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Race, Values And Who's 'Divisible'

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Juan Williams's Nov. 14 op-ed, "One Race, Divisible," cited polling data showing that many African Americans no longer think of blacks in this country as a single race.

That is nonsense. At more than 36 million, the black population of the United States is bigger than that of many nations. There's great diversity among us in opinions, values and socioeconomic status. But we're all still black.

Black America is not a monolith, and neither is white America. Because a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant cab driver sees the world differently than a Hungarian immigrant computer company executive doesn't mean that they're not both white. White Americans are more diverse than African Americans are. Whites span the spectrum from dairy farmer to homeless Vietnam veteran and from minimum wage waitress to college professor. They descended from English Episcopalians; Russian Jews; Irish, Polish and Italian Catholics; German and Norwegian Lutherans and members of the Armenian Orthodox Church. They invented the Ku Klux Klan and taught kids how to be hippies. There are huge divides among whites in values, education and class.

Clearly, whites are at least as "divisible" as blacks. But nobody is looking to divide whites into different races.

DAVID C. RUFFIN

Washington

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