Embracing a multicultural heritage

Thank you for bringing attention to the subject of multiracialism in America ("Profile rises for multiracial people," July 17). I feel that the "data" cited in the article reflects a growing attitude in America among the younger generation to embrace their differing heritages.

My grandfather was supposedly half native American, but social pressures of his time were great for him to renounce that heritage with the urging of his native mother. Similarly, my paternal grandmother wouldn't discuss life in Denmark, her birth country, with her own children.

In conducting genealogical investigations, my aunts - with the intent of declaring themselves qualified for the Daughters of the American Revolution - found out how prevalent multiracialism was in the prewar South. Perhaps if it weren't, Missouri wouldn't have had laws on its books declaring a person with one drop of black blood in his or her ancestry to be "Negro." Personally, I'm proud to be the mother of two young women of color, and I am relieved to bring them into a more tolerant society than my grandparents knew.

L. T. Sailiata Winona, Minn.

The article on profiles of multiracial Americans bothered me considerably. Isn't our country trying to overcome racism? So what difference does it make what one's racial background is? And why does so much of our media (including the Monitor) focus on racial identity?

Surely most Hispanic Americans have some native American "blood" in their history. And most black Americans have at least a trace of "white blood" in their family trees. Probably, a significant number of whites unknowingly have at least a trace of native American or "black blood" in their lineage.

Do we consider the Asian Indians and Pakistanis a separate race? I've read a number of times that the genetic differences in the "races" are so insignificant compared to the total genetic code that there really is only one race.

So why bother?

Daniel Overton Sarasota, Fla.

Air-conditioned excess

I am dismayed to see the Monitor advertise the WindChill Misting Fan (July 12 and other issues). We in developed countries consume many times more energy per capita than the rest of the world. We won't even consider signing the Kyoto agreement because it would require returning to our 1990 level of consumption, which was pretty comfortable by world standards. Now we want to air condition the great outdoors! We keep finding more luxuries, which eventually become necessities to uphold our standard of living. What selfishness!

Christine Matthew Washington

Clarification: The headline we used for Alexandra Deane Thornton's July 13 opinion piece ("OK to oppose Kyoto - just fix the tax code")might have given the mistaken impression that her organization, the Center for a Sustainable Economy (CSE), agrees with President Bush's position on the Kyoto Protocol.In fact, the headline should not be taken to indicate the position of the author or CSE on the Kyoto Protocol onclimate change.

In writing that "he can oppose the Kyoto Protocol," Ms. Thornton was only acknowledging the reality of the president'sopposition and making the point that, regardless of what ultimately develops with regard to the Kyoto agreement, the US and other nations already have certain policyoptions for addressingenvironmental,energy, and other problems that would also help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.One of those options isenvironmental tax reform.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, 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 St., 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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