Letters to the Editor: Is it hate or ignorance that gives rise to rural racism?

Dubuque, Iowa
Cold winter winds blow across the Mississippi River where the Julien Dubuque Bridge connects Dubuque, Iowa, and East Dubuque, Ill.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The article on racism in Dubuque, Iowa, struck a chord in me.

I grew up in the late 1960s and early 1970s in a very small rural town in southeastern Montana. We did not have one black person in town, and there were none of whom I knew in neighboring areas.

The racist opinions expressed about African Americans were almost always based on secondhand accounts, as none of us had any black friends. Those whom we “knew” were sports stars and the entertainers we watched on television.


Still, we held racist views and even called some people the n-word. It was all simply out of ignorance and unfamiliarity with others who were slightly different in appearance. With time, this awareness should continue to improve in rural areas.

Having an openly bigoted president does not help, however.

Erwin Curry, Missoula, Mt.


To the editor: When I attended the University of Dubuque in 1950 as the only student from China, Iowa was indeed nearly all white.

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general of the Mississippi Valley region — which encompasses portions of 12 states and is responsible for water resources including the Mississippi River, which runs right through Dubuque — is an Asian American. He is also my son-in-law.

Tennyson Wang, Long Beach