Apartheid is the most vicious and morally reprehensible form of institutionalized racism in the world today. On May 7, I announced a six-point program of sanctions by the City of Los Angeles against South Africa's apartheid regime. One of the key elements of my program is the divestiture--in a timely and fiscally prudent manner--of all city pension funds that are invested in companies doing business in South Africa.
No one who heard Nobel Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu speak last week in Los Angeles could possibly oppose divestiture--as you did in your editorial (May 9), "Wrong Answer to Outrage"--on the ground that American investment somehow "helps" oppressed blacks. As Bishop Tutu said, "I would much rather live in control of my destiny than live in clover."
Of course, as Bishop Tutu also emphasized, South Africa's blacks do not live in "clover." On the contrary, all South African blacks are denied the most basic human rights, and tens of millions of blacks have been forced to relocate to so-called "homelands" where they live in poverty and despair.
Indeed, your editorial paints a misleading picture of the impact of American investment of South Africa's oppressed black majority. You ignore the fact that American corporations employ less than 1% of all the working people in South Africa. Thus, the overwhelming majority of the black population is untouched by the efforts of American corporations.