Letters

By , M.E. Lapides, Ronald Lacharit, and Bruce Mount

Europe's Nationalism and Joblessness Link

The Monitor series "Europe's Angry Nationalists" (March 23, 24, 26, and 27) highlights a troubling phenomenon that threatens stability and progress in contemporary Europe. It is worth noting, however, that the neo-Fascist movement in Britain has been effectively marginalized during the 1990s.

The creation of a cohesive, multiracial society in Britain - supported by a strong economy and high employment levels - has done much to eliminate support for far-right political groups.

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The neo-Fascist movement thrives on the discontent caused by high unemployment. Approximately 1 million immigrants enter the nations of the European Union (EU) legally each year. An estimated 200,000 immigrants enter illegally. Trafficking in migrants has become a highly lucrative business similar to the drug trade. The arrival of thousands of job-seekers inevitably harms the employment prospects of those native to the respective EU countries.

EU governments should act to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and adopt a stricter and more pragmatic immigration policy. Support for neo-Fascism in Europe will fade when employment levels in France and Germany are comparable to those in the US.

Alistair Budd

Lindenfels, Germany

Adjustments to race-based policies

"View of Post-Affirmative-Action America" (April 2) discusses new University of California, Berkeley, statistics that show a decline in minority admissions. But what the numbers actually show isn't clear at all.

Data for the statewide university system record increases in the number of students who decline to state their ethnicity. The "undeclared" numbers are so large that redistribution based on actualities could easily show a different picture. The most interesting issue might be why so many chose "undeclared" on their applications.

M.E. Lapides

Los Altos, Calif.

Regarding "E Pluribus California" (April 6), your editorial on the results from changes in California's affirmative-action admissions policies: Why is it that the colleges are asked to fix society - at the cost of those who have taken the trouble to prepare themselves for college? We shouldn't expect the colleges to have to weed out those that are not capable or those who do not strive from those who merely lack guided preparation.

And how many minorities can we devise? A lower percentage of Catholics go to college than Jews. Are we going to give preference by religion to correct an imbalance? Perhaps we should accept a proportion based not on the percentage who apply, but on the percentage in the population.

Are people from rural towns a minority? How about children whose parents didn't go to college? What should we do about white kids who live in ghettos? Being disadvantaged is a relative thing. There is no way to be fair. The more we create distinctions, the more unfairness we create.

Isn't the American ideal to treat people without regard for their racial background? Again, the only way that is fair and helpful is to find out why those we would like to see in college are not qualifying and work on that. Then you will have a better America, with better qualified people and without resentment.

Ronald Lacharit

Newton Highlands, Mass.

Elephants lighten a day

In my rush to get to work I just had to write after reading the Home Forum's "Close Encounters of the Big Gray Kind" (April 8). I laughed so hard I almost spilled my juice.

What a wonderful break from Clinton scandals, tobacco law suits, and work. I will have the image of the author, as a "cartoon character" trying to outrun the elephants, in my mind for some time.

Bruce Mount

Lincoln, Mass.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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