The writer of the March 20 letter, "Un-Fair Campaign should have focused on behavior," had a good point: Engaging in racial stereotyping to end racial stereotyping would be unwise. Yet it's hard to campaign against racism without mentioning race, and it isn't necessarily racial stereotyping to say that white people may be living with certain assumptions about race.

I don't think the campaign is focused on collective guilt. It seems to be focused not on how we feel but on how we think. We whites can, without too much mental effort, understand that we benefit from being white. For one particularly timely thing, we do not automatically arouse suspicion wherever we go. According to 911 tapes, Florida shooting victim Trayvon Martin was black and "up to no good ... probably on drugs (and) trying to get away with something" while in the act of walking down a street. Many people of color testify to being the object of these same, automatic, perhaps only half-conscious assumptions.

I think we can reasonably subject ourselves to the kind of introspection the Un-Fair Campaign urges us to without engaging in unproductive feelings of guilt and, further, without feeling defensive about it.

Alan Peterson