Letter to The Village Voice, May 6, 1998

Via fax: (212) 475-8944

May 6, 1998

The Village Voice
36 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003

To the Editor:

In his April 28th article, "La Dolce Musto", Voice writer Michael Musto declared "was there ever any doubt about George Michael’s sexuality anyway, not because he’s Greek, but because he was once reported to be dating Brooke Shields?"

The article’s tongue-in-cheek approach does not excuse its message, stereotyping sexual orientation based on ethnicity. Would a similar stereotype, however lightened by levity, have been made about the denseness of Poles, the stinginess of Jews or the criminality of African-Americans?

If ethnic slurs are unacceptable for Poles, Jews and African-Americans, then why are they permissible against Greeks -- especially in light of centuries of misograecist bias; discrimination which has often resulted in genocides, pogroms and hate crimes. After Admiral Mark L. Bristol, the U.S.’s High Commissioner at Constantinople, proclaimed that "the Greek is about the worst race in the Near East", a million and a half Greeks from Asia Minor were slaughtered or ethnically cleansed by Turkish troops in 1922 as the West sat idly by and watched this holocaust from naval vessels off the quay at Smyrna (now renamed Izmir). Today, bombs are exploded in Greek churches, Orthodox cemeteries are desecrated, Greek clergy are murdered and unarmed protesters are shot or beaten to death in Cyprus and Turkey, again, with our silent approval (e.g. www.hri.org/Cyprus/Cyprus_Problem/bikers/murder_1.html & /murder_2.html to view two such killings caught on videotape).

The only thing more surprising than Michael Musto’s message is where it came from. Yet this is not the first time the Voice has allowed anti-Hellenic bias to be expressed within its pages. In an April 30, 1996 article, "Greeks Bearing Gifts", Voice writer Wayne Barrett singled out HANAC, one of dozens of ethnic and race-based organizations with strong connections to city government, for its ties to the Giuliani administration. Other than the offensive nature of its title, Mr. Barrett’s article made sure to emphasize the irrelevant fact that HANAC was founded and headed by Greek-Americans.

One would think Messrs. Musto’s and Barrett’s stereotyping and ethnic bias have no place in one of the most progressive newspapers of one of the world’s most progressive cities. If The Village Voice is willing to engage in such ethnic-bating, it is disturbing to think of what other periodicals have in store for Hellenes.

Very truly yours,

P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.

Published version in The Village Voice,

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