Ultimately, Juan Williams' article, "Is Jackson Really Good for Blacks?" {Outlook, May 31} fails completely. The question the journalists and pundits are ignoring is: "Is Jesse Jackson Really Good for America?"

Jackson rightly challenges an entrenched, white-male-dominated political tradition. His candidacy suggests that the time to begin to remold the national pysche, to accept and support the leadership abilities of all the members of our diverse cultural family, is long overdue. Jackson forces the electoral system to embrace non-traditional avenues for political advancement. And his candidacy says to black-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian, Hispanic, Italian, Jewish-Americans and women (among others) that our stake in and contribution to the political process is as vital as any American's.

When the political journalists have fulfilled their public obligation to educate the voters to accept that this country's national identity is a mixture of various and equal members, it will be unthinkable for a Juan Williams to state categorically that Jesse Jackson cannot be elected. When the myths are buried that only persons with demonstrated governing experience, foreign policy expertise and the support of the party apparatus can be successful presidents, Williams may no longer believe that the ultimate goal for black-Americans will be influence "within the Democratic Party." The only ultimate goal for every hyphenated-American is full, unqualified participation in the nation's affairs. For bringing this one issue to the forefront of political discussion, Jackson's candidacy is a blessing for all of us. -- Gideon Ferebee

In his attack on the Jackson campaign, Juan Williams displays the heart of an assassin but none of the skills.

He asserts that in the Jackson campaign policy debates "are subsumed in the rush to show support for a black man" and that black politicians who disagree with Jackson fear "they will be branded traitors to the race." By whom? This passive-voice construction is an old, cheap trick, signifying empty argument. If "other black politicians" whose positions "conflict" with Jackson's are too shy to say what they believe, it is they, not Jackson, who should get off the stage.

Williams clearly believes the Jackson candidacy is an exercise in racial pride. That's William's hang-up. As a comfortably employed white citizen, I support Jackson because his is the loudest and strongest voice on U.S. terrorism in Central America and Angola, on the need for evenhandedness in the Middle East, on the cancer of the arms race, on "merger mania." Issues get three lines in Williams's diatribe. He needs to get out of the office and onto the street. -- Randolph Riddle

Juan Williams misses his mark by a wide margin, particularly in his failure to mention the effect of Jackson's candidacy on the self-image of blacks in America. The highlight of Jackson's '84 campaign was not his addressing the Democratic National Convention but the response of a 12-year-old youngster in Memphis, who was asked what he would be when he grew up: "The second black president of the United States."

It is "unfortunate but true that race remains a real factor in our national life," as Williams points out, but it will become less and less a factor as more 12-year-olds begin to see themselves as potential presidents of the United States because they see someone who looks like them attempting to pave the way. Thanks to Jackson we have seen the last presidential campaign conducted as an exclusive domain of white males -- there will always be a black candidate from now on, be it Jackson, one of those of Williams' choice or some one just beginning his or her preparation -- even the youngster in Memphis.

-- Eugene Walton