Two articles on the front page of Style {Aug. 9} point up the silly confusion that we have come to on racial issues in this country. The first is a report that "Miss Saigon" will be canceled because a white actor is cast as a Eurasian. The second article is a complimentary report on the appearance of Gordon Hawkins at the New York Opera as Escamillo in "Carmen" -- a black man cast as a Spanish bullfighter.

Why not close down "Carmen" because of miscasting? I believe fervently in giving equal opportunity to all artists and other workers -- but based on their ability to do the job. In the musical theater the ability to do the job depends more on artistic talent than on physical appearance.

I am an ardent opera fan and think of what we would have missed if Leontyne Price had not played those wonderful roles mostly of white women or if Placido Domingo could not sing Othello, one of his greatest roles. I also think of a very mediocre interpretation of Madama Butterfly by a Japanese soprano who really looked the part, but I have heard it sung so much better by Caucasian sopranos. Or we might have in 1989 missed Simon Estes (black) playing the Nordic god Wotan in the Berlin Ring at the Kennedy Center.

I hope Actors Equity will reverse its decision. Let's get back to what really counts -- the ability to do the job, to play the part, to sing the role. And let all of us try to do the best at what we do. HELEN W. PAULSON Alexandria