Your newspaper had an opportunity to write a positive, groundbreaking story. Instead, you chose to write yet another stereotypical story about a young black man who is attempting to do what he should have been doing in the first place ["Going Legit," front page, July 11].

Lots of young black men in the metropolitan area are striving hard to do the difficult things in life. These men have not fallen prey to the lure of easy money and sexual immorality and have not left several illegitimate children in their wake as they were trying to "find themselves."

Instead, you print an article about a man who thought nothing of concealing from his live-in girlfriend that he had yet another illegitimate child with another woman, and who refers to his children as "beef babies," explaining that they were conceived when he needed a safe place to sleep. He does not seem to have any remorse about leaving these children with their mothers. Yet he seems to harbor a ridiculous fantasy that he can one day become lord of the manor and have all of his children and their mothers living in one house.

This man needs to know that going "legit" is about more than having a job with a routine and paying for a $200 bottle of champagne with legally earned money. Being "legit" is about becoming a good role model for your children and thinking of them before thinking of yourself.

But what truly got under my skin was that young men who are working hard to help their families and do the right thing are not newsworthy. Instead of the community saying thank you for striving for excellence, we are once again paying attention to the ones who are only now catching the clue. If that isn't a backward message, then what is?

Being "legit" is about doing what is expected of you, the right way, the first time. It sure would be nice if your paper printed those kinds of stories. If more black youth could see good role models in the media and elsewhere, then maybe they wouldn't feel like they are different for not wanting to carry a gun and deal drugs. Maybe it would even make the ones that aren't "legit" go "legit" sooner.

-- Daphney D. Waggoner