I found David Nicholson's "Why Can't We Give Black Cinema a Chance? {Outlook, Aug. 30} yet another example of a Post staff member's seeing what he wants to see -- in this case, a national conspiracy to deny blacks equal opportunity in motion pictures and television.

This is particularly upsetting because Nicholson's article contains information that might substantiate his premise that black Americans and other ethnic groups are underrepresented in positive roles while filling a disproportionate number of pimp/thug/druggie roles. It is when Nicholson attempts to give specific examples that his argument wears thin and his preconceived prejudice shines through.

Consider: Nicholson calls Hollywood racist and lacking in imagination for not rushing to finance black films after the success of "She's Gotta Have It" and "Hollywood Shuffle." I have not seen the latter and therefore cannot comment, but Hollywood's tepid response to Spike Lee's film might be explained by something other than blackness -- his film's lack of sympathetic or positive characters, perhaps.

"She's Gotta Have It" features four main roles -- an insufferable egomaniac; a self-centered dunce (played by Lee); a third, more normal male who wins our support until he rapes the heroine; and the female lead, a seeming nymphomaniac who beds the three in rotation. These four characters so lack positive traits that had the film been made by whites, it could never have played without drawing public outrage.

Nicholson also focuses on "Lethal Weapon" as an example of how black actors are relegated to less desirable roles, comparing the parts played by Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. Glover portrays a happily married, well-respected and financially successful detective whose personal example saves the life of his boozy and suicidally miserable partner (Gibson). Here is a black actor with the type of part Nicholson cries is not made available, and he complains about it.

Later, while accusing television of making fools of the likes of George Jefferson and his wife Louise (not Isabel), Nicholson ignores the fact that inane scripts make fools of far more white actors and far too many viewers foolish enough to watch. In counterpoint, "The Cosby Show," arguably television's best sitcom, rates but two sentences. Similarly, Nicholson ignores such black actors as Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy -- currently the hottest property on screen -- and such recent films as "The Color Purple" and "A Soldier's Story."

The black film problem isn't so much racism; it is more probably a dearth of interesting scripts, directing or acting, or perhaps a failure to sell those talents effectively in a marketplace marked by cutthroat competition.

George F. L. Still