The authors of “Evicting the Poor” (Back Page, Sept. 30) reason admirably that the displaced population of Gilpin Court should be given a one-for-one replacement to compensate them for their forced removal from their homes. Their statement that the city has a history of displacing low-income black communities in the name of redevelopment is easy to accept. They propose that ending poverty is or should be our goal.
There is liberal bias in these assumptions that plays on the guilt and sympathies of the cities' nonpoor population. We cannot end poverty any more than we can end wealth. Some level of poverty is part of the human condition. Attempting to end poverty drains valuable resources from the poor and nonpoor alike. The article states that the poor can guide their destiny in league with the nonpoor who support them. This idea is naive. We should accept this responsibility only to the degree that it helps the larger community while honoring the dignity of the poor.
In the past Richmond, along with most of the rest of the country, made decisions about urban renewal that were ill-conceived, such as busing and crude redevelopment projects. We have learned from our mistakes. A contributing factor along this learning curve is the increasing irrelevancy of race in the minds of the nonpoor. Unfortunately many who have championed racial equality in the past cannot let go of the entitlement mentality. They see race as a factor in everything we do.
We may not be able to end poverty but I think we can end racism in the minds of the vast majority of Americans.
Franklin Hamilton, Richmond