Writing the short essay "Lessons in Prejudice" for the July/August BAM was very difficult for me. Over my adult life I have always tried in various ways to promote equality between African Americans and other minorities and white people. I knew that there was another less admirable story underneath that one.
While I was writing the essay, the BAM staff pushed me to get down to that story of my own prejudice. My hope was that being honest about it would make the prejudice go away.
That hasn't happened. It has been imbedded in me from a very early age. Instead I have found that because I am so aware of my bias, I have been able to contain it. I can interact with people who are different from me and not have this darker, primitive side get in the way.
I would like to say to Hope Rias '97 that I think all of us frequently operate on more than one level simultaneously on important issues ("Lessons in Prejudice," Mail Room, September/October). I would ask you to forgive me for the part of me that causes you so much pain and to look to another part that wants to join with you and Les Weinstein '60 and Frank Rycyk '66 (whose letters accompany yours in the same issue of the BAM) in the frustration you express over the tenacity of racial prejudice in this country despite all the progress that has been accomplished.
Tom Bale '63