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Discussing race in the campaign

September 27, 2008

Re "Misplaying the race card," Opinion, Sept. 23

I am incredulous. Jonah Goldberg wants to blame the Democrats for playing the race card.

It was the Nixon administration that devised the GOP's Southern strategy to appeal to Southern whites upset about civil rights gains by blacks. GOP members have opposed the Martin Luther King holiday, affirmative action and sanctions against apartheid in South Africa. Their icons have included Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and the Confederate flag.

Once again, Goldberg has selective memory concerning conservative Republican policies that play to the most vile of their political base.

Mike Lockridge

Mission Viejo

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Goldberg's Op-Ed article is foolish in downplaying the significance of race in this election. Race is clearly an important factor and very well might account for why the election is currently in a dead heat.

I do not contest Goldberg's argument that racial prejudice is a significant factor among independents and Democrats in the upcoming election -- nor do I think the media or the Democratic Party does. Likewise, no one is calling Republicans racist for not voting for Barack Obama. It is expected that they are going to vote for John McCain.

The racism coming from Republicans lies in the underhanded references to race they have used to provoke prejudices in the electorate. One example was the Jim Crow language of Georgia's Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who referred to the Obamas as "uppity."

The Republican Party and the McCain campaign are unfairly bringing race into this election, trying to appeal to the fears of white voters.

Ashley Kaplan

Los Angeles

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Goldberg expresses disgust at the way the media have played the race card in the presidential campaign. In fact, what's surprising is how little they have, as it is a major factor in this race.

What's on display here is the threat diversity poses to Middle America, where it is seen as an assault on traditional values. Having grown up in a small town in Iowa, I can attest to this. Obama, with his exotic past and urban street cred, is not "one of us." Sarah Palin is. There's no other way to explain the reception the unknown Palin received from the largely white, middle-class crowd at the Republican convention.

I, for one, would like to see the press speak more about race. Pretending it isn't an issue only serves to increase the polarization it represents.

John Hubers

Chicago

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