A Missed Chance to Step Up to Plate

Regarding "Sometimes Shading the Truth Is Only Way to Preserve Child's Idealism" by David Ulin (June 10): Like Mr. Ulin, I have felt regret for feigning oblivion instead of acting when an injustice is taking place. The regret makes me want to try to be more courageous.

The idea that his inaction somehow preserves his son's "idealism" is a faulty rationalization. The fact that his 6-year-old son asked him why the security guard "was bothering those guys" shows he already has a sense of reality, a sense of justice.

By deciding not to get involved, Mr. Ulin lost several opportunities: He could have validated his son's discomfort with injustice and talked with him more about the incident after leaving the stadium. He could have made the security guard aware that his profiling behavior is unacceptable. He could have reduced the cynicism of the youths who, no doubt, have been victims of profiling many times. And he would not be suffering the "gnawing" that his rationalization could not completely quell.

Mr. Ulin's article explains to me why social progress is so slow. Our unwillingness to confront injustice (especially when we are not the targets) passively propagates the status quo to the next generation.

MARLYS HARPER

Costa Mesa

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When is it going to stop? Finding racism under every rock, in every incident in life. David Ulin tries, grief-stricken and inconsolably, to explain why a security officer asked for tickets, beer, etc., from a group of boisterous Mexican American youths. How could he explain to his innocent son how terrible and horrible this country is to single out dark-skinned people? Maybe they were questioned because they were teenagers and aren't old enough to drink!

Stop creating a pathetic society where everyone is suspicious and blames ever tiny incident in our country on inherent racism.

MARLENE WINSTON

Los Angeles

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I, too, hope daily, hourly, to preserve my daughter's innocence. Perhaps Mr. Ulin should ask himself how it is that he is able to shield his son by evasions. It is because he is not the victim of racism, but rather in the privileged position of outside observer.

I cannot shield my daughter by such artful dodging. As the firstborn of a marriage between an African American father and a Caucasian mother, my daughter must face daily the comments and further harassments of those who dislike her simply because of the color of her skin. Time after time when she is out with me, she must hear people ask, "How good of you to adopt a black child," or "From what country did you adopt your little girl?" because it is simply inconceivable to even the average good-hearted person that my daughter could be biologically mine. I suggest that Mr. Ulin, when he stepped back at the ballgame and failed to intercede between the security guard and his Latino neighbors, might have considered that intervening calmly and with good will--and then explaining his action as the correct one--would have rendered him much more a hero and much more a role model to his son.

DIANNA AUTREY

Redondo Beach

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David Ulin claims he shaded truth to preserve his son's idealism. If the child is intelligent enough to pose a question, he deserves a truthful answer. Then the father can explain the circumstances that might have led the security guard to behave in the way he did and make a judgment as to the man's behavior. By lying to the child, he's just postponing the inevitable and he's undercutting his credibility. Children aren't quite as fragile or innocent as parents would like to think.

ROBERT S. RODGERS

Culver City

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