Race relations

The editorial "Strife Between Blacks and Koreans," May 15, misses the underlying reasons for tensions between the two groups. It is not mainly that blacks and Koreans come from "very different cultures," but that too many blacks feel consigned to permanent places in the ghetto long after others have moved out. Class and race, not culture, are the real issues.

Also, most blacks probably do not believe that "inner-city neighborhoods have benefited by the presence" of stores, whatever the ethnicity of the owners, which historically have sold poorer quality goods at higher than average prices - probably a function of poverty yielding a lack of choices.

The editorial fails to note the flipside when stating that blacks "have to recognize that the [Korean] storekeepers' fear of crime is grounded in experience." Balance might suggest that Koreans recognize blacks anger over the killing of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins, shot in the back in a dispute over a bottle of orange juice; the grocer received a suspended sentence for manslaughter.

The Rodney King verdict certainly brought back memories of social and legal injustice. Lionel McPherson, New York

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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