THERE IS a conspicuous absence of reality regarding the attacks on Asian students by their black schoolmates, and it is that these offenses are hate crimes.

No one from the school system, the police or the media has yet to acknowledge this, but if you put the situation in perspective, you'll see that these assaults fit the definition. If a group of skinheads systematically assaulted the gay and lesbian people in Philadelphia, it would be national headlines. Instead, what do we have? Suspensions? No charges? No arrests?

This underscores two points: Asians are second-class citizens, and their attackers are to get every break imaginable.

Gene Miyakawa, Philadelphia

I hope the students caught beating the Asian students at South Philadelphia High are being charged with hate crimes.

Can it only be a hate crime if the victim is black? Perhaps that's why the TV news refused to describe the assailants. Let's see if Arlene Ackerman will act like a school superintendent and stop this violence or just make excuses.

Jack Yocum, Philadelphia

Fawning over A.I.

To op-ed writer Linda Wallace and Daily News fitness writer Kimberly Garrison:

When you both finally come up for air and wipe the A.I. Kool Aid off of your collective chins, please read your own DN columns and count your blessings. Linda, is white middle-class America ready for A.I.?

If it weren't for white middle-class Americans, the Philadelphia 76ers would have played to empty houses, A.I. or no A.I. Remember it was Popeye who first said, "I am what I am and that's all that I am" - not A.I.Kimberly, girlfriend, you need to stick to nutrition and fitness training.

A.I. has never worked hard in his life (by his own admission: "Practice, what you mean practice?"). His star shone brightly as a champ due to guts and raw talent, but that star is now a mere flicker of what it once was.

You ask "little black boys" (most of whom probably don't know who A.I. was or is) to look up to him as an example of what a hardworking, outstanding and successful African-American (you forgot irresponsibly rich basketball player) should be.

Oh, yes, follow the examples of the A.I. lifestyle, and we will probably have a brand-new detention center waiting to greet y'all!

I think we could all use some more "young" dedicated cultural problem-solvers and educated nutritionist and fitness instructors.

Robert A. Dott, Philadelphia

Come and get him

According to the Mayan calendar, the world is supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012. So to all the great-looking babes who said they would only date me if the world was going to end, Dec. 20, 2012, is your lucky day.

Mayer Krain, Philadelphia