Letters: Opinions Vary On Race Conversation

The conversations with voters in York, Pa., about race and the election got a lot of attention from listeners. One letter writer from Tucson, Ariz., says she wished the piece had come earlier in the campaign. A listener from Laramie, Wyo., asked, "How much did the McCain campaign pay you to air this discussion of race less than two weeks before the election?"

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Martha Hopkins(ph) writes from Tucson, "Thank you, thank you." She heard our conversations with voters about race and the election. She continued, "I only wish your piece had come earlier in the campaign."

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Tim Riley(ph) wishes it had never come at all. "NPR's hyper-liberal stance was revealed once again," he writes, calling the conversation a pretense to criticize the McCain-Palin team.

MONTAGNE: Now that same conversation prompted Dale Finkey(ph) to write from Laramie, Wyoming, "How much did the McCain campaign pay you to air this discussion of race less than two weeks before the election? It doesn't matter how delicately you handle the subject, all that matters is the question is race."

INSKEEP: Several listeners were horrified that one voter raised the fear of, quote, "chaos" if Barack Obama wins. Christy Lipheart(ph) of Washburn, Wisconsin, objected to that brief soundbite. She writes, "Maybe you don't realize how tenuous our hold on sanity is in rural America," unquote.

MONTAGNE: If you'd like to hear for yourself that comment about chaos in its full context and voters' concerns about race, go to npr.org.

INSKEEP: You can also join hundreds of people who commented on the stories and responded to each other online. They are creating their own discussion about race.

MONTAGNE: And this week we explained how the bank IndyMac is helping some homeowners avoid foreclosure. That includes the Hendrix family whose income of $150,000 goes mostly for medical bills. And we got some comments about that.

Mr. TERRY BROWN(ph) (Caller): This is Terry Brown at Hornbeck, Louisiana. My heart goes out to the Hendrixes because my wife became ill with Lyme disease. She could not work for a while. We lost two vehicles and almost lost our house. Still, I'm getting a little tired of hearing about rich people's problems. Real America makes less than $100,000 a year. So I ask, what economic crisis is there? It's just another day in the life of real America.

INSKEEP: The real life of 16-year-old commentator Mia-Sarah Abedullah includes the fallout from her mother's firing.

Ms. MIA-SARAH ABEDULLAH (Contributor, Youth Radio): NYU, Tulane, and Columbia are all schools I've considered applying to. But now they all seem too expensive. Boston University, another school I was excited about, would cost my family more than $200,000 by the time I graduate.

INSKEEP: Audrey Smith(ph) of Smith College wrote in with advice. Despite some perceptions, private colleges have strong financial aid programs. "Sometimes," she writes, "the cost of the student is no greater than that of his or her home state university."

MONTAGNE: There is no cost for writing to Morning Edition, so please do it. Go to npr.org and click on the button that says "Contact Us."

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