Letters to the Editor. Affirmative action

The editorial supporting the concept of affirmative action is well put [``Affirming affirmative action,'' Oct. 17]. Affirmative action is a phrase that implies justice. The United States Department of Justice, under Edwin Meese, opposes affirmative action because the attorney general believes it restricts freedom. But laws are enacted for the very purpose of restricting freedom. We are not free to murder, steal, cheat, or discriminate because such freedom limits the freedom of others. Good laws, when enforced equitably, give us a thousand times more freedom than we lose.

For 20 years there were no black foremen on the assembly line at an assembly plant in Massachusetts. The reason given was that there were never any black foreman trainees from which management could select. Therefore, management claimed that it did not discriminate against black workers.

The problem lay with white supervisors who always recommended white workers to be foreman trainees. The solution was simple. The supervisors were instructed by management to see to it that black workers were included in the training program. This is what affirmative action is all about.

Whenever institutions deny equality of opportunity through established practices, such as hiring only whites, there is a greater loss of freedom than when the courts require those institutions to see to it that a reasonable balance is achieved. Warren Himmelberger Wellesley Hills, Mass.

Professor DiBacco's information about the proposed 1992 World's Fair in Chicago is outdated [``Columbus Day, 1983-style,'' Oct. 10]. The Illinois General Assembly, finding that the fair was unlikely to recover its costs from gate receipts and other income, refused to fund the organizing committee for 1986 and beyond. The organizing committee was disbanded shortly thereafter. Downstate politicians saw little prospect that the World's Fair offered benefits outside Chicago. Embroiled in the usual Chicago vs. downstate political controversies, the World's Fair was never universally popular in the state. There seems little likelihood that Illinois will offer any competition to Miami in 1992, despite Illinois having been selected as the official site by the International World's Fair Committee. Jonathan H. Goodwin Champaign, Ill.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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