I'D LIKE to say I'm disappointed with Marc Lamont Hill's column of May 25 (

"Black pols vs pols who are black"

), but I'm sure he'll accuse me of being racist - just because I'm white. But just because he has a Ph.D. and is African-American doesn't mean he's particularly qualified to speak about racial issues.

Marc, we're motivated by many things: money, values, courage and, yes, race. Our country has gone through growing pains over the years when it comes to racial issues. Today, we still have entities created along racial lines, like the Klan. But we also have the brothers in black who stand at polling places to intimidate voters with their nightsticks. We have racists who hide behind uniforms, but they also hide as community activists, as educators, and as politicians. The last four could be black or white, so there is such a thing as reverse racism.

But you see things only one way.

I acknowledge the issue of slavery. But you should also acknowledge that the Irish, my ancestors, were persecuted by the English. They were worked as slaves, then starved from their country. They fled in the bottom of boats to a country that said "Irish need not apply." They were beaten and killed in our city during the riots of 1844. Their churches were burned. There are many parallels, Marc, many.

This president, although I didn't vote for him, is a representative of ALL the people. Marc, I don't think that you or Cornel West are aware of the implications of what you say you want. You want, or really expect, this president to do special things just for his black voters. That's an exceptional request. I think it's clearly as ridiculous as an Irish-Catholic expectation that John F. Kennedy should have done something special just for Irish Catholics.

I think that seeing any of "our faces" in high places should give us a sense of pride and accomplishment.

But I don't agree it should be used to push an agenda of preferential treatment. Marc, doing what's right is what's fair. Fairness won't cause anyone to suffer.

I think that pursuing an agenda of fairness by doing what is right is the sign of a politician who IS mature. Then it won't matter if the politician is black or white.

Brian King

Philadelphia

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No, he's a bad example

Let's get something straight. Derrick Cain (

"Mandatory-minimum law led to surge in federal inmates"

) is not a good son or husband. He certainty is not a good father. He's a drug dealer.

Mandatory minimums may be something to be looked at. But don't try to get sympathy for someone with a couple of pounds of drugs and a gun. Sympathy is for the people who lost a loved one to drugs.

Rich Kraus, Philadelphia

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Fixing those primaries

Primary turnout might be more appealing if instead of being restricted to voting by party, the popular vote should decide and nothing else.

Thomas G. Lutek, Philadelphia