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Ethnic Identities

April 29, 1990

Why is it that in our society, whenever we make reference to a person identified as a member of a "minority" group, we always feel compelled to identify his ethnicity? As a minority, I find this practice very annoying, for it serves no purpose but to perpetuate and reinforce the "us and them" illusion of many in the majority group.

I am referring to Ben Yandell's article (Op-Ed Page, April 18), which I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed. Had the "middle-aged Latino" he saw taking the contents out of his recycling containers been Anglo would he have referred to him as a "middle-aged white man"? I suspect I know what the answer would be had the man been black.

Minorities are often criticized for transforming our country's melting pot into a salad bowl, but how can we be expected to join the mainstream when we are constantly being reminded of the existence of two groups and our non-acceptance into the larger, dominant group.

ARMANDO DE LA O

Alhambra

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