Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds recently gave a speech in which he reaffirmed the Justice Department's dedication to enforcing school desegregation laws in the face of all the criticism. He must know that this is a matter of atmosphere as well as performance. He cited consent decrees and court-ordered relief obtained in a number of cases. But he suggested the kind of attitude about which critics complain when he used a phrase like ''the opposite race'' in making a case that the Justice De
partment is not against desegregation. He said any student desiring to attend public school with students of ''the opposite race'' ought to have the opportunity to do so.
What is the opposite race in a nation of many races? Does it foster a climate for desegregation, whatever the means, to set America's races in opposition to each other rather than in harmony? How about ''another'' race? Mr. Reynolds. How about students desiring to attend public schools without regard to race?