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Gathering Racial Information Benefits All

September 10, 2003

Re "Races With No Winners," Commentary, Sept. 4: Ward Connerly's argument that individual Californians are being hurt by the state collection of racial and ethnic data is patently absurd. Social justice groups and health advocates view the gathering of racial and ethnic data as a positive step toward providing better public services to all communities in California. Gathering racial and ethnic data to understand how different diseases affect different communities is a good thing. Gathering racial and ethnic data to determine which kids are not receiving a sound, quality education is a good thing. And certainly gathering racial and ethnic data to identify victims of hate crimes is a very good thing. The information gathered by the state is not used in a nefarious fashion; in fact, it is used to better the lives of all Californians.

Bethany Leal

Los Angeles

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