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Reverse Discrimination in South Africa

June 25, 2002

I was surprised but gratified to see The Times reporting on reverse discrimination in South Africa ("South African Whites Say Deck Is Stacked Against Them," June 19). When affirmative action was implemented in the United States, it was to help a relatively small minority that had experienced discrimination to "catch up." In the case of South Africa, the affected class is the vast majority of the population--you quote a figure of 77%.

The long-term effect of all this will be to force the white minority out of positions of authority and opportunity. This in turn will force the emigration of a large proportion of whites, an emigration that you indicate has already begun. I am not arguing that this will be an irreparable "brain drain," but the blacks will have to work hard to catch up. One must hope that the result will not be as it has in almost every other sub-Saharan country in Africa: tribalism, demagoguery, dictatorship, poverty and genocide. South Africa has more durable parliamentary institutions than its neighbors. Let us hope it survives in fact as well as in form.

Walter S. Fisher

Palos Verdes

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During white rule in South Africa, change for blacks came very, very slowly and after a protracted struggle to correct the apartheid system. Yet whites expect change under black rule to be quick and immediate. It seems to me that patience and perseverance are synonymous only to blacks. That bothers me.

Kofi Paraocha

Los Angeles

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