... And in Dialogue

It would be too easy to dismiss this week's Akron, Ohio, "town meeting" on race relations as a media/political stunt by the Clinton administration. It was staged, in its way - an event made to order for the president's talents with a crowd. But it also had a ring of sincerity. The efforts of individuals on the panel and in the audience to voice their views on race should, as Mr. Clinton urged, have a ripple effect through their communities and the nation as a whole.

Dialogue about race started long before the administration announced its initiative on racial harmony. Such dialogues are ongoing in a number of towns and cities. A Monitor report this week spotlighted many of them - in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Rock Hill, S.C. The Lehrer NewsHour on PBS ran footage of teenagers involved in the Los Angeles dialogue - young African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and whites struggling to come to terms with their feelings about each other.

This is all to the good. Americans must look inward to confront the often subtle workings of racism. If that task is approached with honesty and good will, individuals of all races can discover the spiritual capacity to accept each other as fellow human beings, fellow citizens, and fellow children of God.

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