Chaatsmith of Columbus, Ohio writes:
I was wondering how people are selected to serve on the discussion
panels, especially in terms of American Indian representation. I felt
that Sherman Alexie contributed well to the discussion, and brought
insight to the experience of American Indians in the PBS Dialogue last
Thursday. There are several American Indians in academia, also, who
are serving in university administration and as faculty, including Dr.
Duane Champagne (UCLA), Dr. Gary Sandefur (U of Wisconsin-Madison),
Dr. Matthew Snipp, just to name three.
Celeste of Covina, CA writes:
As mentioned on the program with President Clinton, race relations
are different for African Americans than for Hispanics or Asians It
is still harder to get equal jobs and pay and equal education and housing
than for other minorities. I'm glad to hear this issue raised and feel
affirmative action is still needed for blacks. Twenty-five years of
affirmative action was only a start to make up for the years of poverty,
discrimination and slavery. Other minorities did not come from slavery
and Jim Crow . Let's continue to give help where it is needed and due.
Murphy of Amboy, WA writes:
I find the nation wide discussion of "race" a disgrace. During my
life I have traveled across our great country. I have seen areas where
black people are the subclass and I have seen areas where the white
people are the inferior class of people. I personally have been discriminated
against by both blacks, Asians, and females. I am coming to feel like
a minority myself. I am a 31 year old white male. I think that the President
of the United States of America getting up in front of the American
public and talking about discrimination against blacks, Hispanics, Asians,
and women; and not including white males as a category is not "FAIR."
Adeyeye of Adelphi, MD writes:
I read the transcript of the discussion on race hosted by Jim Lehrer
and concluded that the issue is really complex. The one thing that I
got of is that we have to pay attention to our children's education,
as being championed by the President. While we grope around for the
language to use for discussing the complex issue of race relations,
we cannot afford to delay action on securing good education for all
of our kids, of all races.
Macaulay of Idaho Falls, ID writes:
I enjoyed the discussion by the special NewsHour panel including the
President. However, I was dismayed that no representation from people
with known conservative views was present. Someone like Congressman
J. C. Watts or writer like Walter Williams would have balanced the discussion.
Without all sides being represented, this initiative on race will go
nowhere. The problem we've had to date in race relations has been the
one-sided public discussion. All American people must be heard if the
issue is ever to be solved.
Smallwood of New York, NY writes:
As a radical of the sixties who is now 50, I no longer believe America
can or desires to live up to the ideals of Rev. Dr. King, Jr. As a black
man I no longer think it really matters. What does matter is our individual
commitment to basic Christian values, which an authority higher than
any of us will surely hold us all accountable for. Most Americans will
never change. And I no longer wish to fret away my life convincing them
of the value to America that "diversity" could have brought. Let's just
give up !!!
Owens of Omaha, NE writes:
If a white person can be a racist, which some are, why can't a black,
a Hispanic, or an Asian? The answer is they can be. But, praise the
Lord, the vast majority of people are NOT racists. But my point is,
is that this topic is NEVER brought up by the media or any one else
at the risk of offending anyone who is NOT white or male. America needs
to realize this fact.
Gentlemen, I pray that you can come up with solutions that DO work,
as this is surely not an easy task. Good Luck.
Nesdill of Auburn, AL writes:
Elaine talked about how an above average Chinese-American child couldn't
attend the school of her choice, others talked about how affirmative
action was eliminated from Texas schools because of one person's lawsuit.
I'm not a lawyer, but couldn't the same argument be made here as is
used when the power of eminent(?) domain is invoked to take property
from citizens, i.e. it's for the good of society/community? The students
denied admission are having "property" taken away for the good of society/community.
Second point about affirmative action - Studies have shown that a "critical
mass" (a minimum number of like people) are needed in a class/ office/
organization/ whatever before members of the group are comfortable enough
to succeed. If this is true then once the "critical mass" has been reached
then affirmative action can be phased out.
Lynn Hopffgarten of Washington, D.C. writes:
Without qualification, last night's special program on race relations
including President Clinton may have been the finest news panel I have
ever seen on television. I sincerely hope it will be the first of a
Without seeking to detract from the opportunity this forum affords,
in general, and last night's excellently moderated exchange proved in
particular, I wish to make three comments. First, for a program in the
near future, I hope you will ask Nicholas Lemann and Tamar Jacoby to
participate as guests. Although quite different in bearing, both are
substantial authors who have studied race and poverty in relation to
government and have worked diligently to see beyond the stereotypes
and bromides of race relations.
Second, the ambivalence usually jovial Clarence Page projected on matters
of race where he is personally concerned was disturbing. I wonder if
his ambivalence, beyond whatever deeply personal history it must have,
may also reflect the ambivalence in America (white, black, altogether)
over "integration" and "desegregation." As Nicholas Lemann advises in
"Promised Land" the former term denotes a "maximum" mingling of races
whereas the latter a "minimum" required to meet, ostensibly, the requirements
of law, civic freedom, and justice. Page's painful ambivalence suggests
three important questions: (a) do black and white Americans "really
want" integration? Survey after survey surely suggests anything but
consensus on this; (b) could this lack of consensus be the result of
the paradox of ethnic difference and vitality (enriching our civilization)
on one hand, counterpoised to homogenization and acculturation, powerful
forces which account for the hegemony of the U.S. economy as well as
the "successful integration" (as Page used the term) of business and
the military? and (c) is it not time for a new, more sophisticated model
for what we have previously valorized as "integration" and "desegregation"?
Perhaps such a model could help clarify the vast difference between
conflicts of "race" as distinguished from our urgent, collective problems
of "class," poverty, and lack of education? And third, while I agree
we talk best and most sincerely about race when we "talk from our own
experience," to survive as a culture or, if you prefer, "a nation,"
we must also have a way to talk beyond ourselves, to speak of our families,
of our communities, of our civilization. Without this counterbalance
to the me-centric experience model, we promote, whether subtle intended
or not, a society where every group, nay, every individual seeks power
for themselves. As an historian, I cannot find this a desirable road
to the future, believing, as I do, America is the idea that its promise
of freedom can be fulfilled for all people.
Grube of Aptos, CA writes:
When will we stop the lie that in America we live in a "classless
society"? I was glad to hear Cynthia Tucker raise class as an issue
to recognize and attack. We have policy in this country which in fact
is "class directed"-- the criminal justice system which disproportionately
affects the poor and people of color; police departments that act harshly
against the poor and people of color and are little prosecuted by DA's
and Attorney's General; global "free-market" policy which exploits poor
and people of color in less developed countries. These policies need
to be discussed in terms of the class conflicts they cause which exacerbate
Greenberg of Beaverton, OR writes:
In listening to the President's nanologue on race, it came to me how
to mend affirmative action not end it. My solution addresses the problem
raised by the Asian-American panelist in discussing the incident in
the San Francisco schools.
Credit should be given a person for overcoming an obstacle. For instance,
in college admissions, you give some weight to test scores and grades.
You also give some weight to obstacles overcome to get the scores and
grades. Let me emphasize that it is only some weight. Overcoming small
obstacles does not trump someone with far, far superior scores.
A black, middle class student who went to excellent schools in grades
K-12 would get a lesser advantage for overcoming obstacles than would
an economically poor Asian student who went to inferior schools.
You could argue that overcoming an obstacle to get an equivalent grade
or test score does show some additional merit over and above the numerical
value of the test score or grade.
I think that this is something that all fair-minded people could understand.
If you lost out to someone who had the equivalent test scores, but had
to work harder to get there, you might be able to fathom the fairness
in the choice.
It really turns affirmative action back into a merit based program
and yet furthers the goal of diversity.
Christian of Atlanta, GA writes:
I work in higher education and have noticed that in any class... and
here I am talking adults, already working, usually above 30 years old...
and in class they seat themselves by race... white black, Asian...
If you went across the country with a video camera you would see the
same thing. What if teachers at all level systematically implemented
seating patterns and study groups in such a way that students from preschool
through graduate education were to sit with other races ? Would this
simple change increase the dialogue ?
A. James of Spring Valley, CA writes:
I participated in a diversity program at the University Of California
Medical Center for sever years. I fully believe in the Issue of diversity
in the workplace as well as in society. The problem that I have as an
African-American is the the discussion rarely goes beyond words and
symbolic gestures. So while I agree that it is important to discuss
these issues, discussion without action leads to cynicism, frustration
and in the worst case a worsening of conditions. Conditions become ongoing
discussion without actions raises expectations of those who are oppressed
and makes those who feel that they are identified as the oppressor become
defensive, and increasingly hostile toward the whole discussion of race.
Pegues of Atlanta, GA writes:
What a joke. This president does everything for the polls. This is
a serious matter yet he makes it political.
Stanton of Lambertville, NJ writes:
I have a couple of points:
1. The program was very good. I hope J. Lehrer will consider doing
another. As one panelist said and several others concurred at the end
of the hour, we're just getting started.
2. The problem of race has not been defined. The discussion last night
showed that. After reading some accounts on the J.H. Franklin Commission,
I was disturbed to see that the President wants the goals to be a colorblind
society and diversity. I don't see how that can happen. Acknowledging
color is OK; in this country color presumes a part of American history,
politics and social history that should be out there. Color and appearance
are what white Americans respond to. White Americans must be asked to
go beyond appearances to get to know a person.
3. There seemed to be a glaring omission in the discussion on TV and
I perhaps you can tell me if it has come up in Commission talks - white
Americans must confront the feeling of superiority towards others that
are different. It is painful and difficult. Do you agree?
4. Are there any groups engaging in this dialogue in NJ? If so, Can
you tell me where I can contact them. Also, I am trying to confront
my own assumptions about color and differences. It is a very difficult
experience. Are there forums, online discussions that I could enter?
5. Presidential leadership - While I'm glad Pres. Clinton raises and
talks about race, I found his contributions to the discussion not useful.
He tried to focus discussion on what the government can do. The problem
is not identified yet. He talked too much about himself. And, he seemed
to want the American people to exercise leadership in their own lives
on race issues and that he'd follow (by way of polls) rather than exercising
Girgis of Mission Hills, CA writes:
I am an immigrant myself from Egypt and I made it a rule at home to
speak with my children only in English since we arrived to this country.
All this about preserving our culture should only be kept as history
telling at home. Assimilation in our community should be of utmost importance
and we should mix so that physical features aside we should speak the
English language in such a way as to avoid any perceivable accent. This
I believe is another way to cut down on discrimination. When we left
our country to immigrate to this great land we resolved that we will
put our old country behind us and never use it as our inherited culture,
because we knew then and we are sure now that this attitude eliminates
the friction between people.
E. Baer of Anniston, AL writes:
Are race relations really poor or just made so by constantly stirring
the pot? It seems to me it is a political issue that some do not want
to let go... or be solved. Agitators!!
Sarkar of Washington, D.C. writes:
I saw the panel discussion last night on race, but I was very disappointed
to see the lack of real diversity. There was no one there who "represented"
Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Thais, Indonesians, Koreans, Japanese,
Sri Lankans etc. Elaine Chao was picked as the "token" Asian-American,
but this is quite unfair to pick one person to represent a growing presence
of these diverse groups in this country. There was also no one of Middle
Eastern descent represented on the panel. These are important minority
groups with a voice. Sherman Alexie said Native Americans have been
basically ignored, isn't this happening to these groups as well? I know
you can't represent everyone and please everyone, but I thought I should
point this out. Thank you for providing me an opportunity to voice my
of E.Orange writes:
I think this race issue boils down to economics; if everyone can sustain
themselves economically within their community; I think there will be
better respect within the races .
L. Mui of New Orleans, LA writes:
As an Asian American ,I am quite disappointed with the NewsHour's
choice of Elaine Chao to represent her views as the only Asian American
on the panel. While Ms. Chao is certainly entitled to her views, I believe
that other points of view from members of the Asian American community
ought to be included as well.
Ms. Chao speaks more for the angry white male, and her position on
affirmative action certainly reflects the most common misconception
about affirmative action-- that AA=quotas. What people like Ms. Chao
have failed to acknowledge is that there are many other forms of affirmative
action at work in our system. In university admissions, for example,
there are seats reserved for "legacy" applicants. Why is it that people
who challenge affirmative action programs for minorities don't challenge
those other forms of affirmative action? Is it because they are in a
position to take advantage of them? Finally, I find it interesting that
Ms. Chao had focused only on affirmative action in a discussion on race
relations in the United States. And what she had to say was divisive.
I believe that the NewsHour should have included a second Asian American
voice on the panel, one that does not reflect the views of the Heritage
West of Cleveland, OH writes:
Question: To what extent do differing personal values play a role in
prejudicial attitudes and behavior?
Related comment: When I listen to people talk of how they "have a problem"
with a particular culture, neighborhood, or group of people, my feeling
is that their real problem is, in part, with what they observe to be
values different from their own. I can personally attest to the power
of personal values: I had a "falling out" with my father after he and
my mother divorced. To this day, I don't feel comfortable being in the
same room with him because we do not share many of the same core values.
Such is the power of a person's inner values and beliefs. If it can
be the source of discomfort between flesh and blood, I can just imagine
its influence in situations where a person feels they have little in
common with whomever to begin with!
Reedy of Alton, IL writes:
I watched with a great deal of interest and appreciation (for PBS)
the July 8th special "Dialogue on Race with President Clinton" and was
greatly saddened that we as a multi-ethnic nation are still wrestling
with questions on how do we all get along in this country of ours. One
of the problems, as I see it, in addressing the issues of race relations
is the historical unresolved issue of citizenship: do all "citizens"
or rather residents of the United States of America really feel a sense
of ownership or belonging in the collective community of our nation?
I think as long as we continue to talk in terms of white/black relations
to the exclusion of relations among all peoples of color and ethnic
backgrounds we can never get started on the path of national healing
in order to truly be the world leader in human relations that we were
destined to be. Please continue to host more panel discussions on this
most important subject.
Chapman of Marietta, GA writes:
It seems to me that race relations are not progressing as well as they
should because of preferential treatment given to blacks. Ending affirmative
action type programs would be a major factor in improving race relations
as it would lessen the resentment whites have towards blacks. Fortunately
we have seen reduced racism amongst whites towards blacks. However,
racism amongst blacks is not only tolerated but largely encouraged.
This is a major area we need to work on.
Marinelli of Philadelphia PA writes:
I watched the President and the PBS contributors when it was aired
Thursday evening, and as a physically disabled Caucasian female of 35,
I would add to the discussion the following point: the physically disabled,
whom experience the most discrimination in America today, were of course
not addressed in the President's discussion because of course, we are
not a race, but I think we are an oppressed minority and should be included
in the dialogue.
Second point: I am unfortunately, going to prove a portion of Clarence
Page's argument right. I fear working class African American males.
When I lived in North Philadelphia proper in the early 90's, I was attacked
by one because he wanted drug money. I put him in jail but when I am
out on the street, any black male in T-shirt and jeans with a terse
expression on his face gets a wide berth from me, rolling along in my
electric wheelchair, and I feel anxious until I am well out of the way;
this fear is wrong but I cannot deny its existence, despite the fact
that, no doubt if I knew Clarence Page, I would end up enjoying a discussion
with him. I enjoyed the discussion, and commend the NewsHour staff for
its excellent television journalism. Keep up the good work.
Hirsch of Chevy Chase, MD writes:
I believe that there is a downside to our recent extolling of "diversity".
In promoting diversity, we first go through the almost unconscious process
of putting people into categorical cubicles and then urge that we must
have representation from each of these cubicles or as many as possible.
This only tends to reinforce the sense of "otherness" about which Roger
Rosenblatt spoke. Diversity among different species, which we term "biodiversity",
has an important biological role. But human beings of different races,
ethnic groups are one species. Yes, these human categories derive from
our historical past and we cannot deny their existence deep in the human
psyche. But the sooner we appreciate each other as unique individuals
rather than as representatives of arbitrarily defined groups, the better
off we shall be. Replies are welcome.
W. Johnston of Florence, KY writes:
I was quite surprised and relieved to see Native American representation
on the Jim Lehrer/President Clinton PBS discussion. I am very concerned
about the exclusion of the Native American experience in discussions
about race. Racism against Native Americans is far more widespread and
destructive in America than is generally recognized. The dominant Native
American image in our country is a male warrior frozen in the pre-twentieth
century. We supposedly "honor" Native people by naming our sports teams
after them. Would we dare claim that naming sports teams after other
races such as Jews would be acceptable? When we play cowboys and Indians
we desensitize ourselves as children to the humanity of Native persons
- as if being Indian is a role like a cowboy rather than a birthright.
The attack on Native identity is a real problem. Go into any non-Indian
school and ask children what they know about "Indians." The answers
will be a frightening reflection of our failure to understand the Native
experience. Is it any wonder suicide among Native youth is so exceptionally
high? I wish to emphasize two issues regarding race. One is that we
need to ask each other to be honest about what images come up when we
think of the word "Indian," or "African American'" or "Asian" or "Jew,"
or "White." The answers will reveal a lot. We need to ask how to appreciate
and emphasize the similarities between races while appreciating the
distinctions. Second, we need to have a public school system which teaches
the true American history so that we do not only learn that the Louisiana
Purchase was bought from France, but that it bought the European rights
to the land and that transactions still had to be made with the Native
peoples occupying those lands. We need to learn of the Supreme Court
case the Cherokee nation won against the state of Georgia and how President
Jackson mocked the Supreme Court and moved the Cherokee anyway. This
is an example of the racism against Indians which is in our nations
history. Unless we learn about it, we cannot grow out of it. In short
we need to learn Native American history when we learn American history
because the two are inseparable. More focus on Native American Indian
reservations and news is definitely needed in the media. When can such
a change of affairs be expected and when will the work begin? How can
Choi of New Orleans, LA writes:
I just finished viewing your special on the President's Race Initiative.
Thank you for including a representative, Sherman Alexie, from the Native
I was struck, however, by two things. First, President Clinton's admission
that when he took office, he knew nearly nothing about Native Americans.
He obviously did his homework for he seems to have an understanding
of their predicament.
Nevertheless, it is incredible that so few Americans, including those
with power over Native Americans,(Presidents and the Congress,)know
so little about them. Please, can you devote one of your in depth programs
to Native American issues? They are currently under multi-pronged attacks
in Congress which, if successful, will eventually lead to the destruction
of Native America. This is not the kind of country we should be.
Please speak to Senator Daniel K. Inouye about the state of Native
America. You can also get the Native American viewpoint from the National
Congress of American Indians. And Vine Deloria Jr., author and scholar,is
another highly knowledgeable resource person. I think that Native Americans
should have the opportunity to speak for themselves ion addition to
any others. My second point is that the racism Native Americans face
is somewhat different from what is popularly known. There are groups
which want to abolish reservations and which hide white supremacy and
anti-Indian agendas under fine-sounding words such as "equality". In
addition, though, Indians also face "regular" racism in schools, by
the justice system, at public establishments.
Stewart of Chicago, Illinois writes:
The program on race would have been much enhanced by the inclusion
of academics who study race relations, and by civil rights lawyers,
investigators or activists who work every day on these issues. Journalists
with no specific education or training in race relations tended to fall
back on personal stories, with the result than most of the critical
issues in race relations were not discussed.
D. McFadden of San Francisco, CA writes:
Unfortunately the message re the SF school and rationing of places
by race was incomplete. The basic problem is there are too many very
good students who can do the work in the one truly academic public High
School. The city needs to provide for all students who are capable and
they don't. Not only are the oriental students being short changed but
students of all races or ethnic origins are loosing out. SF can readily
use at least one more academic school, perhaps two but the problem is
to staff it adequately with faculty and to allow those teachers more
leeway to challenge the students who can do the work. SF has a substantial
number of private high schools Why? If there were not it would be a
total disaster for the entire public education system. So, it should
not be a matter of who can be let in. Every child should have the opportunity
to be as "good as he or she can be". Rationing of education is to cheat
all. The tragedy is also that the community cannot see what is happening.
Sayre of Vancouver, WA writes:
Kay James has it right.
I was impressed by what Kay James said about racism being a heart problem,
or a problem of sin. I believe that she is right in her assessment.
I was disappointed that her view was quickly glossed over by the other
speakers on the panel. Now, how to address the problem from that angle?
All the affirmative action, busing, integration in the world will not
fix the heart. I applaud President Clinton for opening this dialogue.
I hope we as an American people can begin talking together. Maybe that
will affect the heart.
Gaudio of Corvallis, OR writes:
In the past (and present), we have attempted to solve race problems
through programs such as Affirmative Action, which try to solve the
problem by consciously "equalizing" workplaces and public institutions.
Now ideas like this are increasingly under attack for being "reverse-discrimination."
On the other hand, there are some small movements to "natural" segregation;
for example, ending busing programs for schools. The idea is presumably
to focus resources on other issues rather than integration.
It is my contention that as long as the primary focus of discussions
and debates continues to be race, then racism will never go away. If
we continue to talk about groups of people as distinct races, how can
we expect them not to think of themselves as such?
Race is a psychosomatic phenomenon.
With these opinions in mind, isn't the majority of today's discussion
actually off track? Is there a way to deal with the "racial" problems
we, as a society, have, without accepting race as a factual concept?
L. Presant of Grand Rapids MI writes:
I recently participated in a Healing Racism program through our local
Chamber of Commerce. Very heavy dialogue between black and white business
leaders... and very helpful to breaking down emotional barriers. However,
we were a self-selected group who "get it" that racism persists. How
do we help others, specifically in the workplace, to recognize that
it's in business' self-interest to integrate employees and aggressively
seek out minority customers, suppliers, etc.?
Blanchard of Yorktown, VA writes:
When black people, Native American Indian people, or other ethnic groups
gather to celebrate their racial and cultural heritage, it is "officially"
approved as an expression of ethnic and cultural pride.
But when white people gather together to celebrate the same thing,
that is, their culture and ethnic heritage, they run the very strong
risk of being condemned as racists or so-called "white supremacists."
Why should white people be judged more harshly or by different standards
than other ethnic groups? If it is a good and healthy thing for other
ethnic and cultural groups to take pride in their ethnic group's history
and cultural achievements, why is the same thing not healthy and good
when practiced by white people?
I bear no guilt for what happened before I was alive on this planet.
And my family never owned slaves. Why should I therefore not be able
to celebrate my family's great achievements, past and present?
of Troy, NY writes:
I am the grandson and son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary who came
here to escape persecution and certain death. As a result of this history
I have always been deeply concerned about human rights and the way people
treat each other The accomplishments of the courageous patriots who
fought and suffered for the noble cause of human freedom during the
civil rights struggle have always made me proud to be an American. I
hope their selfless sacrifice will not be forgotten by an America that
reverts back to polarization and the ugly face of hate. I know the world
expressed in John Lennon's "Imagine" may be simplistic and unattainable,
but the dream must never die. I also feel that President Clinton deserves
support for this undertaking to bridge gaps and help unite people. His
sincere efforts to utilize the power of the presidency for racial healing
seems to have been met with far less support than it deserves. I believe
history will judge his initiative to be of far more value than the current
Mansheim of Passaic, NJ writes:
I am a Master candidate in Social Work and am grateful for having tuned
in at just the right time. I think that the dialogue was fascinating
and echoed many of the thoughts that have been voiced in my courses.
I thought there was a large focus on integration which I applaud. I
think that, besides dealing with how that integration will happen and
"at what cost," we need also to talk about why many groups will find
it necessary not to integrate at some level. For instance, it was brought
up in a class that with desegregation came a fleeing of successful blacks
from the poorer communities leaving other blacks looking for good role
models. Some amount of segregation is positive because it promotes pride
and unity to allow people to gain an identity in this barrel of difference
which is the United States. Also, in my community, the Jewish community,
our freedom in this country has led to disruption from assimilation
which is tearing our community apart. So, besides the issue of where
do we draw the line between quotas and merit, there is also the question
of the line between pros of unity on a macro vs. a micro level.
Edwards of Northbrook, IL writes:
Tonight's DIALOGUE ON RACE was so very helpful! Clinton listened, gave
clean feedback which reflected his capacity to integrate the collective
wisdom of the group. I've ordered a copy of the tape-- it is a great
catalyst for further and deeper thoughtfulness in our local StudentQuest
program which focuses on community-building and acts of compassion.
D. Powell of Madison, WI writes:
Why are "Hispanics" treated as a "race" or as "any race" for affirmative
action purposes? This means that Hispanics can claim to be "white" for
social purposes and "minorities" for jobs, university admissions, scholarships,
I know that MOST Hispanics are mixed-race to various extents, but
they claimed to be "white" in the census before the affirmative action
benefits started. It is unfair for a Hispanic to be able to "skip out"
on the "race" question when mixed-race Anglos and Louisiana Creoles
aren't allowed to be both "white" and "minority" at the same time.
Since the proponents of affirmative action have always said that the
big difference between "minorities" and "whites" is color (the latter
can assimilate while the former are visible), may I suggest that anyone
who looks "white" be EXCLUDED from affirmative action and that nonwhite
Hispanics be forced to declare a "race" within the extremely limited
census categories just like everyone else.
Diamond of Santa Cruz, CA writes:
After observing the contrast between President Clinton's appointed
race panel and last week's News Hour dialogue on race with the President,
I have to wonder if simply dismissing the work of the appointed panel
is not appropriate. I think its apparent that a year of opportunity
to have an actual meaningful dialogue on race has been squandered. Shouldn't
the President offer a mea culpa for selecting a panel unrepresentative
of public and intellectual opinion?
Rotherham of San Diego CA writes:
Here in California the issue is not a Black and White issue but rather
a multicultural/diversity issue. I was very glad to see Latinos, Asians
and Native Americans on the discussion panel. African Americans and
Whites (I prefer the term European American.) both share in the east
to west history of the U.S.
However, here in California and in the Southwest both groups are relative
latecomers. Historically this area was settled by Hispanics and Mexicans.
The present Latino migration into the area is, in many ways, a logical
extension of this original settlement of the area. You people on the
east coast seem to forget this.
This brings me to another topic. There was a lot of discussion on
terminology. Here in California we are moving to cultural terms rather
than racial: thus Latinos, Asian Americans, European Americans, African
Americans. Richard Rodriguez pointed out that racial terms are inaccurate
in that they focus on skin color rather that culture.
I also think that Clinton's focus on quality education for all children
is very important. I am very disturbed that here in California we seem
to be developing educational policy through the ballot. We need to support
schools and teachers so that children can learn not matter what their
economic, familial, or linguistic background.
Walsh of Oakland CA writes:
I was delighted to discover the telecast of the president's "Dialogue
on Race." I agree that much has changed since the days of Dr. King,
but much still needs to be done. I'd like President Clinton to know
that I support and applaud his efforts to keep the dialogue going. I
particularly appreciate the inclusion of the more "conservative" point
of view. It is such an emotional topic, I feel that I do not often hear,
or for that matter, listen to other perspectives. While I still ardently
support some kind of affirmative action, I agree that we should reassess
our strategies to reflect today's realities. Thank you for sponsoring
this very important discussion. It was engaging and thought-provoking.
Gunyan of Rohnert Park, CA writes:
With regard to the issue of determining the diversity of a school,
why do we look only at race as a determining factor? What about talent,
intelligence, experience and potential? These are factors that are more
important than race.
For an elementary school, where students are forced to attend, basing
the makeup of the school on race may make sense. However, care must
be taken to assure that the racial quotas used are determined at a local
level. It makes no sense to base the racial makeup of schools in Boise,
Idaho on the racial makeup of the nation, for example.
However, colleges are a different story altogether. People choose to
go to college; they are not forced. The makeup of a college should not
depend on race, but rather on talent, intelligence, experience, and
potential of each person considered. There should be no discussion at
all about race. If it is found that the racial makeup of colleges are
not comparable to the racial makeup of the pool that the college draws
from, then affirmative action is NOT the solution. The solution is to
find out WHY members of a certain race are not prepared for college
and HOW to remedy that situation. Affirmative action for higher education
is a Band-Aid, not a cure.
I could make a similar argument for business.
I would like to see this issue addressed. While viewing the "dialogue
on race with President Clinton," I have not seen this point raised.
The focus has been on Band-Aid solutions and not on solutions to root
problems. I hope this point of view will be considered.
Thurman of Portland, OR writes:
It is difficult for me to believe that relationships between the various
races in America is something that can be actively shaped or directed
by the government. Time heals all wounds and as time marches on we do
become a more cohesive society. If one steps back to look at the progress
that has been made over the last fifty years, the magnitude of change
that has taken place is astounding. Granted, the changes that have occurred
represent a lot of time and energy spent by true heroes, but I propose
that the real effect of all of this effort was the impression that it
made upon the young people of the country. The government can implement
as many programs and hold as many town meetings as it wants, but they
cannot affect real change in people's attitudes. Individual change can
only come from individual experience with individuals of other races.
No one can force a positive experience with someone of another race
upon you. If the President feels like he has to do something to improve
race relations, I say that he preach the message that racism is inherently
ignorant and destructive and challenge every American. to share this
message, but realize that the real reason for preaching this message
is to insure that our children hear it and will take it to heart and
will carry us towards a better America in the future.
Burgess of Upper Darby, PA writes:
What in all honesty can be accomplished by this discussion. As an African
American. Woman, I face racism on some level, every single day. I seriously
believe that will not change in my lifetime. Does any one on the panel
really believe that it will happen. And, if affirmative action is abolished,
what will happen then. Will things go back to the way they were, or
get worse than they are?
Robertson of Chestnut Drive writes:
I think affirmative action based on race should be ended in favor of
assistance to the poor regardless of race. I am particularly distressed
about our lack of assistance to the people of southern Appalachia.
McHenry of Rock Hill, SC writes:
It would appear a significant number of race and gender initiatives
demand equal outcome rather than equal opportunity. Assuming this is
at least in part true, have we not removed personal responsibility from
the equation to the detriment of achieving final equality?