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Connerly's view of affirmative action

December 03, 2006

Re "Affirmative action era over, foe says," Nov. 26

Unfortunately, continuing racism in our society does not support former University of California Regent Ward Connerly's view that the demise of affirmative action in America is fast approaching. Until we have data that show we have a level playing field that enables merit to be the single most important criterion for selection in our institutions, the need for some methods for ensuring that people are not marginalized because of their race will continue.

KARL STRANDBERG

Long Beach

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Re "Our unlevel playing field," Opinion, Nov. 29

The problem with Connerly's battle against affirmative action is that he has defined his enemy too narrowly. Affirmative action has been employed to benefit more groups than just African Americans and Latinos.

Many white students get into the most prestigious colleges because of legacy preferences. Children from rich families often are accepted despite mediocre credentials because universities expect those families to contribute money. Athletes who play sports are admitted with low grades. Children who have famous parents can expect preferential treatment. Connerly is right to insist that we inspect affirmative action. Let's just make sure that we get inside the belly of the beast and look at its innards.

PATRICK MATTIMORE

San Francisco

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