Prejudging a person's prejudices

Prejudging a person's prejudices

The opinion-page article ''In Search of Honesty on Race,'' Feb. 27, confirmed one of my fears about the issue of race in the United States: that members of a particular race can be considered ''suspect until proven guilty'' of racism, solely on the account of their skin color.

I abhor prejudice, and yet I find myself thinking a prejudicial thought when I see a black person: that he or she is prejudging me to be prejudiced, just because I am white.

When I catch myself thinking that way, I quickly remind myself that the standard we cherish in this country is ''innocent until proven guilty,'' and I insist that I must adhere to it.

I'm not belittling the author's experience; I don't doubt that he, as a black person, has suffered from racism far more than have I, as a white person.

Yet I feel it's tragic that among his mental ''files'' for white people, there is not one marked ''innocent'' -- proven or otherwise.

The author pleaded for honesty on the subject of race, so I am responding. None of us can choose his or her race, but we all can -- and must -- choose the thoughts we entertain.

So let each of us commit to refusing to entertain thoughts of prejudice or prejudging other to be prejudiced.

Robin L. Smith, Englewood, Colo.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet E-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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