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Steele on Prop. 54 and Racial Statistics

September 22, 2003

Shelby Steele's Sept. 18 commentary is ridiculous. As a college grad and a black female, I do not see myself as a victim. I do, however, acknowledge that racism is real and sometimes my education, brains and character are not recognized because someone may have a prejudiced viewpoint.

Steele states: "But blacks and other minorities would gain a precious racial invisibility that would only make us more visible as human beings." Oh, please, racial invisibility? And not collecting data is going to make my race invisible? Hardly. Maybe on paper, but when my black face shows up at an interview or to rent an apartment, my color will not be invisible.

Abena Williams

North Hollywood

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Thanks to Steele. Rather than being a path to remedy, this pernicious view that we are pigmented, gendered, oriented, "origined," tribalized and "ability-ized" is nothing less than the diminution of the human spirit -- and a made-in-hell opportunity for exploitation. The vacuous tomes of social scientists, the quick legislative fixes of politicians and the preening for the press by movement leaders come readily to mind. Is there goodwill within the ranks of the diversifiers? Sure. It may even predominate. But there is a mighty stake in the persistence of groupthink. And until society says "Enough!" the fractionalization will persist along with it.

Everybody can be a magnificent friend, teacher, lover, healer-of-the-spirit, caretaker to the young and decent citizen. Nothing else matters all that much. Our focus should be squarely upon the commonalities of humankind.

Jim Torcivia

Westlake Village

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