Hispanics' Rich Cultural and Color Spectrum

The article ``TV Targets Hispanic Viewers,'' Nov. 14, caused me to ponder the oppression of people of color in the US. One aspect of that oppression is that lighter-toned people of color are thought to be more intelligent, less violent, and more assimilated into white culture than darker-toned ones. The Spanish-language TV stations in New York generally feature Spanish-speaking Caucasians, particularly in upscale, ``intelligent'' positions. This practice is in itself oppressive since a small percentage of the Spanish-speaking population in New York and the US are fair-skinned Caucasians.

The Latino population spans a rich spectrum of skin tones. It would be a hopeful sign if the media that attempt to reach them and sell to them reflected that. John W. Allgood III, New York

The article quotes Emilio Nicholas, general manager of KMEX-TV in Los Angeles, who states that the difference between ``[Hispanics from different countries] is no [greater] than a Manhattanite to a Brooklynite.'' Such a statement perpetuates the widespread perception of Hispanics as a genetically and culturally uniform monolithic bloc. Lamentably, this kind of myth is embraced by a number of American Hispanics who are pursuing their own political or economic agendas. There are significant, even profound, differences among the countries of Latin America. It would behoove Mr. Nicholas to learn something about these differences. Carl J. Mora, Cedar Crest, N.M.

Less technology, more humanity Regarding the article ``Slip in US Productivity Raises Questions on Government's Role,'' Nov. 14: I was shocked by the graph accompanying this article which bases a comparison of ``international living standards'' on the number of passenger cars, telephones, and TV sets per capita. Standards of living would rise if we had fewer cars, telephones, and TV sets. If we all learned to be a little more human and a little less technological, it might do us some good. Charles Harder, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Cover-up and conspiracy in Polk case Regarding the book review ``Reporter's Death Still a Whodunit,'' and the accompanying article ``A Member of the `Lippmann Committee' Recalls the George Polk Case,'' Nov. 14: As one of the few still-active newsmen who covered the Middle East alongside CBS's George Polk 40 years ago - my network was ABC - I'd like to add a footnote.

Kati Marton's book, although fuzzy on some details of timing, substantiates conclusively what a handful of Mr. Polk's colleagues have been shouting into the wind for decades: A main objective of the hastily assembled ``Lippmann Committee'' in Washington was to head off and freeze out any independent inquiry into Polk's death, such as had already been launched by the Newsmen's Commission of working reporters in New York. Lippmann succeeded. His counsel, General ``Wild Bill'' Donovan, was dispatched to Greece with the full blessing of the US State Department and the clear intention of whitewashing our Cold War client, the ``semi-fascist'' (Polk's term) regime in Athens. Ted Berkman, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Selling sulfur dioxide The opinion-page column ``Pollution Control and Indulgences,'' Nov. 13, opposes a provision of the Clean Air Act which allows the transfer of limited rights to discharge sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere from one utility to another.

The author ignores the advantages of allowing transfers: efficiency and equity. The same total reduction of emissions can be achieved more cheaply than if transfers are not allowed. Paul Portnoy of Resources for the Future estimates the savings at $2 to $3 billion per year. The sulfur dioxide reductions will cost about $4 billion a year as it is, but they would cost $6 to 7 billion if transferability were not allowed.

The author's parallel to selling indulgences might apply if he takes the position that any discharge of sulfur dioxide by anyone is a sin. Jim Seagraves, Oregon City, Ore.

Environmentally sound solutions The article ``Biodegradable Packaging That Dissolves in Water,'' Nov. 14, makes me feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel, for now we have another environmentally sound product.

Although the author points out that there are those who have problems with the new packaging, I believe that new solutions should be tried and used until an even better solution is found. Michael Hawrylak, Jersey City, N.J.

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