Los Angeles Times

What is assumed about her kids


Re “Let’s drop the ‘people of color’ label,” column, Nov. 21

Sandy Banks’ column is on target. I’m white, and my husband of 30 years is Black. Our children are biracial — “ambiguousl­y brown,” says the eldest — each with their own skin color and degree of hair curl.

Our middle son, a senior at USC, doesn’t stand out on that campus as he would have elsewhere, but he was still followed by campus police during his first semester, presumably as a suspicious Black character.

Years ago, a stranger who compliment­ed our youngest’s poise and manners expressed surprise when I corrected her assumption that his father was from India. Nope; his law professor dad is really and truly Black.

People make assumption­s about what skin color is better than another. Those assumption­s and divisions are embedded and embarrassi­ng — and dangerous. I wish for better for my kids. And theirs.

Paula Chambers

Richmond, Va.

Reading Banks’ column, I am reminded of a sermon my great-grandfathe­r preached in his Presbyteri­an church in the Finger Lakes region of New York, during the Jim Crow era. Having had parishes in China, Beirut and Florence, he was more aware of other cultures than the average minister of the late 1800s.

One Sunday he preached that the horrible excesses of Jim Crow had a simple solution. If we were all so intermarri­ed that we all had a dark beige skin color, that would immediatel­y remove a major “marker” of prejudice. Yes, people would still find ways to demean others so they could feel superior, but a major factor would be removed.

He lost his parish over that but was given a much better one.

Meg Quinn Coulter

Los Angeles

In the U.S., no group has suffered the consistent bigotry, persecutio­n and systemic prejudice as Black Americans.

It is important that our language reflects this understand­ing and recognizes this distinctio­n when referring to minority groups.

Though I still use the term “people of color,” I do not include Black Americans. When referring to these groups collective­ly, I will use say people of color and Black Americans.

Stu Bernstein

Santa Monica

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