCP&L account. It’s a nice little amount that might lend Mother lots of good fun, except for one glitch: The check is made out to my father.

This poses a problem because Father keeled over by the fishpond so many years ago, we can now joke about it, although we still sorely miss him, of course.

Unfortunately, Bank of America has no sense of humor. (The existence of BofA’s heart is also in doubt.) Consequently, I cannot deposit the refund check. So, we’d be most appreciative if you were to cancel the enclosed check and reissue the refund in Mother’s name.

If this is not within the realm of possibilities, a check made out to Mrs. Tillman Gressitt might unpucker Bank of America’s sphincter.

What do you say?

Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely, K-B