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Letters in VIEW : On Being Ethnic

March 27, 1985

Re: "You Can Go Ethnic Again" (by Beverly Beyette, March 13), as an American I would like to ask some questions and express my layman views on the article.

Why? Why do ethnic groups feel the necessity to be so concerned about heritage and cultural background? Why do they insist on maintaining the same prejudices and evoking prejudice upon themselves that their ancestors migrated to this country to escape? What is so important about being ethnic? Isn't being American enough?

Human relationship is what this country is all about. It was established as a haven for all oppressed people of the world to escape the prejudices of the past. It is the "melting pot of the world." Its society offers the opportunity for people to become one in a nation and under a government unlike any other in the world, but that opportunity will never be realized as long as people insist on separating themselves. The social structure is not to blame. It is not "society's attitudes toward ethnic and racial minorities" that creates problems, it is those who would hold themselves apart and maintain separatists in attitudes toward one another.

Only when ethnic groups become unbiased and tolerant of one another, only when the perpetuation of Old World prejudices and hatreds desist, and only when pride in being just Americans is considered sufficient will we become the one people for which this country was founded.

For 60 years, I have owed allegiance to none but my fellow human beings and my country and, by God, I am proud of my American heritage!


Los Angeles

Welcome, Go Away

Regarding "Silva Letter Holders in an Immigration Limbo" (by Garry Abrams, March 17): Strange how all the illegals jump out of the woodwork and show us their Silva letters. I'm sad my country has so many aliens here now. I go down Vermont Avenue and feel I'm in a different country.

Strange these (people) don't go home and try to fix up their own countries. Instead they run here when the going gets tough, depress entry level wages, take housing intended for Americans and leave us new generations to import foreign cultures that have changed the face of America forever, and while my own government turns a blind eye.


Marina del Rey

If the Silva letter holders have never been given consideration in any immigration legislation, they are entitled to it and this country should now extend its helping arms to them. Perhaps now that Lady Liberty in New York Harbor is receiving a rejuvenation, it will be easier for her to lift her tired arms and again hold them out willingly to those who deserve to be welcomed to our shores by giving them legal status as citizens.

With all the terrible things going on in this world today, the Silva controversy offers us a golden opportunity to show to all nations that this country can still open its heart and welcome people who need help.


Beverly Hills

Music Hath Charms

Kudos to Jack Smith for his column on March 13. Too many journalists, especially music critics, forget that composers (and performers) of "serious" music are allowed to have personal lives. By describing the composer Hector Berlioz as a "passionate, headstrong, lovesick romantic . . . in pursuit of an Irish actress," Smith reminds us that emotions play a major role in the arts. Berlioz's personality shows in his music, as do those of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mancini, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, et al. And the personalities of the performers are evident also; just listen to several recordings of the same work performed by different artists.

Smith's humanizing of music is warmly welcomed. We in the arts are real people. We spend many hours building confidence and competence, loving and hating, learning and longing. And we also move about quite a bit. It takes concentration and effort to get the music out, be it through an instrument or a pen. For me, personally, it's a combination of cursing and praying.

By describing what happened at the concert, Smith points out one of the greatest joys of music--watching it happen. I've learned more about music by watching musicians than by listening. Players' actions tend to reveal the emotions and intent of the written score. I would suppose that is the reason so many people continue to show up at the Music Center.


Conductor-Music Director

The Hollywood Pops Orchestra

Radical Breakthrough

As an ophthalmologist and radial keratotomy surgeon, I have serious concerns over the impression Allan Parachini's article ("Eye Surgery Pitch--Is It Hype or Hope," March 3) may have created among the public. While it may be true that some doctors have resorted to using rather unprofessional means of building their practices and have made exaggerated claims about the benefits of radial keratotomy, that does not diminish the value and importance of this procedure.

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