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Letter: Housing integration would ease tensions

I've been reading about the racial conflicts in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri ["Unrest in Ferguson," News, Aug. 19]. These racial conflicts are never going to end unless we whites live together with blacks in the same neighborhoods.

In Germany, where I lived and worked for 20 years, the military families -- black, white and Hispanic -- worked and lived together in military housing called stairwells. People socialized and borrowed food, just like we do with our neighbors in the States. The biggest benefit was that the kids from the stairwells went to school and played together, from kindergarten on. This way, as adults, it wouldn't be unusual for whites to have black neighbors and vice versa.

Another recent example is the redevelopment in Wyandanch. Two apartment buildings are being built with 177 units, and so far 1,500 people have shown interest. Wyandanch is known as a predominantly black neighborhood, so who do you think those 1,500 people are? White? I don't think so.

Wyandanch is predominantly black and will stay that way until we start thinking outside the box. That would be a start. From Wyandanch -- who knows? Maybe to Staten Island, and then, Ferguson.

Albert J. Prisco, East Northport

Foreign-born priests hard to decipher

I can't believe that the Diocese of Rockville Centre could claim there isn't a priest shortage on Long Island ["Unbalanced report on 'priest shortage'," Letters, Aug. 8]. If there is no shortage, why did the church have 125 foreign-born priests working on Long Island?

The foreign-born priests, although very nice, cannot be understood by many of the parishioners because of their accents. This is alienating for many Catholics.

Charles Funk, Mount Sinai

Race discussions enhance schooling

Reading Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s essay, "The boundaries of immigrant identity" [Opinion, Aug. 17], brings to mind the emotional impact, on young people, of the never-ending stream of events with racial and ethnic overtones -- for example, war, terrorism, bias crimes and racially charged jury trials.

One can only hope, as a new school year approaches, that along with a focus on standardized testing, educators find time to encourage discussion about ethnic identity, prejudice and intergroup relations. Opportunities for healthy exchanges of ideas and opinions about controversial subjects in a safe environment enables young people to test their beliefs and attitudes, to practice listening to others' views, to respectfully express differences, and to find common ground.

National research affirms that feeling connected to school is a critical variable for students' success. Teens who feel connected are less likely to engage in such behaviors as self-harming, violence, early sexual activity, eating disorders and suicide. Recognizing and building on the strengths and assets of children and youths and promoting social and emotional learning are essential to optimizing connectedness.

Andrew Malekoff, Long Beach

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the nonprofit North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights.

Corporate tax evasion and ruination

In regard to "Keep the companies in this country" [Opinion, Aug. 14], the federal tax evasion committed by companies and allowed by a deadlocked Congress is another example of the ruination of this great country.

This no-brainer issue should be dealt with swiftly, but it isn't, because of the influence of big campaign donations by corporations, which paralyzes our political leaders.

Companies have rebounded from the 2008 economic meltdown quite nicely. Hoarding cash, limiting hiring, freezing wages and demanding productivity increases have resulted in record profits and higher shareholder earnings.

On the other side, the working person is toiling harder but going backward, and is acknowledged with less respect, dignity and safety at work.

Tony Giametta, Oceanside

SBU professor an inspiration

I couldn't let the passing of Donald Goodman go by without expressing my thoughts ["Professor Donald Goodman," News, Aug. 17]. He was my freshman philosophy teacher at Stony Brook University. Throughout my elementary and secondary school years, I had been a successful student simply by memorizing information and retrieving it for multiple choice tests. When I walked into Professor Goodman's classroom, a whole new world of learning opened up to me.

I remember being mesmerized by his intellect and his ability to think divergently. When I received my first written assignment, I recall walking out of his class at the end of the period and saying to myself, "I'm really going to have to think in this class; I don't recall having to do that before."

That class was inspirational, and even 50 years later, I remember him with fondness and respect. Students knew that he cared about them, and he set high standards for us all. He will be missed.

Anne Wolf, Jericho

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher.