Maurice Turner's quoted remarks in a Metro story {Oct. 11} are reminiscent of the crabs in a barrel syndrome and indicate an inherent contradiction and fallacy in his reasoning. On the one hand, he argues that the economic condition of criminals should not be a factor or assume any relevance in dispensing justice. Yet on the other hand, he argues that the economic condition and accomplishments of Sharon Pratt Dixon, his opponent in the mayor's race, make her less sensitive to the plight of the poor.

Many in the African-American community continually take this unthinking approach to each other in an attempt to denigrate others or distinguish ourselves. We laud the accomplishments and successes of our people and then we turn around and attack each other for that very success, arguing that it is indicative of a lack of concern, compassion or commitment to the poor. To argue one's merits on the basis of supposed class distinctions represents a low level of political acumen, maturity and judgment that reflects poorly on one seeking to lead the entire city.

In this age of politicians manufacturing phony issues and distorting facts, the real losers are the voters who do not have the time or inclination to check out each statement of a candidate to see how it squares with reality.

These observations are not new. Many in the African-American community have made the same ones. It is time we stop talking about it and reject such hollow, simplistic and divisive thinking. THOMAS E. REDMOND Washington