In his column discussing the pressures on golfer Tiger Woods and Secretary of State Colin Powell, William Raspberry writes that "while both may be odious, men-only rules aren't quite in the same category as white-only rules" ["No House Slaves Here," op-ed, Oct. 28].

He is mistaken.

When I attended high school, girls were allowed to letter in only one activity -- cheerleading. The boys (of all ethnic backgrounds) could letter in half a dozen sports and were afforded opportunities to compete for college scholarships as a result. I went to college with three of the many fine female golfers on the LPGA Tour: Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Sherri Turner. Is it less odious that they can't play golf at Augusta National, the most prestigious course in America? There are more than 143 million women and girls in the United States. Is it less odious that we can all still expect to be paid less for the same work than a man?

Discrimination -- against any member of the human tribe -- is odious. Period.

-- Lorie J. Morris

William Raspberry's column, like Harry Belafonte's recent controversial remarks about Secretary of State Colin Powell, reflects an age-old notion about house slaves. This notion is that all house slaves were racial sellouts -- "Uncle Toms" -- and did not resist slavery. This notion was popularized nearly four decades ago in Malcolm X's famous "Message to the Grass Roots" speech in 1963.

But this notion is not true. House slaves were often in the vanguard of resistance to slavery. Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the famous slave revolt in Haiti in 1804, was a house slave. Most of the slaves in Denmark Vesey's rebellion in Charleston, S.C., in 1822 were house slaves, as were most of the slaves involved in Gabriel Prosser's rebellion in Richmond in 1800.

House slaves adopted varying methods of resistance to slavery. They would steal food and property from their masters. They would lie to their masters, fake illnesses, work slowly and do "sloppy" work, act stupid, break tools and equipment, sabotage things and refuse to carry out certain tasks.

And house slaves would run away; poison, assault and kill their overseers and masters; spy on their masters; inform other slaves what their masters were up to; and petition the government for freedom.

Both Raspberry and Belafonte need to become better students of black history. The notion they perpetuate must be put to rest.

-- Michael O. Francis


William Raspberry informs me that there are different levels of discrimination, with discrimination against blacks being more offensive than that directed toward women. I guess whichever one he has experienced must automatically be the worst.

Lloyd Grove, in describing the popularity of Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, states that the cult of personality surrounding Moose is growing "like topsy" [Reliable Source, Oct. 29]. The "Uncle Tom's Cabin" reference is offensive, especially for a revered African American hero such as Moose.

-- Terry Tropin