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'Black-White Divide'

October 24, 1994

I found "Black-White Divide Appears to Be Widening" (Oct. 11) inflammatory and incorrect in claiming that whites are specifically targeting blacks in their decreasing support of "equal opportunity" programs. Rather, I sense a feeling that entitlements of any kind are wrong for everyone, and that they have gone too far, creating even more inequality and anger in the workplace and in society.

I teach college at night. One of my students, a black female (and a government employee) was working on her BA degree, with her tuition paid by her employer (the taxpayers). During one of our conversations, she declared that her ancestors were promised "40 acres and a mule" to make up for their suffering as slaves. She wanted to know when she would be getting her "40 acres and a mule," never mind the money spent on her education, as well as the special programs that helped her get the job that she had. I, like many whites, want to know, when is enough enough?



* It's not surprising that middle-class whites think their share of the economic pie is shrinking. But it is pretty amazing that so many are willing to lay the blame on a racial minority in which only one household in seven has an income of $50,000 or more.


El Segundo

* Re Mickey Kaus' Oct. 14 commentary, "Blaming Genes to Excuse Social Inaction":

What's better, Kaus' liberal, compassionate point of view concerning blacks and their IQ deficit or Charles Murray's argument that blacks are intellectually inferior? Neither. They, as most Western elitists, will never understand the virtual meaninglessness of IQ. Born of poor, uneducated parents, I was valedictorian from an all-black high school in Georgia 27 years ago, just in time to ride the first wave of token entries into elite white universities.

With only a paltry 1,200 on my Scholastic Aptitude Test, I got into MIT, where the average was 1,470. One of five blacks in a freshman class of 1,000, I'm sure I had the lowest score in my class. Everybody knew I was a token entry, including my white, liberal adviser. You'd better believe I felt out-of-place and inferior, especially when I nearly flunked out my first semester. But I knew that every system had a key, and that anyone who worked hard was destined to find it. One fellow in my otherwise-white fraternity flunked out in two semesters. His SAT score: a perfect 1,600! A few of my other white brothers never earned a degree.

My fate? After only 4 1/2 years, I graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering with a 4.5 grade point average (out of a possible 5.0) in my major. Not only that, but I am broadly educated, successful in the real world and can hold my own with intellectuals from any background.

Despite all of this, I am still no smarter than I was back then. I just very consciously mastered the rules of a different game. It doesn't bother me that blacks are perceived to be intellectually slower. Even if it's true, it doesn't mean anything. We're just different. Regardless, those of us who have a mind to achieve, will.



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