Tuesday, May 21



Thanks for a snort


Oh my dear God – Christopher Colbath’s "Americans keep on ryding
in the free world" (Jan. 30) made me snort most ungraciously, and
in public, too.

Sook Won


Anthropology and history

Sins of the fathers


Marlon Jamal Green’s very intriguing column "Chained to Justice"
(Jan. 31) argues that white America must pay, " … a real 40 acres
and a real mule, not another empty promise" for its past crimes
against African Americans and Native Americans.

As a supporter of affirmative action, I deplore the racism still
present in our society, and agree that action should be taken to
redress past wrongs. Green, however, seems rather intent on
stretching this concept to absurd extremes.

On the off-chance his ideas are taken seriously, and Congress
whips out some legislation on the subject and charges me a
"race-crimes" tax, I want to make sure the process is fair.

Certainly we must all be punished according only to the sins of
our own ancestors, right? Don’t be laying down the karma of
Jefferson Davis on my shoulders, man.

One of my great-great-grandfathers, James Henry Covert, put his
butt on the line with the New York 75th regiment 132 years ago so
that Green’s (hypothetical) great-great-grandfather could be a free

I humbly suggest my personal financial obligation might be
reduced, or even waived, owing to this good deed.

On the other hand, my great-great-great-great-grandfather,
Daniel Whitlock, settled in western New York somewhere around 1815,
indirectly displacing in the process, I imagine, some Native
Americans of the Onandaga tribe.

If Green has some whiz-bang accounting software that will
red-ink my personal indebtedness to the Iroquois Nation, I’m all

Otherwise, let’s move on to some more productive discourse
regarding race relations.

J.D. Whitlock

Graduate student

Public health

Ancestral perks


Marlon Jamal Green’s "Chained to Justice" (Jan. 31) points out
the injustice inherent in the fact that descendants of those who
commit crimes continue to benefit from those crimes. Clearly, he
was not writing about me.

After all, while his forebearers were enduring slavery, mine
were busy trying to avoid being massacred in another part of the

However, my ancestors were around to be kicked off their
property and subjected to heinous crimes only because they had
previously inflicted the same conditions on others.

With few exceptions in human history, every bit of land anyone
ever sat on belonged to them by virtue of conquest. Even in
pre-Columbian America and Africa, nations and empires grew and fell
through warfare, and the losers perished. Only the descendants of
the winners were still around to be persecuted by the

As long as people can inherit stuff from their parents, some
people will receive benefits from crimes their forebears

However, even assuming we could right historical wrongs through
wealth transfers generations after they were committed, it is
difficult to determine who is truly deserving when even the victims
had blood on their hands.

Mike Kimel

Graduate student


Skin color doesn’t signify diversity


An article in Monday’s paper ("Minority professors still
underrepresented," Jan. 29) discusses the seeming "imbalance" of
ethnicities among faculty at UCLA. It ends suggesting that
something is wrong or "racist" with the system because there are so
many white professors and so few brown, black or yellow ones.

To what population are you comparing the so-called "inequality"?
Los Angeles city? Los Angeles county? California? The United
States? The world?

Within the so-called racist white majority, there are many
ethnicities represented that give much more diversity than would a
simple firing and hiring of faculty to make 10 percent of the
professors U.S. blacks. In my small geography department alone, we
have an Englishman, an Irishman, a Dutchman, a New Zealander and a
Hong Kongese.

Obviously, the latter isn’t Caucasian, but the other four are;
yet, you would lump them together as white, which equals oppressive
majority, which equals racism.

May I suggest that your article was full of it? To pretend that
all whites are the same and are opposed to blacks in terms of
diversity is ridiculous. I would suggest that an American black is
more similar in outlook to an American white than is a New
Zealander or Dutchman.

Look at the flak O.J. Simpson got for being a "rotten banana"
(black on the outside, white on the inside). Does it do diversity,
let alone fairness or academic standards, any good to resort to
skin color as a determination of diversity? Surely as products of
this campus you cannot believe so.

Your article was nothing more than the sort of muckraking
journalism backed up with emotive, superficial reasoning designed
to foster racial tension, and create a problem where none

Brendan Whyte

Graduate student

GeographyComments to [email protected]

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