Letters

Growing diversity is no joy ride

Your March 30 article about a bus ride through Babel ("Bus route 720: a ride through the new diversity") was not an inspiration to celebrate diversity; instead it revealed a disturbing picture of a socially fragmented America. Even if one appreciates a degree of cultural variety, the inability to communicate with others because of language difference makes any potential social relations impossible. And not all cultures are compatible.

Your article was a reminder that the original Babel was a punishment, not a celebration.

In addition, possession of a green card does not remove cultural differences and historical animosities. The world is awash in ethnic wars based on just these distinctions, but America arrogantly believes that our exceptionalism makes us immune from such unpleasantries of human nature. There may be a high price to be paid for this conceit.

And what about American values of environmentalism, women's rights, free speech, and respect for different viewpoints? Most immigrants come for dollars, not democracy, so we shouldn't be surprised when they treat our society like a K-Mart and reject values that we treasure.

Dana Garcia Berkeley, Calif.

As Vernon Stroud so accurately points out in your article on Bus route 720, "The sheer number of people coming in is the problem." Truer words were never spoken. At our present rate of growth, most of which is due to immigration, the Census Bureau estimates that the population of the United States could reach half a billion within 50 years!

So if you think that sprawl, gridlock, and overcrowding are bad now, what will things be like in the future? Unless steps are taken now to decrease immigration to sustainable levels we will find out the hard way. It's time for an immigration moratorium.

Randle C. Sink Brea, Calif.

Education in prisons - a must

I so appreciate the Monitor's vigilance and compassion in printing Robert Gordon's March 12 opinion article "My life as a prison teacher." His account of what happened on a "pleasant, cloudless, balmy day in April" was enough to give me chills. The insanity of "I heard that the Holocaust never happened," and the consequent birth of new neo-Nazis in our prisons (not to mention the proportionately higher incidence of recidivism among those who have not been educated), affects all of us. Seeing beyond the scariness, however, we have an opportunity for positive action.

One step we can take is to send a copy of this article to everyone in our state legislatures, with a strong cover letter advocating bipartisan sponsorship of a bill to either restore or enhance (depending on the state) education programs in the prisons. In addition, we can advocate federal legislation to restore Pell grants for state and federal prisoners.

For the reasons Mr. Gordon so graphically articulates, the decimation of educational programming at both state and federal levels cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.

Judith Jones Boston

Cheers for the movie guide

Thank you for your current movie guide. After the Oscars, your comments and ratings with detailed analyses helped me to really check myself and think whether I needed to watch a movie after knowing the "negatives." This was the first time I actually made a point to see and read what your movie guide is all about. Congratulations.

P.J. Mahuvawalla Bibra Lake, Australia

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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