Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

When It Comes to the Basics, Most of Us Agree

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

When It Comes to the Basics, Most of Us Agree

Article excerpt

WHEN I started writing this column a few years ago, an editor suggested the name "A Different View."

I disliked the name, as did other editors. To me it suggested that the opinions that I would express in the column would be different from other opinions, presumably because I am black.

Indeed, some of my opinions do differ from those of some whites, and my opinions are sometimes colored by my race. I know, for instance, that my view of affirmative action - that it is a good concept that should be f ine-tuned but continued - is based, at least partly, on the fact that I'm an African-American. I can see the good things that have resulted from it. I'm not so sure that I could necessarily see those things if I were white. Still, there are many issues that blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics and others can and do agree upon. So "A Different View" seemed rather inappropriate. That name didn't stick, thank goodness. I wasn't thrilled with the name the column was eventually given - "Urban View" - but it was head and shoulders above "A Different View." (I was eventually able to get the editors here to drop the name altogether. I thought "Urban View" was too limiting.) In our nation, we're often quick to jump to the conclusion that we have nothing in common with someone of a different race or religion. We're sometimes quick to believe that we couldn't possibly get along with someone different from us. What could we possibly have in common, we ask ourselves. The truth is, we probably have more in common than we realize. Most people, for instance, want good schools for their kids. They want their youngsters to get the best education possible. That's the case regardless of color or religion. Most folks, when given the choice, would live in neighborhoods that are quiet and safe. Again, neither race nor religion makes a difference in that area. Last year, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research gathered polls and census data taken between 1990 and 1995 that pointed out that while we may differ in our political beliefs, our basic values aren't that different at all. The Roper Center used information from 17 polling sources, including the Gallup Organization, the CBS News/New York Times Poll, The ABC News/Washington Post Poll, the Yankelovich Partners Poll, the Louis Harris and Associates Poll and many others. …

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