Suppose there were a candidate for president who had a) recently received logistical support from the Ku Klux Klan, b) referred to one of our cities as "Niggertown" and c) embraced Pieter Botha, the president of the repressive white regime in South Africa. Would a lack of support for this candidate by members of the black community constitute a general unwillingness by blacks to vote for white candidates? Of course not.

Yet Dorothy Gilliam, in her column June 8, asks with reference to Jesse Jackson's potential failure to attract significant white support: "What would that failure say about white Americans who will reject a person, who is speaking most clearly in their self-interest, simply because he's black?"

The Jesse Jackson of whom she speaks is the same Jesse Jackson who a) depended on operatives closely associated with Louis Farrakhan, the noted anti-Semite, for security during his last campaign, b) referred to New York City as "Hymietown" and c) embraced Yasser Arafat.

It serves no good purpose to equate a lack of support for Mr. Jackson with an unwillingness by whites to support suitable black candidates for national office. A lack of support for Mr. Jackson is best explained by reactions to his behavior, not his race.