Biracial RacismSamuel L. Banks (letter, Aug. 27) says...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 08, 1994

Biracial Racism

Samuel L. Banks (letter, Aug. 27) says, "The time, I believe, is now at hand for the larger white society to accept the reality of white racism and join hands with other disparate ethnic, racial and religious groups in our nation for the sake of national unity, solidarity and mutual respect and progress."

While I can fully agree with this statement, and my hands are ready to join his, I disagree with his contention that there is no such thing as black racism.

He argues that the term "racist" can only be applied to whites, since in our society only whites have sufficient power to dominate and discriminate against racial minorities.

White racism is a reality, as Mr. Banks says, but black racism is prevalent as well. Black racism reinforces and strengthens white racism.

Millions of whites, including myself, are not racists and do not discriminate against minorities. Millions of whites, including myself, wish to see a society in which we can "join hands," as Mr. Banks advocates.

For those millions, black racism has no effect because we know that the great majority of blacks are not racists. There are some whites, however, who are put off by being called "white devils" by Louis Farrakhan and other militant blacks. They might be persuaded to join hands, but not with someone who continues to castigate them and call them vicious names solely because of the color of their skin.

What we need is a different way of classifying people. Instead of race, let's put on one side the racists, white and black; the murderers, white and black; the drug pushers, the rapists; the haters, Jesse Helms and David Duke and Louis Farrakhan.

Put on the other side all those who want a just society, a non-discriminatory society, with all people treated with respect. I believe the second group would grow to be far larger, and the first group would rapidly dwindle to a loud but tiny and ineffectual minority.

Unfortunately, so long as people like Mr. Banks and Mr. Helms insist that their own race be treated as individuals while those in the other race are considered to be a monolithic group, we will not make much progress toward such a society.

Bruce Rollier

Ellicott City

Teach Religion

Mike Littwin's (Aug. 26) column, "Moment of reflection for the people hurt by prayers in schools," makes some very valid points.

On the subject of religion in schools, it is possible to make a good case for the wall of separation. However, ignorance of religion and its existence may well be the cause for many of the problems in our schools.

This writer recalls rather vividly being taught over the period of a year in the seventh grade the history of religion, beginning with what the ACLU might find horrendous, the Bible (Old and New Testaments).

Then came the succession of other religions -- Islam, Shinto, etc., including the early Egyptians' worship.

Of course, in almost every instance, the existence of God or a god was central to that portion of history. At no time did the teacher promote a particular religion.

The teacher did promote, however, a thing called "tolerance." Each of the many ethnic backgrounds' moral code was (and is) based on the predominance of a religion in that ethnic grouping.

Students were encouraged to recognize the diversity in worship as a basis for tolerance, as well as moral teachings offered by each religion.

It might be well for the schools to establish such a curriculum statewide.

We do not necessarily have to have prayers in schools. However, the "message" each religion brings to society, if taught in the proper context, should bring about positive results in tolerance and morality.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Training Plan a Fallacy

Howard P. Rawlings is perfectly right in pointing out that President Clinton's "welfare reform" will solve nothing. Unfortunately, neither will Delegate Rawlings' proposed solution.

Mr. Rawlings tells us that "Baltimore entrepreneur Doug Becker . . . approached Mayor Kurt Schmoke two years ago" with a scheme to subsidize business with less-than-minimum-wage Baltimore workers.

He doesn't use these words, of course. He uses the high-falutin' salesman malarky of "a vehicle for incorporating unemployed inner-city residents into the mainstream economy."

"Mainstream economy" -- my foot!

It's a scheme to provide profits for businesses by legalizing less than minimum wage. "Since then," Mr. Rawlings continues, "a collaborative effort between Mr. Becker, Mayor Schmoke, the Baltimore Economic Development Corp, the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development and the Abell Foundation has resulted in the creation of American City [Manufacturing Corp.]"

"From a business standpoint," Mr. Rawlings tells us, "this is an excellent opportunity. American companies will be able to hire -- and train staff. . . at wage rates comparable to those found overseas."

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