Letters

By , Jon Barlow, Kirk Matteson, and Mike Hill

Evolving Attitudes Toward Race in America

In the opinion-page article "Multiracial Americans Deserve Better Than 'Other'" (Oct. 14) the author speaks well for the multiracial environment emerging in California and for the value of acknowledging the increasing complexity of multiracial combinations by the United States census.

I suggest, however, that the concept of melting pot also needs to change. Where "melting pot" implies a blending and disappearance of distinctions, the metaphor of "kaleidoscope" evokes a more colorful and continually changing landscape of cultural diversity and experience - one of the advantages of living in California.

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Molly Freeman

Berkeley, Calif.

Regarding Gregory Rodriguez's inspiring piece: I am led to consider the possible consequences of a mass act of civil disobedience in protest against those who, for reasons of political and economic advantage, and with the support of our government, pit racial and ethnic groups against each other.

I propose that when the census rolls around, all Americans check "other" in response to the question concerning their racial identities. The ambiguities inherent in the official racial categories, and the rich genetic inheritances of Americans, would, I think, doom to failure any attempt to challenge the legality of what could be a national expression of commitment on the part of a majority of Americans to the goal of an integrated society.

Jon Barlow

Portland, Conn.

Sabbath, sports, or both

As an avid soccer player and devout Christian, I read with interest "Defending the Sabbath From Soccer" (Oct. 16). As I drive past a field of 12-year-olds practicing, on my way to church on a Sunday morning, I suspect that few of them would rather be going to Sunday school than playing soccer with their friends. To be sure, this would not be an easy choice for most 12-year-olds to evaluate, and it's a choice that begs for adult involvement. However, it seems more and more we are not even presenting it as a conscious decision.

Soccer is not alone in this pattern. Volleyball, baseball, running, and many other activities fall increasingly on Sunday mornings. To me, this is an important statement about our priorities and values.

When church becomes just one more activity among many, it seems we are losing sight of our very reason for church. I feel our other activities should be proving grounds for the spiritual insight we gain from church. Without this spiritual insight, our other human activities quickly become one-dimensional. With this spiritual understanding, however, I find that activities such as soccer take on an infinitely more profound sense of meaning.

Perhaps those of us whose Sabbath falls on Sunday can learn a valuable lesson from the many religionists whose Sabbath does not. Our commitment to God, church, and spiritual development should come first.

Kirk Matteson

Des Moines, Wash.

I coach two soccer teams; my son and daughter both play on these teams and they enjoy going to church. If we have games on Sunday morning, then we have our own church service at home.

The idea is to honor God and I don't see how any minister has a corner on that. When the Bible speaks of the church it is not referring to a building but to the people. Since when should anyone be able to dictate whether I play soccer or go to a building on Sunday morning? Parents have the right to decide what their children participate in, not ministers who may be afraid that their offering plate won't have enough in it.

One of my teams has a parent who is a minister and conducts services at tournaments. And all three of my children are in youth groups at church also.

But I guess that playing soccer on Sunday mornings makes us heathens.

Mike Hill

Olathe, Kan.

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed to oped@csps.com

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