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Leonard Pitts' broadside against Herman Cain is one side of a very long and bitter debate within the African-American community.

Booker T. Washington, in his autobiography, "Up From Slavery," advocated an approach to upward mobility among blacks that called for the acquisition of useful skills, education and the attainment of material prosperity by hard work. He believed the trauma of slavery, segregation and racism could be overcome by personal success.

W.E.B. Du Bois articulated the other side of the debate. He urged blacks to confront racism directly as an impediment to black achievement.

Racism and the structural injustices built into American society needed correction. However, Du Bois' argument with Booker T. Washington eventually moved the former to advocate totalitarian solutions and the redistribution of wealth. Du Bois even praised Josef Stalin's approach to social inequality "the eradication of the wealthy."

Pitts fails to mention this significant, underlying debate in the black community. Following Du Bois, Pitts sees racism as pervasive. He rails against Bill Cosby, Herman Cain and others who have attained wealth and success through personal initiative and who urge African-Americans to do the same. For Pitts, the way of politics and direct confrontation is the pathway to group success. — Brian Nicholson, Medford

If still independent and honest, the stock market is a mirror and a true gauge showing the U.S. economy's condition.

Now guess what is the cause of all the yo-yo or up-and-down irregular movements. It's our federal government, busy with all their new regulations, laws, restrictions that lose jobs, green programs like ethanol, wind and solar that are too costly plus operate only part of the time, limiting oil drilling, printing more money, spending and borrowing money. They have no time to correctly run the government!

All without thinking about what is happening to all the poor taxpayers going broke, losing their jobs, their homes and struggling to feed their families. This also puts the stock market in the basement.

When our leader sees his rating getting low, he starts making some correct moves to improve the stock market, and when it recovers he starts his negative action again. With all this uncertainty, businesses and companies have no trust in the future, so they do not expand or hire workers. It's a change they can rely on and trust. — Milton "Jeff" Meek, Grants Pass

So Herman Cain, the present darling of the right, wants to reduce taxes on the rich even more, and load a 9 percent federal sales tax on the working classes, many of whom have no jobs.

He also claims to not only be a "Christian," but to "out-Christian" the rest of the potential candidates. Funny thing, though. I have been going over the four Gospels again and again, and I can't find the part where Jesus advises us to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Is my King James version obsolete? — Peter Nemzek, Ashland