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Racism and Russia

February 26, 1988

I must say it was quite a jolt reading about Soviet journalist Yelena Khanga, who extols the joys of living under the Soviet Union's totalitarian regime ("Black Russian--Moscow Reporter Discovers that U.S. Race Relations Aren't Just Black and White" by Itabari Njeri, Feb. 8).

Here we have a black woman, ruled over by a white government that refuses to let her vote, own real property, move into the neighborhood of her choice, talk about politics, attend a church the government hasn't approved or marry whomever she chooses. (Just let her marry someone publicly espousing republican ideals, or some other troublemaker, and see what happens to that cushy propaganda job of hers.)

The government does, however, let her smile while posing for pictures and wear stylish clothing to impress the people her white masters tell her to meet.

Never mind that there is no such thing as an independent press in the Soviet Union, so the description of her as a "journalist" may as well be applied to Larry Speakes or George Bush.

Never mind that she presented no proof of so-called equality of race in the Soviet Union. I'm sure the Lithuanians, Estonians and other ethnic groups forced to sacrifice their cultures will be very interested to hear this.

Never mind that the standard of living is so low in the Soviet Union that the average black in America lives a life the average Soviet can only dream about.


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