How race is really lived in America

By Richard Rodriguez


Salon Staff
July 17, 2000 11:38PM (UTC)

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Apparently Richard Rodriguez gets a special edition of the New York Times that is edited solely to pique his leftist outrage. I've been reading the series "How Race is Lived in America" with great interest, and Rodriguez is partly correct in that the series has largely focused on relations between blacks and whites, but it is that relationship that has been the tragic and sharp riposte to American pretensions of equality and liberty for over 300 years.

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The best installment in the series thus far examined the tensions between whites, blacks, Latinos and American Indians in a rural North Carolina meatpacking plant, making me wonder if Rodriguez has even read the entire series. Furthermore, the message I have taken from the series has essentially been one of despair. Despite efforts to eliminate official discrimination, many of us still discriminate in our hearts, and it is fundamental misunderstandings and mistreatments that arise from our quiet, continuing sins of the heart that is the focus of the Times' series.

-- Evan Reid

I am bemused by Rodriguez's claim that "With citizens from every corner, America is creating a global society, the first in the world."

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The first in the world? Australia is home to a thriving multicultural population whose growth and development has been assured by decades of formal government policies, but I would not be so parochial or inward-looking as to claim that it is "the first in the world." Not when there's Canada, the U.K. and numerous other countries with diverse and multicultural populations. The claim that the U.S. is "the first" cannot be substantiated.

Rodriguez renders entire populations invisible in order to prop up his argument, exactly the same offense of which he accuses the New York Times.

-- Wendy Robertson

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Please pass my personal thanks to Richard Rodriguez for an excellent column on race relations in America. As an African-American male I kept wondering when the Times series would address the other minorities in America. While the black/white issue makes for good reading and historical debate, African-Americans are not the only minorities in America. The Times did a poor job on covering a topic that needs to be addressed.

-- Chris Tharrington

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