Why did you have to do that, Mary McGrory?

There I am, right in the middle of McGrory's paean to Iowa and its civility, marveling at the fact that there is no bitterness or aggrieved tone in this article, when I am blind-sided by the cheap shot at Indiana (''civility . . . something Indiana never thought of''). Maybe McGrory has a reason for this. Maybe some misbegotten son-of-Indiana wronged her in the past. But, somehow, I would have preferred that she devote an entire column to Indiana's shortcomings rather than spoil the generous, kindhearted, upbeat nature of this piece.

-- Thomas Coffey Gender Discrimination Tsk, tsk, Michael York. In the article on the U.S. Information Agency's gender discrimination class action suit {Jan. 20}, Lesley Vossen was identified as USIA's "spokesman"!

Maybe The Post should have followed USIA's lead when, in 1979, we required all of our media products to be free of gender bias. We would be glad to lend you our handbook.

-- Helen Murphy The writer is deputy director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights of the U.S. Information Agency. 'You Yahoo Gringos Are All the Same' Shame on you, Post, for your criminal editorial for contra aid!

How come only the Sandinistas have to be "in compliance with the Central American peace plan"? Has the United States ever complied with any peace plan? Has it complied with the World Court decision? Has it ever complied with the patent wish of the overwhelming majority of the U.S. people for justice in the Isthmus?

"Limit Sandinista power-grabbing"? How about Rambo Reagan's power-grabbing? You yahoo gringos are all the same. You finally take the side of your "unprincipled" national interest. You knee-jerk intellectuals are worse than out-and-out imperialists like Reagan. Has it occurred to you the "Evil Empire" is us? Shame on you.

Who gave you the right to say a country is democratic or not? You believe lackeys like Salvadoran Duarte and Honduran Azcona are democrats?

Reagan criticized the Sandinistas' arrest of opposition traitors. In your "democratic" El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the opponents are never arrested. They simply "disappear."

I know -- I lived there 14 years (1961-74). They tried to kill me for placing the picture of a tortured body of a Guatemalan campesino in my daily, La Nacion. -- S. Zin Gimson Most Maligned: BMW Drivers Why does Warren Brown, automotive reviewer in the Weekend section, persist in stereotyping all BMW drivers as yuppie, snippy or arrogant? Time after time I have read his reviews, and the BMW seems to be maligned the most. Not only is the car itself maligned, but the driver is categorized as well. On Jan. 15, the Pontiac Sunbird GT was reviewed. No time was wasted in comparing the Sunbird's acceleration with that of the three-series BMW, and Brown even threw in that the "snippy" Virginia driver of the BMW three-series was embarrassed. Embarrassed by what?

Not all drivers of BMWs are speed demons ready to burn rubber at the change of a light. I have previously owned an "Oh-No" Renault, a "Fix-Or-Repair Daily" Ford and a "Heartbreak" Chevy. There are some BMW owners who invest in the car for the quality of workmanship, not the status. We are not all yuppie-puppie, baby boomers who consider the car as our calling card.

-- Marsha G. Marks Super Bowl Prayer? Please spare us the sight of Joe Gibbs praying on the sidelines -- as if God has nothing better to do than take sides in the Super Bowl! With all the trouble spots in the universe, I doubt She'll even watch it. -- Joy K. Reynolds Just Like Jimmy the Greek Nearly all thinking people joined together in deploring the unfortunate remarks voiced by Jimmy the Greek Snyder at a popular downtown Washington restaurant. Racial slurs and ethnic denigrations simply have no place in either public or private discourse. Nor should they be harbored in the mind, as even that will affect conduct in subtle and not-too-subtle ways at the worst possible moments. The Post appears to share the views.

But how can The Post continue to tolerate the publication of obvious and individual racial slurs through the medium of its comics pages, as it has with its publication of the blatant slur that appeared in "Kudzu" on Jan. 21? What, pray tell, is the point of that strip, except just about the same thoughts that did in Jimmy the Greek?