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Computers Won't Take a Byte Out of Racism

January 16, 1994

Regarding "The Era of Fragments" (Jan. 2), I feel the need to comment on something often heard in the glowing talk about communication via computer network. Howard Reingold of the Whole Earth Review repeats the overly optimistic view that computers are "a healing tool in our increasingly fragmented society."

Racism and bigotry divide our society, and we should not look to computers nor put our hopes in them for answers. The bigot and racist will not gain enlightenment by going on-line. Those who accept people will continue to do so by computer and in person. Those who are prejudiced will not be convinced of their antisocial behavior or compelled to change it by communicating via modem.

Only face-to-face human interaction with those unlike ourselves can bring a true understanding to the closed-minded in our midst.

ADAM NEWMAN

Los Angeles

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