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Celebrating Diversity

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Regarding the Opinion page article "Diversity That Divides," April 14, I am an educator who shares the author's commitment to a curriculum that incorporates neglected chapters of American cultural and ethnic history. I do not share, however, his distresses at the Berkeley City Council Resolution replacing the celebration of Columbus Day with "Indigenous Peoples' Day."

Such a resolution pointedly repudiates the imperialistic colonizing of this continent, while acknowledging the claims to appreciation - indeed, to justice - of indigenous people. Acknowledging "500 years of genocide" is not "pointed negativity," if it is accompanied by the moral repudiation of such oppression.

The Berkeley City Council's calling for critical displays of existing literature on Christopher Columbus does not, by itself, endorse a guilt-laden view of history. I believe librarians would interpret "critical display" as it is widely interpreted in academic settings. In this case, such displays would seek to examine from several perspectives Columbus's arrival in this hemisphere.

The Berkeley City Council's action helps us realize that an appreciation for cultural and ethnic diversity should be limited to school texts - it should stretch out into the community and transform our celebrations. Mary Eddy, Elsah, Ill. Dismantling nukes - the options

Regarding the Opinion page article "Dismantling Nukes: as Serious a Task as Building Them," April 6: The author repeatedly quotes an anonymous Senate aide who is said to be "familiar with both the science and the politics of the debate" over plutonium storage, and raises specters over each suggested method of storage. However, storing plutonium in its present form can be done by encapsulating the material in a glassy form, and placing the blocks in deep salt caverns. The untreated material could also be buried under tectonic plates.

The author suggests that the plates might shift and reexpose it. Certainly the plates could shift into reverse; Richter-scale-20 earthquakes could rend the salt cavern; and massive flooding could leach the plutonium out of the glass.

And any of these vanishing-probability scenarios would also so devastate the Earth that little human life would be left to be affected.

The Senate aide is also quoted as saying that there are people in Texas walking around with plutonium in their bodies. Plutonium is a heavy metal like lead and arsenic, but much more poisonous. The only people with plutonium in their bodies are found in cemeteries, not "walking around." Robert B. Henn, Fort Washington, Pa.


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