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Racial Stereotypes in New York Times Case

May 19, 2003

Re "Two Cases, Two Races," Commentary, May 15: So Norah Vincent worries that the Jayson Blair debacle and affirmative action (evidently they're interchangeable) are giving blacks a bad name. How magnanimous. This is exactly the kind of presumptuous attitude born of ignorance and white privilege that affirmative action seeks to redress. What Vincent refuses to say is that for every Jayson Blair there are hordes of perfectly upstanding -- even award-winning -- black journalists, myself included. We would likely not be where we are if our employers hadn't considered diversity when we were hired. In painting with a broad brush to complain about stereotypes, Vincent reveals her own all too clearly.

Blacks have had image problems for generations, long before the advent of affirmative action. It is history, not Blair, that militates against us.

Erin Aubry Kaplan

Inglewood

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