Lee Schafer (“They vote Republican in the land of equality,” April 20) achieved what should be impossible — an extended discussion of voting patterns and income equality that ignores the prime determiner of both in America: race. The Sixth Congressional District is one of the least diverse in America (Stillwater is 96.8 percent white, according to the 2010 census), which means that Republicans who’ve staked their electoral fortunes almost exclusively on white voters will naturally do well there, well enough to elect and re-elect Michele Bachmann and potentially replace her with Tom Emmer, fringe candidates who could never prosper elsewhere or statewide. Similarly, the fact that most citizens who live in the Sixth District have enjoyed all the opportunities and privileges extended to white Americans and have suffered none of the economic penalties imposed (read the Star Tribune’s April 9 article about the U’s recent study on the persistence of mortgage redlining in Minnesota) on minorities goes a long way to explain the lack of poverty.

Schafer has made the classic mistake of conflating two symptoms and asking which causes the other. When ethnic diversity comes to Stillwater, so will socioeconomic and political diversity.

Alex Hindin, St. Louis Park