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Playing the 'Color Game' and Pursuing the American Dream

December 12, 1987

As a lawyer and an educator, I was disgusted to read a story that will bring disrespect to both professions. I refer to the story of the $2.1-million lawsuit filed by the family of a student who took part in a simulated racial relations exercise. What will come next--a lawsuit alleging that a student suffered emotional anguish by having to study World War I?

Simulations are a well-accepted educational technique, and are described in scores of educational books and journals. Their effectiveness is borne out by this very exercise--the "emotionally damaged" plaintiff is quoted as stating that the students who were assigned to the upper class became "domineering little women." And she says she doesn't know what they learned?

All of us with children should be grateful that there are teachers who ask students to draw lessons from their own experiences rather than strictly from texts and lectures. And we in the legal profession can only hope for an end to specious suits such as these which bring us all disrespect, add to court congestion, and deflect media attention from valid social problems.

PAUL BERGMAN

Los Angeles

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