Readers write: Japan's ultranationalism; fiscal tools for minority students

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 23, 2015 weekly magazine

Michael Holtz/The Christian Science Monitor
Visitors stand in line to pray at one of the many shrines in Ise, Japan. The Grand Shrine, which isn't allowed to be photographed, is the most sacred place in Shinto.

Japan and ultranationalism
Regarding the Oct. 26 Focus article, “Is Japan creeping back to nationalism?”: Japan indeed has a lively and fascinating history to look back on and treasure, but the time leading up to and during World War II needs to be seen for the national disgrace it was – a period of duplicity, cruelty, and fecklessness, during which assassination replaced democracy as the modus operandi for choosing leaders.

The Japanese need to learn to parse their history, embracing, for example, the liberal 1920s Taisho period, with its funky art and easy acceptance of internationalization, and rejecting the distortions of history and tradition, in short the ultranationalism that led to and justified the war in the Pacific.
Kathe Geist
Charlemont, Mass.

Give minority students fiscal tools
Regarding the Nov. 9 online article “University of Missouri racism walkout leads to president resigning” ( I graduated from Duke University in 2007 when it wasn’t easy to be a black woman on campus. American campuses are still very much structurally intended for the wealthy, white elite.

How can we minorities use financial persuasion to make our voices heard if the institutions tasked with teaching us the basic principle of money management ignore their responsibility? We must learn the power of money, too, especially as minorities who have been disenfranchised in this capital system, and athletes are in a position to lead the way.

Though they tend to be from lower-income families with less academic preparation and support than their peers, minority athletes have one very powerful fiscal tool in their hands. No longer should they be encouraged to forgo studying economics to pursue an easier degree. They should tell colleges how to serve their community. Duke administrators created a personal finance initiative for students at my behest. And many more college administrators need to do the same.
Aeden Keffelew
Long Beach, Calif.

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