R5 Inbox

A Racial Issue?

After reading “Black in Westchester,” I just had to respond to the very first paragraph. I am a white female and a registered nurse working for a pediatric oncology/hematology group in the Bronx. I happen to have extremely soft straight hair that wouldn’t hold a curl if I put my finger in an electric socket.

I frequently have my patients and their parents touching my hair with and without being asked to do so. My patients are predominately black and Hispanic. I have never been offended by this action. Actually, I feel I am letting them learn the differences in people by allowing them to do this and to ask me questions about my hair and skin. I may not be a Harvard graduate like the author, Lawrence Graham, but I can see past this as a form of racial bias.

I’m not saying that racial bias does not exist, but every black/white situation is not racially motivated. Lawrence Graham is living in a predominately white neighborhood and should not be offended because he is different just as I am different where I work. It is through these experiences that we can all help to bring people of all colors closer and to a better understanding of each other. Personal experience is a hundred fold more meaningful than seeing a picture or reading a book about another culture.

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Red-Flagging Yellow Flags

Being an environmentalist, I read with interest Patricia Janes’s June article, ”Greenwashing.” My big concern: all those little yellow signs that dot the suburban landscape indicating pesticide application. Don’t people realize the harm they
are causing?

Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds home and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia by almost seven times.

It’s time to stop poisoning our backyards and ourselves. Find a lawn-care service that practices safe, non-toxic, effective methods to truly make your lawns green.

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Weighty Issue

I enjoy your magazine and usually appreciate the insight it provides. I was disappointed, however, by your article on Westchester’s “Biggest Losers,” part of your special “Health & Fitness Guide.” Of the four women portrayed, three lost weight with some type of surgery. I believe the message left with many readers is that more times than not (three out of four), it takes surgery to be successful.
Learning to be successful at weight loss is not as simple as going to the doctor and having surgery done. Success comes from learning the strategies to actually make the lifestyle changes necessary to lose and keep off the weight. 

I  propose that the women who were successful after surgery also had to learn after surgery how to make the lifestyle changes that they needed to make. It can be done. I’ve lost 90 pounds by making the necessary lifestyle changes. One of the hardest lessons I learned was that what I needed to do to lose the weight, I needed to continue to do to keep the weight off.

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Editor’s Note: To see Elizabeth Sander’s dramatic before and after photo, visit leanness lifestyle.com/success_gallery/liz_sander.

In our feature on “The Biggest Losers, Westchester Edition” (June 2008), we misspelled nutritionist Paula Sarracco’s name.
In the June article “Full Speed Fitness,” due to last minute changes, we incorrectly identified the trainer on page 46H. It is Debbie Frank of Debbie Frank Exercise Studio (2335 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont 914-833-3059; debbie frank.com), not Laurie Levy.

Let Us Hear from You

Send your comments along with your name and address to Westchester Magazine, Attention: Editorial Department, 100 Clearbrook Road, Elmsford, NY 10523. Or e-mail us at edit@westchestermagazine.com. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and space restrictions.

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