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Pros and Cons on 'Being White'

January 07, 1990

I was not sure whether to be amused or alarmed by Itabari Njeri's feature on "white pride" behavior retraining ("Facing Up to Being White," Dec. 28). What began with a description of another tedious support group instilling a need to recapture lost "roots" descended into one more diatribe, spoken softly, of how white Americans are solely responsible for everything wrong with the United States and can be counted on to perpetuate the social sins of the fathers.

Pierre Van Den Berghe, quoted in the piece, is right. We are becoming more fragmented as a society by this type of thinking, and our equal opportunity programs are based on the wrong logic. The Civil Rights act of 1965 can be thought of as a kind of dinner party with a guest list of five groups: race, religion, color, creed and national origin. Presumably this covers everybody. However, there are groups not invited by name (women, Native Americans, gays) who would like to attend. Congress would have done much better by simply restating the Preamble to the Constitution and making it stick.

Orphaned at birth, I am white and male but I lack an ethnic identity. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has since determined it is not necessary for me to know my ancestry, valuing as it does my parents' rights to privacy over my desire to know where I came from. I will simply have to live with being an American and try to remember that we are all in this together.

RUDI LOGAN

West Hollywood

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