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Letters: Obama and racial progress

November 06, 2012

Re "Kumbaya era unraveled," Column, Nov. 3

Sandy Banks reminds us how far we have come and how far we must go. She reminds us of our stained past, when minorities and especially blacks were treated terribly. The ugly racial picture has been so embedded in the hearts and minds of many that having a black president is not compatible with their values.

Not too long ago there were "gentleman's agreements" on where blacks were allowed to live, quotas for admissions to colleges and universities, and racially segregated diningspots. We have left some of those behind, but the lingering hatred has been on display this election cycle.

Banks' column brought tears to my eyes. How much longer must we wait to rid our society of hate and lies?

June Solnit Sale

Los Angeles

Banks refers repeatedly to President Obama's blackness, never once mentioning that he was born of a white woman and a black man.

This is almost as historic and meaningful as the fact that Obama is the first man of color in the White House. And it suggests that ethnically mixed unions, which are taking place more frequently, may be our best hope for racial harmony.

Banks is not alone in overlooking the president's parental heritage. In the New York Times late last month, a distinguished professor wrote a lengthy Op-Ed article questioning Obama's seeming lack of focus on African American issues, failing to take into account that Obama's outlook just might be influenced by his bloodlines.

William A. Harper

San Diego

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