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Misunderstanding in Black and White

March 20, 1994

Re "Face to Face, Race to Race" (March 11): While Nathan McCall must have some notable talent as a writer to win the awards he's won and land a job with the Washington Post, he certainly doesn't seem to be a person of high moral standards if his shopworn rationalizations of his past crimes and misdeeds are any indication.

He is just the latest symptom of the despicable disease afflicting our society, the glorification of crime and violence--in fact, as a commodity. Rap has been doing it for years. Society is so benumbed to violence and desensitized to scandal and injustice there seems to be no common set of ethical standards. It's OK to market oneself as a bad boy and recount one's violent and criminal past if it will sell a book or the man.

I hate it that someone who did so much to hurt others is now living the high life, seemingly remorseless. Sure, racial oppression is a horror, but is it not really moral weakness that makes one feel drawn to the toughs on the corner as a peer group?

JEFF SOFTLEY

West Hollywood

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I don't in any way condone the past actions of Nathan McCall, but I am frustrated by the lack of understanding of his rage.

White people will never know the constant humiliation of being judged and stereotyped because of their skin color; to be denied a job, followed around in a store or detained by police because of their skin color. It doesn't matter if you are wearing a $1,000 suit or baggy pants--if you are black, you are perceived as a threat.

For white Americans, it has become such a natural instinct to distrust any black person and so widely accepted, they see nothing demeaning or wrong about their reactions. They are just protecting themselves. It doesn't matter if innocent people get hurt in the process. As a young professional, I feel no matter how much higher education I achieve or how much money I make, I will never be respected or treated as an equal.

NIKKI WRIGHT

Reseda

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I would like to know why Nathan McCall was not asked his reasons for gang-raping girls with his pals while in their youth. They wanted to degrade and humiliate these girls into feeling as bad about themselves as they obviously did. They are sick and violent men and should be locked up.

LAURA McKINNEY

Los Angeles

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