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Prejudging a person's prejudices

Prejudging a person's prejudices

The opinion-page article ''In Search of Honesty on Race,'' Feb. 27, confirmed one of my fears about the issue of race in the United States: that members of a particular race can be considered ''suspect until proven guilty'' of racism, solely on the account of their skin color.

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I abhor prejudice, and yet I find myself thinking a prejudicial thought when I see a black person: that he or she is prejudging me to be prejudiced, just because I am white.

When I catch myself thinking that way, I quickly remind myself that the standard we cherish in this country is ''innocent until proven guilty,'' and I insist that I must adhere to it.

I'm not belittling the author's experience; I don't doubt that he, as a black person, has suffered from racism far more than have I, as a white person.

Yet I feel it's tragic that among his mental ''files'' for white people, there is not one marked ''innocent'' -- proven or otherwise.

The author pleaded for honesty on the subject of race, so I am responding. None of us can choose his or her race, but we all can -- and must -- choose the thoughts we entertain.

So let each of us commit to refusing to entertain thoughts of prejudice or prejudging other to be prejudiced.

Robin L. Smith, Englewood, Colo.

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