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Letters: 'Linsanity', The Meaning Of 'Black Cool'


It's Tuesday, the day we read from your comments. Last month, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg commented in Egypt that if she were writing a constitution in 2012, she would not look to the U.S. Constitution as an example, instead she'll look at South Africa and Canada's more modern iterations.

So last week, we asked listeners what parts of the U.S. Constitution they would suggest or leave out, and Chuck Thompson of Pilot Point, Alaska wrote: When Alaska was writing its constitution in anticipation of statehood back in 1959, we didn't look at the oldest models in the nation as examples to be emulated. Indeed, most of those were full of anachronisms, unsuited to a mid-20th century society. Instead, we chose to model ours after the most progressive, inclusive constitution we could find in the 48 states, and that happened to be, in our collective opinion, that of Oregon. Why shouldn't other emerging democracies find more modern examples? We certainly have no regret.

And when we discussed the Linsanity surrounding Taiwanese-American NBA player Jeremy Lin, many Asian-Americans emailed. Lailanie(ph) wrote to respond to boxer Floyd Mayweather's comment that Lin is only getting so much attention because he's of Asian descent. Lailanie wrote to say: I think Mayweather's reaction to Lin's success is indicative that racism knows no color lines. We should celebrate whenever a minority breaks through a barrier that has historically excluded them from participation. Love to Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Tiger Woods, Lin, the Williams sisters and everyone else who contributed to say, yes, I can and did.

And finally, during our discussion last week on the history of the concept of cool in the black community, we asked, what was the first time you saw something and knew it was cool? Josh Macintosh(ph) from Garden Grove, California, recalled this: I was in fifth grade. We are out on the street playing baseball one afternoon, and suddenly there was this African-American girl walking by with his giant silver radio blasting hip-hop. When my friends noticed that I wasn't paying attention to the game anymore, my best friend Randy told me, that's The Fat Boys. The girl kept on walking, paying us no mind, while the beatboxing from Buffy's thunderous lungs filled our field until she was out of sight.

The next day, I was at music class and bought my second 45 record ever, "The Fat Boys are Back!" From them on, I was slightly embarrassed by my Duran Duran collection and began collecting every hip-hop record I could find. The rappers were not like Michael Jackson or Prince who seem rather freakish to me, as a kid. They were cool, and this new hip-hop thing was the most exciting thing in my young life and is still a huge part of me. I never knew the girl's name or where she went to school, but she had an amazing impact on my life.


CONAN: If you have a correction, comment or questions for us, the best way to reach us is email. Our address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there @totn.

I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.