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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: After printing letters about racism during the summer, I received an onslaught of mail from readers who wanted to comment. It's a subject about which people are passionate.

I regret that space limitations do not permit me to share all of the terrific letters with you. Read on for a sample:

DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to Mr. Jones' and Dr. Wood's replies to the letter from "My Kid's Mom." Dr. Wood claimed that he knew of "no dark-skinned people who believe they are superior to light-skinned people, at least not those living in Western societies," while Mr. Jones claimed "there is no racism in the African-American community."

Are these gentlemen actually serious? One only has to listen to the comedy of Chris Rock or D.L. Hughley, or a speech from Louis Farrakhan, to realize that there is racism in the African-American community.

The only way there can be serious discussion and improvement of race relations in America is if we as citizens refuse to accept ANY racist rhetoric, regardless of the skin color of the speaker. As long as American society accepts racist dogma from white, black, Asian and Hispanic communities, this country will never find peace among her citizens. Only when we can accept this fact and make a conscious effort to root out this aspect of ourselves will we truly end racism once and for all. -- CHRIS HOWELL, ALSO FROM GEORGIA

DEAR CHRIS: I agree with you. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: When our society gets to the point where one discusses race only when talking about genealogy or national origin, and when we begin to describe ourselves as "Americans," and not "something-Americans," then and only then can we make the statement that there is no racism. -- HOPING FOR A NON-RACIST AMERICA

DEAR ABBY: Mr. Jones states that he teaches his kids "to be tough and smart, because a black person is always surrounded by whites with racist attitudes." Mr. Jones should teach them instead to be intelligent and compassionate for the shortcomings of others. Defense mechanisms are no way to deal with real problems.

Teaching to hate because others hate only shows his willingness to sink to someone's level and to conform to racist policies, which only fuels racism. -- CITIZENS FOR AN EQUAL AMERICA, PAXTON, ILL.

DEAR ABBY: I applaud your attempt to cut out the sore from our society by bringing this to the written medium and opening the forum for discussion on the level where we need it -- at our lunchroom tables, our breakfast tables, our dinner tables, because so many people read your column. Thank you! -- PHOENIX READER

DEAR ABBY: Hatred and bigotry should be as equally condemned when it comes from a minority as it is when it comes from the majority. -- D.L. IN S.C.

DEAR ABBY: As an R.N. who has worked in a major city hospital in the United States as well as small hospitals, let me tell you -- there is racism in the African-American community no matter what it's labeled. There is racism between blacks and Asians, blacks and whites, blacks and Hispanics, just as there is for white and other races in these United States. Racism is not just a white evil. It's an all-pervasive, color-crossing evil that debases us all. -- JEANIE, R.N., FORMERLY OF PHILADELPHIA (THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE)

DEAR READERS: Stay tuned; there will be more on this subject tomorrow.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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