Letters to the editor:
In the piece "Address hardship facing boys of color," commentary writer Tavis Smiley fails to address the real problem: The out-of-wedlock birth rates in these minority communities.
Smiley blames stop-and-frisk policies, lack of educational opportunities, schools that criminalize minor infractions, and lack of well-paying jobs for their parents. Undoubtedly, these are factors.
However, research shows that being born to an unwed mother is a greater determinant of economic and career success than the color of one's skin, and is a far more important factor than those listed by Smiley.
For some reason, minority commentators such as Smiley are loathe to even address this issue, instead preferring to blame outside influences. Until Smiley and others in his position are willing to discuss and address the cold, hard truth, I'm afraid that young minority males will simply not prosper at a rate at which we'd all like to see.
Mark Harman; Ridgeland, S.C.
Apparently, Tavis Smiley and I didn't hear the same remarks made by President Obama during the announcement of the rollout of the My Brother's Keeper program, an effort to improve the plight of young boys of color.
In his remarks, the president touched on many points enumerated in Smiley's critique. If Victor Hugo is to be quoted, a more appropriate choice would have been: "He who opens a school door, closes a prison." That line better encapsulates what I heard than the one taken out of context from Les Misérables.
Augustus O. Wills; Bellevue, Neb.