SHELL GAME

I found it strange that Tom Sietsema, in his column about slurping oysters in the Washington area [Dining, November 24], would deign to touch a small oyster imported from the other Washington when our own East Coast oysters are so much tastier.

My family has been growing oysters in the Chesapeake for more than 100 years, so we're pretty sensitive when an article about dining in D.C. mentions only Olympia oysters by name. Let's hear good words about local oysters, not West Coast imports.

Margaret Northam

Chevy Chase

WHITE MAN, WHITE VAN

In the November 24 Side Streets ["After the Van"], Kevin Merida may have unknowingly given us a lesson about our assumptions concerning race.

Merida wrote that the sniper task force was originally seeking out a white "mastermind." Merida almost gave this criminal a compliment when he used the term "sickly brilliant." With the arrest of "a 41-year-old black drifter and his 17-year-old black protege," Merida incredulously asks, "These are the guys suspected of stumping some of the nation's best law enforcement minds?"

I am not defending the snipers; as an African American woman, I am defending my race. The media must stop perpetuating the myth that whites are superior, even in their most heinous acts.

Sharon R. Crestwell

Landover

NEW DEAL SERVICE

I'd like to think that the picture of the Civilian Conservation Corps [Backlight, October 13] did not purposely omit hundreds of African American males who served during its existence. My father was a member of the CCC. Perhaps your focus was to show FDR being serenaded by a group playing mountain music. I hope that this was not an intentional oversight.

Arlene M. Briscoe-Sandifer

Forestville

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