AmeriCorps Story Shows Generation X Mislabeled As Nothing but Slackers

The opinion-page article ''I looked: AmeriCorps Works,'' March 20, should be applauded.

It is a rare occasion when one can sit down and actually read a positive statement about the now-infamous Generation X.

We are not, as many people believe, slackers. We are a generation that is painfully aware of how irresponsibly those before us have acted.

It is our generation that will pay for the astronomical debt accumulated during the Reagan-Bush years.

We will bear the burden of the savings and loan bailout, and we will also watch as our chances for receiving Social Security are slowly eradicated by a government that continues to disregard the future of its younger people.

Our generation should be applauded for its ability to withstand all the adversities that have been thrown in its direction.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich's desire to phase out AmeriCorps simply adds to this list of adversities, a list that other, weaker generations could never have withstood.

Brad Stevens, Chicago

Cartoon promotes double standard

I was very offended by the cartoon ''How working mothers keep in touch with their kids,'' March 10. That cartoon essentially promoted the double standard of parenting.

Indeed, when is Jeff Danziger going to draw a cartoon about O.J.'s defense attorneys, who ''dump'' all of the child care and housework on their wives? The Monitor should start taking a stand against this double standard.

Joanne Callahan, Garland, Texas

Prejudging a person's prejudices

The opinion-page article ''In Search of Honesty on Race,'' Feb. 27, confirmed one of my fears about the issue of race in the United States: that members of a particular race can be considered ''suspect until proven guilty'' of racism, solely on the account of their skin color.

I abhor prejudice, and yet I find myself thinking a prejudicial thought when I see a black person: that he or she is prejudging me to be prejudiced, just because I am white.

When I catch myself thinking that way, I quickly remind myself that the standard we cherish in this country is ''innocent until proven guilty,'' and I insist that I must adhere to it.

I'm not belittling the author's experience; I don't doubt that he, as a black person, has suffered from racism far more than have I, as a white person.

Yet I feel it's tragic that among his mental ''files'' for white people, there is not one marked ''innocent'' -- proven or otherwise.

The author pleaded for honesty on the subject of race, so I am responding. None of us can choose his or her race, but we all can -- and must -- choose the thoughts we entertain.

So let each of us commit to refusing to entertain thoughts of prejudice or prejudging other to be prejudiced.

Robin L. Smith, Englewood, Colo.

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