May 1, 2014

The Post’s April 29 editorial “Where race ‘still matters’ ” argued that the revelation that some old racists are out there justifies the continued use of racial preferences in university admissions, so that our youngsters can learn through racial “interacting” that racial stereotyping is wrong.

But there are other and better ways to fight racism than by, perversely, treating people differently based on skin color. Indeed, having one admission standard for white and Asian students and a lower one for black and Latino students will bolster stereotyping — as will the creation of a campus where the white and Asian students are, on average, more academically qualified than the black and Latino students.

Insisting that all people, regardless of race, can and should and will be judged by the same standard is the best way to fight racism.

Roger Clegg, Falls Church

The writer is president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

Regarding the April 30 front-page article “Sterling banned for life after offensive remarks”:

Whatever happened to “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”? Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is being attacked for words he said in a private conversation. Had he merely thought those words, and we had the means to detect his thoughts, would he still have to be punished? Talking heads can talk all they want about racist acts and statements in the past, but this furor is about what Mr. Sterling said to his girlfriend, not what he did years ago.

Yes, he is racist; yes, racism is evil. But if free speech is not for speech we hate, then what is it? Can we only say or think whatever we want as long as it fits into society’s current moral code? Racism needs to be fought and destroyed but not by sacrificing free speech to the mob.

David Williams, Lincoln, Va.

Well, now that we’ve gotten rid of that racist Donald Sterling and banned him for life from the NBA, let’s put microphones in everybody else’s private homes and see who else we can get saying things they think, whether they are idiots or not. If we ban everybody who says stupid things in private, there would be a lot of empty seats at NBA games. Is Mr. Sterling’s thinking wrong and outdated? Sure. But it still isn’t illegal to be wrong or stupid in this country. It’s a slippery slope we’ve started down here.

Lee Kistler, Bristow

So Donald Sterling has been banned for life from basketball and fined $2.5 million for making racist comments. How interesting. When will they start banning men from sports and fining them millions for making sexist comments? That is the day I will celebrate.  

Catherine Tunis, Takoma Park

Many cite Donald Sterling’s racist statements as proof that more progress toward equality is needed. They certainly are correct. But the collective reaction to Mr. Sterling’s statements also demonstrates how much racial attitudes have changed for the better during my lifetime.

If a rich, white octogenarian had made the same statements in 1964, it is unlikely that the remarks would have been newsworthy. Even if they had been reported, a request that a girlfriend refrain from being photographed with black people probably would not have raised an eyebrow. Rather, the bigots would have vilified him as a “race-mixer” who dated a mixed-race woman.

Things may change slowly, but they do change — and not always for the better: 50 years ago, the rich octogenarian’s adultery would have been an important part of the story. Today, Mr. Sterling’s public disdain for his marital vows barely got a mention. 

Michael Underhill, Vienna

I nominate NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for president. Maybe he’d be able to get Vladimir Putin’s attention.

Dick McBirney, Columbia

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