Toward Equality

Let me explain why your special section Toward Equality (Feb. 13) seemed important to me. I read it as I was leaving the Los Angeles area that day, the final leg of a Mexican vacation which began with attendance at the wedding of one of my Mexican cousins. My own ancestry is half Chinese and half a mix of northwest European ethnic groups. My cousin is half Chinese and half Mexican, including a little Dutch. His bride is a Polish-Jewish Mexican. In addition, we have cousins who are seven-eighths Chinese and one-eighth French. On the other side my family I have a blonde, blue-eyed cousin married to a Gypsy-Jewish Romanian.

We are certainly a mongrel bunch and have been for several generations. I can only speculate that we have a stronger than normal instinct to avoid incest. Biologists believe this has evolved to avoid the negative effects of inbreeding. At the opposite end, outbreeding confers what biologists call hybrid vigor on the offspring. I like to think that, in the long run, those tolerant of differences are more fit for survival than the intolerant.

We have only to look at Lebanon or Ulster to see the destruction and stagnation that result in communities dominated by intergroup hatred. In spite of problems, California has one of the most tolerant, pluralistic societies in the world. I believe this is one of the reasons for our creativity, dynamism and wealth. Brotherhood is not just a nice idea, it has tangible rewards for any society which practices it. The Times and the Anti-Defamation League are due our profoundest thanks for this effort to maintain and strengthen this tendency.

LEON TSAO

Berkeley

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